Can Acupuncture Treatment Help Cancer Patients?
I have treated numerous patients with different types of cancers. Acupuncture can reduce the side effects of chemo and radiation. Between rounds of chemo, it can rebuild the body from the damage done by the radiation. Conventional western cancer treatments are often aggressive and cause side effects. Integrating Acupuncture treatment with western treatment can increase the effectiveness of medical care so that the patient has a better chance of overcoming difficult to treat conditions.
Here are just a few of the ways acupuncture can be of benefit during and after cancer treatment:
1. Alleviates nausea and vomiting from chemo-radiotherapies:
Having acupuncture as a routine treatment before, after and in between chemotherapy treatment session. It is effective in minimizing the intensity and frequency of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving chemo-radiotherapy.
2. Reduces physical pain or symptoms of cancer:
Acupuncture treatments stimulate the nervous system, induce the release of endorphins- the body’s natural painkillers and activate the body’s self healing abilities. It is very effective for managing pain related to tumors, surgery, chemo-radiotherapy and inflammation.
3. Modulates immune functions:
Many cancers and many cancer treatments cause suppression of certain functions of the body’s own immune system. Acupuncture boost and strengthen the body’s immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells, natural killer cells, B-cells and red blood cells, which help patients increase immune response and decrease risk of infection, shorten recovery time and enable the patients to remain on schedule with their treatment protocols.
4. Relieves fatigue:
Long-lasting fatigue is one the most common side-effects of chemotherapy. Many patients struggle with fatigue and weakness that can lead to inactivity or falls. Acupuncture could boost energy levels and help relieve the crippling fatigue associated with chemotherapy treatment in cancer patients.
5. Manages stress level and alleviates feelings of anger, anxiety, and fear:
Cancer can wreak havoc not only on the patients' physical bodies, but also on their emotional, mental, and spiritual health. There are a lot of stresses and emotional distress associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment; acupuncture helps deal with this and maintain a positive attitude which is important for a good outcome. It helps calm the mind and restore a person’s vitality through balancing, repairing, and removing any blockage that interferes with energy flow.
6. Improves sleep:
Sleep is very important to the healing process, however, cancer patients are more likely to suffer from sleep disruption and insomnia due to post-surgical discomfort, side effects of chemo and radiation, anxiety and depression. By relieving these symptoms cancer patients are able to get the deep sleep and rest required for recovery and healing.
Additional benefits include improvement in hot flashes, dry throat, diarrhea and overall quality of life. If you or someone you know is going through cancer treatment, please consider adding acupuncture to your treatment plan so as to get your body in the best possible shape to accept the treatments that you would have.