Acupuncture is a complementary medical treatment whose use in cancer patients has been recommended by the American Cancer society (ACS) for the treatment of cancer and treatment-related symptoms. Pain, nausea, breathlessness, vasomotor symptoms and limb edema have all been found to respond to this treatment modality.
How does TCM view cancer?
According to TCM, the appearance of cancer is related with two aspects. One is the deficiency of the Vital Energy (Qi), the other is formation of phlegm, blood stasis and toxin. The treatment should be aimed at reinforcing the Vital Qi (immune system) as well as removing phlegm, blood stasis and toxins (killing cancer cells).
How can acupuncture help?
Pain Relieving: Acupuncture provokes the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. This contributes to the breaking of the pain cycle. Many neurotransmitters are also affected by acupuncture, and changes in these may affect pain transmission from irritated nerves.
Relieving nausea caused by radio/chemotherapy: the anti-emetic effects a acupuncture apparently stem from the resultant increase in hypophyseal secretion of beta-endorphins and ACTH, with subsequent inhibition of the CTZ and vomiting center. Acupuncture also affects the upper GI tract, decreasing acid secretion and repressing gastric arrhythmias.
Relieving post-chemotherapy fatigue as well as stress, anxiety and fear: Some acu-points can boost general energy so as to relieve fatigue. Also, acupuncture can improve sense of well-being, mood, sleep, and result in an overall relaxation.
Strengthen immune system: acupuncture can enhance cellular immunity, such as improving counts of T-cells, B-cells, phagocytosis of white blood cells and reticuloendothelial system. It can also enhance humoral immunity, such as improving counts of immunoglobin, opsonin, properdin, complement, antibody, bacteriolysin, ect. One study has found that acupuncture stimulation can cause a significant rise in blood levels of interferon, one of the immune system’s messenger hormones. The effect lasts for several days and is much safer than other methods of boosting interferon.
How does the treatment feel like?
Treatment involves insertion hair thin needles into the four limbs, abdomen, back and head. A dull and heavy sensation know as the arrival of Qi (vital energy) will appear when the needle is inserted to a certain depth. Most people feel relaxed after the treatment. Electric stimulation can also be added according to patient’s condition.
How is the result?
Dr. Yan used to be a medical doctor in the 1st teaching hospital of Tianjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a master degree majored in Acupuncture. She has special interest and experience in treating cancer. Cancer patients should come for treatment once or twice a week. There are two groups of points selected to relieve symptoms and boost the immune system.
Dr. Yan will ensure your pain is relieved and your immune system is boosted.