Considering acupuncture for cancer care, but unsure of what acupuncture can actually treat? By treating the symptoms and side effects, acupuncture can help you find relief and have a more peaceful recovery, while also setting the stage for long-term healing and remission.
Every year, over 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer. While innovating treatments are advancing and survival rates are improving, getting well-rounded care throughout the cancer journey isn’t always easy. As a result, most people struggle to navigate their cancer treatment in a way that supports them, mind and body.
That’s where acupuncture comes in.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and you want a holistic way to manage symptoms naturally, Wellnest Denver Acupuncture is here for you. It is important to note that acupuncture does not provide a cure for cancer. However, it can help by easing pain to easing anxiety. Acupuncture helps you find natural relief from the many symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments. Let’s find out how.
Is an Integrative Approach to Cancer Care Right for You?
The integrative approach to cancer (combining Western medical cancer treatments with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)) is still gaining popularity in the US. But, more and more people are experiencing the benefits of a well-rounded, holistic cancer treatment plan.
While there’s never a wrong time to consider holistic support to fight cancer, there are some signs that this approach might be right for you:
- You want to reduce your symptoms and side effects naturally
- You want to enhance your body’s immune system to fight more effectively
- You are unable to receive certain drugs or treatments and need another way to heal
- You are struggling with overwhelming stress, anxiety, insomnia, or other issues that affect your quality of life
- You want to feel heard and supported throughout your healing journey
If one or more of those situations applies to you, an evidence-based integrated approach like acupuncture can help. In fact, acupuncture is one of the most well-researched and doctor-supported CAM therapies for reducing cancer symptoms as well as the negative side effects of chemo, radiation, and surgery.
Acupuncture for Cancer Symptoms
Acupuncture for Pain
Cancer pain is common when there’s a tumor pressing on nerves, bones, or organs, or as a result of certain cancer treatments. This pain can range from mildly annoying to downright debilitating. In all cases, acupuncture can help.
Acupuncture is possibly best known for helping people get relief from pain naturally, and acupuncture for cancer pain is no different. Studies show that regular acupuncture significantly reduces cancer pain during treatment, as well as in survivorship.
One of the biggest benefits of acupuncture for pain relief in cancer is that it reduces the need for pain medications like morphine, piritramide, and alfentanil. Opioids and other painkillers are great for short-term relief, but they can cause a host of unwanted side effects and drug interactions. By using acupuncture to relieve pain naturally, you can get longer-lasting pain relief without the risk of side effects or addiction.
Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety in Cancer
People around the world use acupuncture to help ease their stress and live life more in the moment. Now, it’s common for mainstream cancer treatment centers like Memorial Sloan Kettering to also use acupuncture and acupressure to support their patients through the stressors of living with – and overcoming – cancer.
There are many ways that acupuncture helps relieve stress and anxiety. But when it comes to reducing the stress of cancer, acupuncture’s magic lies most in transitioning the mind and body into parasympathetic mode. In this mode (or “rest and digest”), the nervous system is at ease, which gives our body more energy to rest, fight, and heal from cancer.
Quality of Life
Cancer changes your life – fast. But that doesn’t mean it has to control your life. While issues like fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and other cancer symptoms are common, there are natural ways to manage them so you can improve your overall quality of life while you heal.
Many people report that getting acupuncture treatment improves their overall wellbeing and enjoyment of life, no matter what their health conditions brought them to the treatment room. For those with cancer, this boost in daily quality of life can make an incredible difference in your energy, resilience, mood, and even prognosis.
Acupuncture for Chemotherapy & Radiation Support
Acupuncture for Nausea
Nausea and vomiting are two common side effects of chemotherapy. Thankfully, acupuncture is one of the most effective natural ways to reduce nausea without interfering with your treatment plan.
Over the past 20 years, studies prove again and again that acupuncture and electroacupuncture significantly reduce the intensity and frequency of nausea and vomiting in those undergoing cancer treatments.
From a Chinese medicine point of view, nausea occurs when the body’s qi is disrupted. Instead of circulating downwards as it should, the Stomach qi gets blocked and reverses upwards and outwards and we get sick. Acupuncture restores the natural movement of qi and eases any abdominal discomfort. Beyond harmonizing qi, acupuncture also helps reduce inflammation, phlegm, and abdominal pain that are often associated with chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Acupuncture for Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy
While cancer itself can be very painful, treatment can cause just as much discomfort. With acupuncture, however, you can naturally ease issues like chemotherapy-induced pain, such as peripheral neuropathy that’s common in those with breast cancer.
Along with neuropathy, studies show that acupuncture could be your best natural solution if you suffer from “postoperative cancer pain, postoperative nausea and vomiting, postsurgical gastroparesis syndrome, opioid-induced constipation, opioid-induced pruritus, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, aromatase inhibitor-associated joint pain, and neck dissection-related pain and dysfunction.”
Acupuncture for Immune Support
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are often necessary to fight cancer. But, they are powerful treatments that take a toll on the body’s immune system. If your body is not strong enough to accept the chemotherapy, you may not be able to continue treatment. By combining acupuncture with your cancer care plan, you can boost your immune system and ensure your body is resilient enough to continue your full course of cancer treatment.
Aside from helping support your immunity during treatments, acupuncture may also have an anti-cancer effect. Research shows that acupuncture stimulates the immune system’s cancer-fighting effects to slow or prevent the growth of new cancer cells.
Acupuncture for Lymphedema
Swelling and pain are common side effects after surgery to remove tumors or lymph nodes (especially in breast cancers). Unfortunately, this swelling doesn’t always go away on its own and sometimes needs extra support from therapies like acupuncture and massage to fully heal the area. Acupuncture helps to reduce excess fluid build-up and clear inflammation or lingering pain post-surgery.
Acupuncture for Xerostomia
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, can be an issue for those who have radiation to the head or neck. Without treatment, xerostomia can make eating, swallowing, and even speaking difficult and leads to cavities and gum inflammation. Several studies show that acupuncture and herbal medicine are effective natural ways to reverse xerostomia and improve salivary flow.
Navigate Your Cancer Recovery and Find Relief with Acupuncture
At Wellnest Denver, we believe no one should walk alone on their cancer recovery journey. If you’re in pain, feeling sick, worried, or confused about your condition, we’re here to help.
Through acupuncture treatments, other mind-body therapies, and even healing recipes (like bone broth for cancer support), we’ll help you have a more peaceful recovery, while also setting the stage for long-term healing and remission.
Don’t suffer through cancer or chemotherapy symptoms any longer. Schedule a consultation today to get the relief you need – and the compassionate, holistic support you deserve!