There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and can cause numerous unwanted side effects including a lowered immune system. Acupuncture has received much recognition as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects such as nausea and fatigue, and accelerating recovery, improving quality of life.
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.
Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.
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
- Immune support
Source: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.org
How many treatments are needed?
In general, we recommend 1 -2 times per week during cancer treatments.
The frequency and length of treatment will vary based on the severity of your symptoms and your treatment goals. Generally, when going through treatments such as chemotherapy, acupuncture can be performed before to help alleviate stress or anxiety, and afterward to address symptoms such as lack of appetite, nausea or fatigue. Many come in weekly to help support their immune system, digestive system, energy, and to help improve their mood