Acupuncture is popular for the treating of health complaints such as back pain, migraines, and infertility, to name just a few. What many may not know is how helpful acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be in the arena of cancer care. It serves as a supportive treatment, provides symptom management, as well as preventative care. Cancer treatment facilities all over the world are inviting their patients to use a wide array of approaches to help support them on their journey toward wellness.
It doesn’t have to be an either/or approach to cancer care using only Western or only Eastern medicine. Instead, it can be a team effort using these two approaches. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has an Integrative Medical Center, where they provide services like acupuncture, psychology, and nutritional counseling. They also do extensive research on the effects of acupuncture and herbs with various types of cancer and at different stages, as well as offer courses for acupuncturists on how to properly care for cancer patients with Chinese medicine techniques. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to take this course, and I want to communicate how much acupuncture can help this population.
Here are just a few of the details of what acupuncture can do:
●Improve the immune system
●Help with anemia and improve red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet counts
●Regulate blood pressure
●Improve absorption of the small intestine and facilitate movement through the digestive system
●Reduce pain associated with tumors
●Helps stabilize peripheral nerve damage and relieve neuropathy
●For pre-surgical patients, acupuncture can promote relaxation, prevent infection and side effects
●For post-surgical patients, acupuncture can decrease swelling, improve mental alertness, and shorten recovery time
●As palliative care acupuncture can significantly improve quality of life
●Alleviate symptoms associated with chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, vertigo, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and sexual dysfunction
●Reduce body aches that occur as a side effect of Aromatase Inhibitors
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine techniques help make cancer patients more comfortable, as is discussed above, but it doesn’t stop there. They are also handy tools for healing post-surgical scars and scarred tissue formation. Acupuncture helps to relieve the stress and anxiety patients feel when confronted with positive results on genetic screening and the numerous options for preventive surgeries and monitoring. I think it is vital that those caring for family or friends battling cancer come for acupuncture, too, as they can also need a lot of extra care.
I, as well as all the practitioners at Six Fishes, understand the physical and emotional challenges of cancer treatment, and we would love to help you feel your best. If you or someone you know could benefit from acupuncture, please feel welcome to call us at 215-772-1040 and ask to speak to a practitioner about your specific situation.
A diagnosis of cancer is one of the most frightening moments a person can face. There are myriad decisions to make, all under duress. One of the most fulfilling parts of my training has been to support health, immunity, and recovery following chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
Many people diagnosed with cancer seek out Chinese medicine as a way to supplement their medical care. Chinese medicine is an ancient practice that recognizes that cancer care should include support of the whole body, not just the targeted cancer cells and/or tumors. Research and evidence-based medicine are proving the benefits of an integrative approach that includes regular acupuncture treatments, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional support to enhance the quality of people’s lives during and even after this often difficult journey. Some of the incredible benefits that patients experience include:
- Reduction in the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation such as decreased nausea and vomiting, fatigue, chemo-induced neuropathies, night sweats, pain, anxiety, mouth sores, radiation-induced skin irritation
- Increase in the efficacy of cancer medications to target tumor cells and up-regulate cancer cell death
- Support of the immune system
- Support for emotional health
- Addressing essential lifestyle habits to maximize recovery and overall health
- Help monitor patient use of appropriate natural medicines
We’ll work collaboratively with your oncology team to make sure you are being provided with the best care possible. If you have any questions, I would be happy to speak with you about receiving the most optimal care that you deserve.