Potential Value of Acupuncture
Through the years, I have known more people who successfully incorporated acupuncture into their cancer than who used any other CAM therapy. I have seen it be helpful to reduce nausea, fatigue, anxiety, and to enhance an overall sense of well-being. Note that there is a needle-less version for people who are needle phobic.
Most insurances, unfortunately, do not cover acupuncture, and it can be expensive. The New England School of Acupuncture is in Watertown, and I have known a number of people who went there for less expensive, well supervised, and effective treatments. It is also likely that there are practitioners in your community; ask around.
This is a very good summary of the potential value of acupuncture by Dr. Marissa Weiss from BreastCancer.org. Note that it is completely relevant for other forms of cancer, too.
Acupuncture: What Is It and How Can It Help?
The stress of a breast cancer diagnosis and the side effects of treatment can make it hard to feel like yourself. Dealing with daily symptoms such as pain, anxiety,
nausea, vomiting, and fatigue can wear you down.
While there are medicines to treat each of one of these problems, it makes sense to try something that works to balance the whole person. Many of my patients have told me that acupuncture has helped with a number of their side effects, including:
controlling hot flashes
What is acupuncture?
In acupuncture, hair-thin, specially designed, sterile needles are gently inserted into specific points on the skin called acupuncture points or acupoints. Researchers propose that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release natural painkillers and immune system cells. These cells and painkillers then travel to weakened areas of the body and ease symptoms. Acupuncture is done by a trained professional.
Acupuncture is a central part of traditional Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that a life force called qi (pronounced “chee”) flows through the body along 20 different channels called meridians. Qi consists of two opposite forces called yin and yang. According to Chinese medicine, when yin and yang are balanced, we are well. But when yin and yang are out of balance, qi is blocked and the body can’t function at its best. The goal of acupuncture is to release blocked
qi so that it can flow freely.
Acupuncture is a type of complementary medicine. Its goal is to balance the whole person – physically, mentally, and emotionally – while conventional medicine
does its work. Researchers are working to better understand the value and benefits of complementary medicine, and acupuncture specifically, in breast and other
types of cancer