Acupuncture, the perfect support for chemotherapy. (Berkeley Acupuncture)
I just came across so many wonderful research studies on the Cancer.gov website about Acupuncture and it’s role in supporting Western therapies like chemo and radiation. Studies have been done for the following and Acupuncture is a recommended adjunct therapy for:
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on pain In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses. The findings from these studies are not considered strong, however, because of weaknesses in study design and size. Studies using strict scientific methods are needed to prove how acupuncture affects pain.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on muscle and joint pain from aromatase inhibitors Aromatase inhibitors, a type of hormone therapy for postmenopausal women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer, may cause muscle and joint pain. A randomized studyfound that true acupuncture was much more effective in relieving joint pain and stiffness than sham (inactive) acupuncture in patients taking aromatase inhibitors.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on nausea and vomiting caused by cancer therapies The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.A study of acupuncture, vitamin B6 injections, or both for nausea and vomiting in patients treated with chemotherapy for ovarian cancer found that acupuncture and vitamin B6 together gave more relief from vomiting than acupuncture or vitamin B6 alone.A study of acupressure for relief of nausea and vomiting was done in women undergoing chemotherapy. The study found that acupressure applied to an acupuncture point with a wristband helped to decrease nausea and vomiting and reduced the amount of medicine the women used for those symptoms.A study of acupuncture for relief of nausea and vomiting was done in patients undergoingradiation therapy. Patients who received either true acupuncture or sham acupuncture were compared to patients who received standard care. The study found that patients in both the true and sham acupuncture groups developed less nausea and vomiting than those in the standard care group.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on hot flashes in patients treated for cancer Hormone therapy may cause hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men withprostate cancer. Some studies have shown that acupuncture may be effective in relieving hot flashes in these patients.
Study of the effect of acupuncture on fatigue in patients treated for cancer Randomized studies of patients with cancer-related fatigue found that those who had a series of acupuncture treatments had less fatigue compared to those who had acupressure, sham acupressure, or information about managing fatigue.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on xerostomia (dry mouth) in patients treated for cancer Clinical trials have been done to study the effect of acupuncture in the treatment and prevention of xerostomia (dry mouth) caused by radiation therapy given to patients withnasopharyngeal carcinoma and head and neck cancer.Two studies compared acupuncture with standard care for preventing xerostomia in patients being treated with radiation therapy. The studies found that patients treated with acupuncture had fewer symptoms and increased saliva flow.Compared to standard care, acupuncture markedly improves xerostomia symptoms in patients who have xerostomia after treatment with radiation therapy.A study on the long-term effects of acupuncture on xerostomia found that patients had notable differences in salivary flow at 6 months compared to before treatment. Patients who received additional acupuncture had increased saliva flow at 3 years compared to patients who did not continue acupuncture treatment.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on other symptoms of cancer and side effects of cancer treatment The aim of most acupuncture clinical observation and clinical trials in cancer patients has been to study the effects of acupuncture on cancer symptoms and side effects caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, coughing up blood, anxiety, depression,proctitis, speech problems, blocked esophagus, hiccups, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.
I’ve seen it first hand, Acupuncture is an amazing support to a loved one going through an invasive therapy like chemotherapy. Simply because it’s self regulating, the body will dictate what needs to be done and the patient doesn’t need to take any other medications or pills during their therapy (which are challenging to take anyway because of nausea). A patient recently said, “The chemo killed the cancer, but you guys saved my life through it all.”
Feel free to call so we can be a part of your healthcare team through this difficult time.
Christina Martin is the founder of Tao to Wellness. She is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Teacher and has been in practice for over fifteen years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is California state licensed and a nationally certified Diplomat of Acupuncture. She is also a Fellow of the American Board of Reproductive Oriental Medicine.