Acupuncture During Cancer Treatment

Undergoing cancer treatment can be exhausting, make you feel ill and leave you downtrodden.  But, there are many things you can do to help improve how you feel during cancer treatment and potentially even enhance the effects of cancer treatment.  Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat a myriad of ailments and cancer, and the effects of cancer treatments, are no substitution.  WebMD explains exactly what acupuncture is and how it effects the human body, “Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for centuries. It’s based on the theory that energy, called chi (say “chee”), flows through and around your body along pathways called meridians.  Acupuncturists believe that illness occurs when something blocks or unbalances your chi. Acupuncture is a way to unblock or influence chi and help it flow back into balance.  Acupuncture is done by putting very thin needles into your skin at certain points on your body. This is done to influence the energy flow. Sometimes heat, pressure, or mild electrical current is used along with needles.”  As any patient undergoing cancer treatment knows, if there is anything that can be done to lessen the effects of cancer treatments or improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment, it should be considered as an option, and acupuncture may just be the added therapy you need to include in your integrative and comprehensive care.

Through a qualified practitioner, acupuncture treatment can be administered to patients to treat a number of effects that cancer treatments may have such as vomiting due to nausea from chemotherapy treatments, headaches and more.  Not only will reducing vomiting simply improve your day to day life, but it will help you stay stronger and more healthy, which your body needs during treatment.  The American Cancer Society discusses research findings on the use of acupuncture to treat cancer treatment side effects, “Acupuncture has been the subject of many clinical studies and has been tested as treatment for a wide range of conditions. At this time, there is sound scientific support for acupuncture for 2 conditions: nausea/vomiting and headaches. A 2006 analysis of 11 studies looked at the effect of acupuncture in reducing nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy. The report suggested that acupuncture may reduce the vomiting that occurs shortly after chemotherapy is given, even though it had little effect on nausea. It also did not seem to help with delayed vomiting. There is also some evidence that acupuncture may lessen the need for pain medicine. A study of headache sufferers compared acupuncture with standard medical treatment. Those treated with acupuncture used less pain medicines and missed fewer work days. Some studies suggest that acupuncture may help relieve mouth dryness (xerostomia) in patients whose salivary glands were damaged as a side effect of radiation therapy. It has also been used to relieve hot flashes, but most studies found that acupuncture using traditional acupuncture points is no more effective than sham (placebo) acupuncture. Still, some practitioners feel that it is worth trying when men or women getting hormone therapy for prostate or breast cancer have severe hot flashes that persist after trying other treatments.”  Before adding anything to your treatment regime, it is important to consult your physician and discuss possible options and best treatment options based on your individual health history.  Through the use of acupuncture, you can possibly make a difficult and frustrating time during cancer treatment a little easier and improve your body’s overall health and wellness.

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