Acupuncture has been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over
5,000 years. It is the major component of TCM treatment and is used to
treat many illnesses and ailments. Acupuncture for cancer patients is
used to prevent and reduce complications from general anesthesia and surgeries,
control pain and help patients minimize the side effects of patients undergoing
chemotherapy and radiation.
How Does it Work?
The energy of the body, known as Qi (“chi”), circulates through
the body within non-anatomical pathways known as meridians. The meridians
are connected to various internal organs. According to TCM, imbalances
in the flow of Qi among the meridians is the cause of disease, pain and
susceptibility to illness. Acupuncture involves the placement of very
small hair-thin sterile needles along certain points of the meridians
to help balance the body’s Qi and restore the natural energy flow.
Researchers propose that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to
release natural painkillers and immune system cells. They then travel
to weakened areas of the body and relieve symptoms. Acupuncture is relatively
painless and serious side effects are extremely rare.
Our Scientific Understanding
Scientific research demonstrates that acupuncture can reduce inflammation
and promote and lymphatic flow and microcirculation, which help in reducing
swelling and scar tissue. Acupuncture can also release endorphin hormones
in the body to reduce pain naturally. Research has also shown that acupuncture
can modulate brain signals, i.e. neurotransmitters, in the limbic system,
resulting in a reduction in symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia,
all commonly seen in cancer patients.
What symptoms can it help with?
- Chemotherapy-associated nausea/vomiting
- Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia caused by Tamoxifen or Aromatase Inhibitors
- Bone/joint pain caused by Aromatase-Inhibitors
- Post-operative pain and nausea