Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, which are usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. Hot flashes are typically a feeling of intense heat with sweating and an increased heart rate or heartbeat and can typically last anywhere from 2-30 minutes. The sensation of heat usually begins internally and will progress to the surface of the skin, especially on the face which becomes hot to the touch hence the alternative term "hot flush", which describes the sensation of heat which is often accompanied by visible reddening of the face.

After a hot flash or an episode of profuse sweating, patients may experience a chilled sensation, which in TCM, can be an indication that the body is “fighting” or trying to defend itself. The etiology behind this phenomenon is the patient will have a sensation of heightened or elevated temperature when the body is fighting or trying to balance itself out. Typically, the body will expend all of its energy essentially depleting its own energy source which leaves the body in a vulnerable and comprised state unable to defend or protect itself thus causing a chilled sensation. This is referred to as chills and fevers and can be compared to the signs and symptoms experienced during the beginning stages of the common cold or flu.

Acupuncture treatments trigger 2 direct measurable responses from the central nervous system. The first is the body’s ability to release a substance called “Cortisol”. Cortisol is the body's own natural anti-inflammatory (heat clearing) and anti-stress chemical. The second is the body’s ability to stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers and feel good chemicals which also help to stabilize the body’s temperature thus alleviating the hot flash in both an acute and chronic setting.