Acupuncture and Cancer Treatment

 

Acupuncture a Powerful Integrative Oncology Tool

Integrative Oncology is the combination of “mainstream” care and evidenced-based complimentary therapies to control cancer-related pain and symptoms.  Among the most effective alternative therapies utilized by those diagnosed with cancer is acupuncture and concentrated herbal medicine.

Acupuncture has long been utilized for overall body health and as a remarkable pain reduction modality for thousands of years, originating in the Far East and gradually being utilized throughout the world. Effective cancer treatment often depends on the patient’s ability to not only defeat cancer through various methods but to also maintain their health and mental spirit throughout the course of treatment.

Often, the symptoms and effects of the cancer itself on the body are insignificant compared to the pain and other side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation are often fatigued, experience a lack of appetite and weight loss, and may become depressed.  For cancer patients experiencing these and other side effects, acupuncture is extremely beneficial. According to the ancient theories of Chinese medicine, “qi,” or “life energy,” flows through energy channels within the body known as meridians. These channels connect the body’s internal organs, and if these meridians become “blocked,” or an individual’s qi cannot flow properly, disease will set in. Acupuncture is said to relieve blockages and restore the natural flow of qi, and ultimately restoring one’s health.

Patients who undergo acupuncture in conjunction with mainstream cancer therapies have experienced dramatic reductions in pain and feel that their energy and mental wellbeing was restored. Cancer patients who feel energized, are pain-free and have a solid state of mind are more likely to withstand traditional methods of cancer treatment and have an increased survival rate.

Acupuncture is said to be so effective, in fact, that the World Health Organization [WHO] has recognized acupuncture as a successful intervention for adverse reactions to radiation and chemotherapy. The National Institute of Health [NIH] also agreed that acupuncture may relieve nausea and pain experienced by cancer sufferers, and the organization supports acupuncture clinical trials.

While this ancient method of therapy may be extremely effective for some, acupuncture may not be recommended for all cancer patients. Those who have a history of endocarditis, neutropenia or thrombocytopenia should not undergo acupuncture. Individuals with lymphedema or those who have a pacemaker should speak with a physician before beginning any course of acupuncture therapy.

Those who practice the ancient art of acupuncture will be working to help cancer sufferers experience a better quality of life and an increased rate of survival.  And while the scientific validity of Acupuncture has been proved in many, many studies, the Medicinal Herbal Formulary of Chinese Medicine also shows promise as another resource for those suffering with various cancers, including asbestos cancer.

Jack Bleeker, Research Coordinator

August 1, 2009