Acupuncture for Cancer Care

Acupuncture for Cancer

Acupuncture for Cancer Care
Acupuncture has been gaining recognition in cancer care as a safe, natural, and effective treatment to reestablish and maintain health and wellbeing.  This ancient healing modality can enhance immunity and promote the body’s own self-regulating system to restore homeostasis.

Acupuncture is becoming widely accepted as complementary medicine in conventional cancer treatments.  The holistic approach of acupuncture not only addresses the symptoms of cancer patients, but also improves overall health and optimizes vitality.  When underlying imbalances are resolved, the body has greater capacity to combat the physical and emotional stresses cancer imposes.

Acupuncture for cancer is a valuable means of reducing the symptoms and harsh side effects of cancer treatments.  According to the National Institute of Health, acupuncture has been found to be effective in relieving nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and post surgical pain in cancer recovery.

For those undergoing chemotherapy, acupuncture is exceedingly useful for controlling the nausea and vomiting that frequently afflicts these patients.  For most favorable results, it is recommended that acupuncture be administered before, after and in between chemotherapy sessions as prevention and treatment of nausea and emesis.  The use of antiemetic drugs can therefore be reduced, which is another benefit since these anti-nausea medications do have side effects.

In cancer care, acupuncture is also very useful as a means of pain control both post operatively and for pain caused by the disease itself.  Notably, acupuncture stimulates steroids to reduce inflammation, releases endorphins that are natural painkillers, and positively alters neurotransmitters that aids in the way the body perceives pain. The need for medications such as narcotics, which can have negative side effect, are often significantly reduced.

As acupuncture continues to make the headlines for its usefulness in cancer care, more research is being conducted to support its efficacy.   One such study reveals that acupuncture is an effective means of controlling the hot flashes that accompany breast cancer treatment.


“Acupuncture is as effective and longer-lasting in managing the common debilitating side effects of hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating associated with breast cancer treatment and has no treatment side effects compared to conventional drug therapy”

–according to a study presented by Dr. Eleanor M. Walker in September 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.


From the view point of Oriental medicine, any chronic disease is considered to be depleting to the whole system.  This is true especially with the disease process of cancer, because an underlying deficiency is also thought to be present to have allowed the disease to develop in the first place and this depletion continues to deteriorate the system as the disease progresses.  To exacerbate things further, the treatments for cancer are severely weakening to the system.

Many conventional cancer treatments have proven to be effective and often life saving, but can result in a multitude of side effects.  Acupuncture for cancer has a wonderful restorative influence on the body.  It can alleviate the fatigue these treatments can cause as well as support the system through various methods of supplementation.  The incorporation of Chinese herbal medicine is also an important adjunctive therapy to help strengthen the system, when appropriate.

Most importantly, the holistic approach of Oriental medicine is to treat the whole person and not just the disease.  Acupuncture has a relaxing influence on the body, which can be a vital tool during the distressing life event of coping with cancer.  Empowered by a sense of balance and the amelioration of symptoms, patients’ often experience improved overall wellbeing, giving them just the courage and stamina they need to battle this disease.

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