Acupuncture in Cancer Treatment: What Is It Used For
Acupuncture provides a total approach to supportive health care for people with cancer using Biomedicine. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.
The National Cancer Institute
According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions.
It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.
Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
- Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
- Pain Management
- Increasing White Blood Cell Count
Evidence Based Clinical Trials on Acupuncture in Cancer Treatment
Nausea and Vomiting
The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.
Acupuncture in the Treatment of Cancer Possible Other Uses
Clinical trials are studying the effects of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse. Source: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.org
Boosting the Immune System
Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response, including increasing the number of white blood cells.
In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses.
Acupuncture is also very useful for support if you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy. Because chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body’s immune system, a strict clean needle method must be used when acupuncture treatment is given to cancer patients.
Dry Needling in the Recovery Phase
Sometimes after all of the time spent getting treatment, people develop trigger point pain in their necks, shoulder, or back. I often use dry needling to release trigger points in cases like this. Its super effective.
My Personal Experience Treating People
I have specifically treated people with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs who were working on recovering from successful Chemo and Radiation therapy for Breast Cancer and Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I have also helped a few people recovering from surgery and radiation for brain cancer and benign tumor removal..
New Evidence-Based Lung Cancer Guidelines Include Acupuncture
Evidence-based guidelines published by the American College of Chest Physicians now recommend acupuncture lung cancer patients experiencing fatigue, dyspnea, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, pain, nausea and vomiting.
for lung cancer patients experiencing fati to soothe symptoms of pain or nausea and vomiting.
The new edition of these standard guidelines represents the first time complementary and integrative medicine has been addressed in the prevention and treatment of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, causing more fatalities than the next four most common types of cancer combined.
The new guidelines were developed and reviewed by 100 multidisciplinary panel members and have been endorsed by the American Association for Bronchology, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, Oncology Nurses Society, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the World Association of Bronchology.
Source: Chest, September 2007
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego