Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cancer and Acupuncture

Cancer is becoming more and more prevalent in today's world. Much of the food in grocery stores (read processed, sugar laden, chemical laden, genetically modified) is creating an environment in our bodies that prevents us from being able to keep cancer from growing out of control. All of us have cancer cells in our bodies, but most of the time they are turned off. Pollution from chemicals in foods, in our hygiene products, and in our environment can turn these cells on and start the growth of a tumor. Whether the tumor continues to grow or ceases depends on many variables. It is hard to live in the world today and not be impacted by cancer, either directly or by knowing someone who has it or has had it.

Can acupuncture cure cancer?

Unfortunately the answer is no. There are Chinese Medicine Oncologists who have received specialized training in Chinese Medicine Oncology (mostly in China), but for the most part, acupuncturists in the United States don't cure cancer or even treat it per se. However, acupuncture can make a person's experience with Western cancer treatments much easier and less painful. Whether or not a person with cancer chooses to do surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, they can still benefit from acupuncture to help cope the side effects of the various treatments.

People undergoing chemotherapy and radiation often have to suffer through a number of side effects including (but not limited to): fatigue, nausea/vomiting, muscle or joint pain, trouble sleeping, anxiety/depression, lack of appetite and bowel or digestive irregularities. Sometimes these symptoms can be so severe that they interfere with the person's ability to continue their cancer treatments. Surgeries can often leave a person in a lot of pain, even with pain killing medications.

In Chinese Medicine we look at the side effects of chemo or radiation on the body and help reverse those effects. Chemo and radiation can cause a build up of Heat in the body (nausea, vomiting, digestive irregularities, anxiety) as well as deplete a person's Qi (fatigue/exhaustion, lack of appetite, trouble sleeping) or cause Qi to stagnate (pain, depression, bowel/digestive irregularities). By looking at a person's response to their cancer treatment the acupuncturist can figure out how this particular person is being affected and treat accordingly. When it comes to surgeries, acupuncture and moxibustion can help the body recover, reduce pain and help with scar healing. Surgeons are often amazed at how quickly and how well our shared patients' scars heal as compared to patients not receiving acupuncture.

Acupuncture can't cure cancer, but it can help a person withstand the treatments that might cure their cancer. As it stands today, chemo and radiation treat the cancer without regard to the person; acupuncture treats the person. The stronger your body, the easier it is to tolerate the cancer treatments and hopefully the more successfully you will heal.

1 comment:

  1. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the intensity and frequency of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.