Acupuncture as a Complementary Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture as a Complementary Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a formidable disease, and a cure is perhaps decades or even centuries away. The disease is also highly varied, as there are over 300 different malignancies, all which present differently from one person to the next. While chemo and radiation therapy are the gold standard treatments used for many cancer patients, there are also benefits to holistic treatments, such as acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine.

The gold standard treatments for virtually any type of cancer include surgery, chemo, and radiation, but these often have harsh side effects. Cancer patients must often cope with intense nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, and other unpleasant side effects, as these treatments seek to destroy cancer cells and stop tumor growth. Holistic treatments may be useful for some patients who are interested in alternative approaches to handling the side effects, and some even hope these therapies will have a curative element, although no scientific evidence has yet proven acupuncture to cure cancer. Of course, timely diagnosis and early treatment to remove malignant tumors offers the best hope for putting cancer into remission.

Although acupuncture is not meant to cure cancer, many find that it helps them cope with the side effects commonly associated with surgery, chemo and radiation. People with cancer sometimes try acupuncture because it can relieve the unpleasant symptoms these treatments cause, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, and general malaise.

Some of the proven benefits of acupuncture for cancer patients include:

  • Relieves nausea related to chemotherapy treatment
  • Relieves dry mouth caused by radiation therapy
  • Relieves physical pain
  • Alleviates hot flashes related to hormone treatment
  • Reduces joint pain related to aromatase inhibitor treatment

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy introduced about 2,000 years ago. Its purpose is to correct the energy called “Qi” that flows through the body along channels called meridians, seeking to optimize health by altering this flow. Qi is said to affect a person’s emotional, mental, and physical health. While there is no proof that acupuncture treats cancer, it does help many cancer patients cope with the side effects of other treatments. Acupuncture is proven to release pain-relieving substances in the body, including endorphins and serotonin, which can boost mood and a promote a feeling of wellness.

Acupuncture works by inserting ultra-fine, disposable, stainless steel needles into acupoints. The acupuncturist chooses which acupoints to use for optimal results. These acupuncture needles may be twirled, moved in different directions / speeds / depths, heated, or charged with a very weak electric current.

Growing research shows that acupuncture is useful to treat and help manage chronic health conditions such as cancer. One study conducted on 302 breast cancer patients found that acupuncture was helpful in managing symptoms such as fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression over a 6-week period.

Interested in acupuncture? Contact us at (732) 812-5200 or schedule your appointment online.

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