Acupuncture and Cancer Care

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Acupuncture is a wonderful adjunctive therapy to standard cancer treatments for its pain relief, minimization of side effects, hastening of recovery and enhancing the quality of life. Mainstream medical treatments for cancer are typically aggressive and side effects such as a lowered immune system can result. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can damage healthy as well as diseased tissues.

Acupuncture relieves:
* Fatigue
* Nausea and Vomiting
* Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
* Stress and Anxiety
* Cancer and Surgery Related Pain
* Increases White Blood Cell Count

Relieving Cancer Related Fatigue

Fatigue is the most common symptom of cancer. Cancer related fatigue can affect cancer sufferers before, during, and after standard treatment. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that patients with breast cancer who received acupuncture were able to reduce their fatigue. Improvement was noted not only in physical fatigue but also mental fatigue, anxiety and depression. Alex Molassiotis, PhD, lead author of the study from University of Manchester, England said: “I am quite excited with these results. They provide some good evidence of an effect of acupuncture for the management of a very debilitating and burdensome symptom for patients.”

Relief of Hot Flashes

Another one of the nasty side effects of standard cancer care is night sweats and hot flashes. Research by Yale University and the University of Pittsburgh of women who suffered from hot flashes as a result of standard breast cancer treatment showed a 30% reduction in hot flashes.

According to Chinese medicine Yin is the cooling, moisturizing part of the body and chemotherapy and radiation burns this up. Acupuncture can relieve this condition making the person more comfortable and at ease. Acupuncture works to restore the Yin bringing balance back to the patients’ body, making them less hot and uncomfortable.

Pain Relief With Acupuncture

Acupuncture is also best known for its pain relieving effects. A study at Duke University Medical Center found that surgery patients who used acupuncture greatly reduced their pain level as well as the amount of painkillers they required after the surgery is over. Patients who received regular acupuncture required a much lower dosage of opiods than patients that didn’t use acupuncture.
If side effects are reduced it is easier to recover from surgery and shorten the length of time a patient spends in the hospital.

Lastly, one other side effect of chemotherapy for gynecological cancer is the reduction in neutrophils, a special type of white blood cell. Neutrophils normally make up the larger part of white blood cells and are our defense against infections. A study at the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies revealed that acupuncture increased white blood cell and neutrophil count in patients with ovarian cancer that received acupuncture 2-3 times per week before and during their chemotherapy. By increasing blood cell production, enhancing natural killer cells and lymphocytes, acupuncture can enhance the immune system thereby reducing the risk of infection.

One statistic revealed that as much as 80% of people with cancer use at least one form of alternative medicine or complementary method. Acupuncture has been used by the Chinese for 5,000 years to relieve many maladies. The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for nausea and vomiting, cancer pain, insomnia, sciatica, neck pain, abdominal pain, headaches, depression and many other health problems.

Even Emmy award winning actress Valerie Harper, who suffered from brain cancer, used acupuncture and Chinese herbs for her treatment of cancer. She mustered up enough energy after treatment to perform as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars while undergoing acupuncture treatments.

To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively help people with cancer, please call our Edina Acupuncture Clinic at 952-831-8080. Or go to our contact page.

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