Acupuncture for Cancer Management and Prevention

Treatment by acupunctureAcupuncture, a modality of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has long been used to help with cancer prevention as well as managing the side effects of the illness and its various treatment options.  Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the surface of your skin.  Often barely perceptible when inserted, the right combination of these points can produce amazing effects in terms of pain management, immune system boosting, digestive issues, and much more. Essentially, a TCM diagnosis is achieved by determining how and why the flow of energy in your body has been disrupted. Cancer is an indication of blockage of energy and/or other elements that flow through your body's energy pathways, otherwise known as meridians. Scientifically speaking, acupuncture is believed to have an effect on your circulation, while also affecting nerve conduction and lymph drainage. Acupuncture has even been proven to reduce feelings of pain throughout the body.

Cancer prevention is achieved through regular acupuncture treatment by helping to balance your body's energy flow. By balancing this flow on a regular basis, blockage can be often be prevented. TCM diagnosis first attempts to determine whether your pattern is one of deficiency or excess, and then works to either boost where needed or resolve where needed. Unfortunately, once blockage of the extreme nature of cancer has been allowed to occur it is difficult to treat, especially if the cancer is spreading rapidly. That is why acupuncture and other natural therapies should be viewed as preventative, or even as complementary to other more conventional treatment options. In other words, if you have been diagnosed with cancer, use acupuncture along with the treatment(s) recommended, and not as a replacement therapy.

Some of the conventional cancer therapies that acupuncture works well with include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and recovery from surgery. Acupuncture helps with chemotherapy by helping you relieve some of the side effects such as nausea and vomiting, reduced immune system function, digestive upset, and even some of the neurological side effects that can be present, such as pain or paralysis. In terms of the side effects for radiation therapy, acupuncture can potentially help with your fatigue, changes in appetite, anxiety and depression, sleep issues, changes in libido, and even some if the common radiation sickness associated with this therapy. In recovering from surgery, acupuncture can help speed your healing process, and can boost your energy to help you get back on your feet sooner.

When looking for a qualified acupuncturist, be sure to seek out a TCM practitioner as they are trained in all aspects of TCM including acupuncture, and will diagnose you in a manner that best fits your own individual pattern and thus treat you the way you are meant to be treated. Since we all present with our own personal patterns, it is important to note that two separate people should not necessarily receive the same type of acupuncture, even if they have the same type of cancer.

Contact us to learn more about acupuncture and treating cancer.

By Richard Lobbenberg, Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner

These links may also be helpful:

Acupuncture and Cancer Pain

Cancer Recovery Program

Case Study: Acupuncture for Cancer Recovery with Fatigue