More Evidence of Value of Acupuncture
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
JANUARY 11, 2017
Although I have never tried acupuncture, I know many people who have used it regularly and found it very helpful. Most often, the best acupuncture practitioners don't promise complete relief of nausea or fatigue or pain, but they suggest that it may help--and it usually seems to do so.
This is an article from BreastCancer.Org that reports more evidence of the potential value of acupuncture in relieving symptoms post mastectomy. There is every reason to suspect that the benefit is not limited to this situation. If it helps after mastectomy, it is easy to assume it could be equally beneficial after some other kind of surgery. Based on many personal reports that I have heard, it is also likely to be helpful in reducing nausea and fatigue and contributing to an enhanced sense of general well-being during chemotherapy and/or radiation.
Here is the start and a link to read more:
Acupuncture Seems to Help Ease Pain, Nausea, Anxiety
A very small study suggests that acupuncture can reduce pain, nausea,
and anxiety after mastectomy better than standard care. Women who
received acupuncture also were better able to cope with things the
first day after surgery than women who received usual care.
The study was published in Oncology Nursing Forum on Nov. 30, 2016. Read the abstract of “Assessing the Impact of Acupuncture on Pain, Nausea, Anxiety, and Coping in Women Undergoing a Mastectomy.”
In acupuncture, sterile, hair-thin needles are inserted into specific points on the skin, called "acupuncture points," and then gently moved. 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.
In this study, done at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn., 30 women who were having mastectomy to remove breast cancer were randomly assigned to one of two treatments after surgery:
two hospital-based acupuncture sessions, at least 12 hours apart
usual care, which included monitoring by hospital staff and medicines to ease pain and/or nausea if a woman said she was experiencing those side effects