You would be hard pressed to find someone living in our society who has not been touched in some way by cancer. Most of us can count multiple relatives, friends and neighbors who have dealt with the effects of the disease. Types of cancer cover a wide range, as do treatments. One point that is common across the board is that treatment is often uncomfortable, painful and hard on the body.
Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are the three most common methods for treating cancer, often in combination. While the disease ravages the body, wreaking its own damage, the treatments cause some harm as well. The chemicals in chemotherapy destroy both the cancerous cells and healthy ones, as does radiation. Surgery, of course, presents an entirely separate set of risks.
For the most part, in the United States, acupuncture is not a primary treatment for cancer. Many of the most progressive and successful cancer treatment centers in the world have found that acupuncture is an excellent complementary treatment. It is administered in conjunction with treatments prescribed by oncologists and other specialists.
How can acupuncture and other branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) help?
- Nausea and vomiting are common among patients undergoing chemotherapy and acupuncture has been shown to diminish those symptoms.
- Acupressure is often used both before and after surgery to reduce stress and to alleviate nausea.
- Acupuncture reduces the occurrence of hot flashes in patients who receive hormone therapy following certain types of cancer treatment.
- Acupuncture and acupressure help boost the immune system, which may help reduce the likelihood of cancer recurring and which may speed recovery.
Day-to-day life can be stressful, but that stress is compounded when you must also deal with illness, pain, visits to doctors, insurance, scheduling, paperwork and everything else that goes along with a cancer treatment plan. Your body’s defenses are low, then chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery bring them even lower. If TCM can help strengthen your immune system and reduce the effects of stress, it represents and important weapon in the fight against cancer.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the way acupuncture and TCM can complement a cancer treatment plan, please contact Wayne to schedule a consultation.