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  • Kelly Hora, MAc MS Bluestem Acupuncture, LLC

Top 5 Benefits of Acupuncture during Cancer Treatment

A growing number of cancer centers in the U.S., such as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are integrating acupuncture into cancer care. Once considered 'alternative medicine' the integration of acupuncture significantly improves patients' quality of life during cancer treatment and recovery.

Reduced Nausea, Vomiting, Fatigue

According to the National Cancer Institute

acupuncture can relieve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Therefore, regular acupuncture treatment can improve tolerance of chemotherapy by mitigating side effects.

Pain Relief

The evidence base for pain relief from acupuncture is strong and has led to the use of acupuncture was a non-pharmacological option for pain management. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the amount of pain medications needed which can reduce risk of dependency on or side effects from opioids. In addition to treating pain from cancer and post-operative pain, acupuncture may relieve or prevent nerve pain (neuropathy), a side effect of some chemotherapy drugs.

Improved Digestion

Acupuncture can help patients swallow, eat and drink normally by relieving pain and swelling in the mouth and throat when it occurs. Acupuncture can also help restore appetite, curb indigestion and regulate patterns of elimination.

Stress Management

Acupuncture results in regulation of the nervous system, is generally relaxing and can help with stress management, depression and anxiety. These changes can also lead to better sleep.

Holistic Approach

Acupuncture stimulates natural healing process of the body to aid in restoring health and balance. Combined with conventional oncology treatments, regular acupuncture can help mitigate side effects and stimulate the immune system. Acupuncture treatments can include nutrition, restorative exercises, and breathing practices to optimize mental, emotional and physical health.

Chiu HY, Hsieh YJ, Tsai PS. Systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer-related pain. Eur J Cancer Care 2017 Mar;26(2)

American Pain Society; American College of Physicians. Non-pharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Oct 2;147(7):492-504. Review. Erratum in: Ann Intern Med. 2008 Feb 5;148(3):247-8.

Fan AY, Miller DW, Bolash B, Bauer M, McDonald J, Faggert S, He H, Li Y, Matecki A, Camardella L, Koppelman MH, Stone J, Meade L, Pang J. Acupuncture's Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic: Evidence, Cost-Effectiveness, and Care Availability for Acupuncture as a Primary, Non-Pharmacologic Method for Pain Relief and Management-White Paper 2017. Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2017 Nov; 15(6):411-425.

Lu, W, Dean-Clower, E, Doherty-Gilman, A, and Rosenthal, D.S. The Value of Acupuncture in Cancer Care. Hematol Oncol Clin North America. 2008 Aug; 22(4) 631

Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, McLean RM, Forciea MA; Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Apr 4;166(7):514-530.

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