Acupuncture for Cancer Patients Greenwood MS
General Psychiatry/Child-Adolescent Psychiatry/Medical Acupuncture
Master's Degree, Acupuncture
National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, Mississippi Oriental Medicine Association
Can Acupuncture Help Ease Cancer Treatment?
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine based on the premise that health is determined by a balanced flow of the vital energy known as qi (pronounced chi). Qi flows along 12 major pathways, called meridians, linked to major organs. Small needles are inserted into one or more of the acupoints along the meridians.
Research into acupuncture in relation to cancer treatment has focused primarily on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. According to an evaluation of data from 11 clinical trials in the Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry (a government-funded database of controlled trials), acupuncture reduced acute chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Acupuncture has also been shown to alleviate cancer-related pain and dry mouth. Recent research indicates it can help relieve cancer-related menopausal symptoms as well. (Menopausal symptoms can occur following chemotherapy or can be surgically-induced when the ovaries are removed.) Acupuncture is currently being studied in relation to immune enhancement, diarrhea relief, and shortness of breath in cases of advanced lung cancer.
Interest regarding use of acupuncture in anesthesia is also gaining momentum. Acupuncture can be used to reduce the amount of anesthesia medications needed before surgery, enhance the effects of anesthesia, or in some rare cases take the place of anesthesia for less complex surgeries. Acupuncture anesthesia research is in its infancy; however, this approach may become a viable option for people who can’t tolerate anesthesia or who want to reduce the amount of anesthesia medication they’re given.
It is important to work with a licensed acupuncturist with training equivalent to a master’s degree. It is also a good idea to only work with acupuncturists who have experience working with people with cancer. Be sure the therapist uses disposable, single-use needles and a sterile technique to deliver the treatments.
For more information on acupuncture, visit one of these websites: www.acaom.org (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine); www.aaom.org (American Association of Oriental Medicine); or www.ccaom.org (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).
Adapted from Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrated Approach to Prevention, Treatment and Healing by Lise Alschuler, ND, and Karolyn A. Gazella (Celestial Arts, 2007)
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