An Adjunctive Treatment to Chemotherapy
The role of acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment can be used in anesthesia, in post-operative pain control, for the control of nausea and vomiting, for fatigue, and in aiding and hastening recovery from the side effects of the various cancer 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 (a form of local heating with herbs) imparts a sense of well-being and accelerates patients' recovery.
Increases Immunity and Energy
Nutritional support as an aid in boosting immune response in cancer patients, along with minimizing the immune and white blood cell suppression that occurs with most chemotherapeutic agents, has been receiving greater attention and funding for research. Kenneth Conklin, M.D., Ph.D., an anesthesiologist at UCLA working with the Oncology Department, reports gratifying results utilizing nutrition and supplements combined with energetic acupuncture.
Energetic acupuncture repletes energy level to the organism as a whole, reestablishes homeostasis by re-balancing energy distribution and un-blocking energy flow. This systems approach to deal with system wide patho-physiology can be complemented by distinct meridian acupuncture, which directs healing energy to specific organ pathology and is a routine approach in treating diseased organs such as liver, pancreas, and kidneys, including those ravaged by cancers.
Controls Nausea and Vomiting
The dreaded nausea and vomiting which commonly occurs in some patients undergoing chemotherapy and inevitably, with the use of certain classes of agents, can often be worse than the disease itself. Most oncologists have experience with patients who start vomiting at the thought of their next clinic visit. At the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, a well-controlled study, the authors of the published paper reported significant reduction of nausea and vomiting when pre-treated with acupuncture. It is now routinely administered before, after, and in between chemotherapy treatment sessions for control of nausea and emesis. Such treatments are relatively simple and easily executed in an outpatient setting. Its effectiveness helps in minimizing the use of standard, expensive multi-drug anti-nausea regimens with their attendant side effects, given along with the chemotherapeutic agents.
Minimizes General Body Pain
Needling a variety of trigger and painful points, percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and osteo-puncture, along with whole body energetic acupuncture support, are approaches utilized by an acupuncturist for pain control in cancer patients. In the acupuncture paradigm, any chronic disease process depletes the energy level in the organism. Such depletion can be ameliorated by tonification, a process of 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.
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