Monday, April 28, 2008

Is acupuncture useful for cancer?

According to American Cancer Society, there is no evidence that acupuncture is effective as a treatment for cancer. However, clinical studies have shown that acupuncture is helpful in treating nausea caused by chemotherapy drugs and surgical anesthesia. Another clinical trial found that acupuncture was effective in reducing the number of hot flashes experienced by men after prostate cancer hormonal therapy. Acupuncture may lessen the need for pain medicines. For example, headache sufferers treated with acupuncture used less pain medicines and missed fewer work days as compared with those taking standard treatment.

Acupuncture is often used as an adjunctive therapy in anesthesia, in post-operative pain control, and in aiding and hastening recovery from the side effects of the various therapies. Acupuncture is effective for control of pain, of local swelling post-operatively, for shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling and for minimizing use of medications and their attendant side effects. Energetic acupuncture, an approach consisting of the use of needles with electricity and moxibustion imparts a sense of well being and accelerates patients' recovery. It is used routinely in cancer institutions along with nutritional support.

For many people undergoing chemotherapy, the dreaded side effect of nausea and vomiting is more sickening than the chemotherapy itself. A study conducted at the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine found significant reduction of nausea and vomiting when the patients were treated with acupuncture before undergoing chemotherapy. American Cancer Society reports that acupuncture is now routinely administered before, after and in between chemotherapy treatment sessions for control of nausea and emesis. Use of acupuncture helps in minimizing the use of standard, expensive multi-drug anti-nausea regimens with their attendant side effects for chemotherapy patients.

Acupuncture is useful in managing cancer-related pain. The use of acupuncture can reduce the need for narcotic drugs. This also means that acupuncture will minimize the side effects such as confusion, disturbed mentation, behavioral changes, nausea and severe constipation, the normal result of taking narcotics.

Needling a variety of trigger and painful points, percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and osteo-puncture, along with whole body energetic acupuncture support, are approaches available to the acupuncturists.

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), any Such energy depletion can be ameliorated by a process known as tonification by imparting energy into the system. This is deemed necessary for more durable, successful pain control. It can also add to the patients' sense of well being and decrease the malaise associated with any chronic disease, especially cancer.

Chronic disease process depletes the energy level in the organism. Energetic acupuncture repletes energy level to the body and the diseased organs or part of the body. It also reestablishes homeostasis by re-balancing energy distribution and un-blocking energy flow. The acupuncture can provide a more durable, successful pain control and provide a sense of well being to cancer sufferers.

Energetic acupuncture is routinely used to provide healing energy to diseased organs such as liver, pancreas, kidney, and others that are ravaged by cancer. Researchers at UCLA found that when nutrition and supplements are combined with energetic acupuncture, it boosts the immune response in cancer patients, along with minimizing the immune and white blood cell suppression.

In summary, we can say that acupuncture can help in the care of the cancer patient.

Source: American Cancer Society