Acupuncture supports people during cancer treatment
At Dylan Stein Acupuncture, we take an integrative approach to wellness. This is especially beneficial to people undergoing treatment of cancer by medical doctors. Research has shown again and again that acupuncture reduces the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments with great results.
Acupuncture has been shown safe and effective to treat the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Chinese herbs can be applied to the skin to treat radiation burns. If you are suffering from fatigue or anemia, herbs can be taken internally with the permission of your doctor.
Acupuncture and herbs, when allowed, are also particularly helpful when preparing for treatment because they can improve your digestion, balance the constitution, and make you stronger before you start treatment. Acupuncture can also help keep you going strong during your treatment so you can receive all of the medication you need.
Chinese medicine theory also discusses food therapy, so we can talk about foods that are good to eat and those that you should avoid when undergoing treatment for cancer. We can also talk about other lifestyle factors that play a role in health and wellness.
What cancer and treatment side effects do you treat with acupuncture?
Here is a list of the side effects we treat most commonly in the clinic:
- Nausea and vomiting – Some types of chemotherapy can cause nausea or vomiting. Acupuncture has been shown to lessen the feeling of nausea, making those chemotherapy medications more tolerable. Both acute and delayed nausea and vomiting can be treated. Acupuncture works by regulated the digestion, calming the stomach, and improving parasympathetic nervous system response. We can also teach you techniques to use during infusions to help prevent or lessen nausea before it starts.
- Radiation burns – radiation to the torso, neck and head often burns the skin. Chinese herbs can be applied topically to soothe the skin, reduce redness and swelling, and help heal burns. Acupuncture can be helpful to a lesser degree by improving circulation in the area.
- Fatigue – Undergoing cancer treatment is very exhausting, emotionally and physically. Often, it comes with a loss of healthy blood cells, too. This can quickly lead to fatigue. Acupuncture can increase energy by improving the body’s energy resources, boosting the blood, improving digestion and restoring circulation of blood and body fluids. Acupuncture also treats the feeling of chill or being cold that people undergoing cancer treatment sometimes get. We have very warm treatment tables, heat lamps and blankets to make your experience comfortable, so warming treatments can last.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite (anorexia) – When chemotherapy and radiation lower appetite, acupuncture can be used to help bring it back. Herbs, with the permission of your doctor, can also be helpful with restoring the appetite. Once the appetite is strong, weight loss will usually reverse. Acupuncture and herbs work by restoring the normal digestive function, stimulating the appetite, improving energy and balancing circulation.
- Anemia – Acupuncture can help build the blood when chemotherapy or radiation cause anemia. With the permission of your doctor, herbs can be used to speed the blood-building process. Acupuncture can nourish the blood, improve digestion, and balance circulation. Food therapy can also be used, making what you eat like a medicine, too.
- Dry Mouth (xerostomia) and loss of taste – radiation to the head and neck can cause dry mouth and loss of taste sensation. Acupuncture can help bring back normal saliva production and restore taste by improving the body’s circulation in the head and neck and restoring the natural balance of energy in the affected area. Research supports that acupuncture can treat xerostomia.
- Anxiety and depression – Changes in mood, like anxiety and depression, are common during cancer treatment. Acupuncture helps to treat anxiety and depression by calming the mind and turning on the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” system of relaxation in the body.
- Pain – Acupuncture is famous for treating pain. The same applies for pain that arises during cancer treatment. Acupuncture has an analgesic effect, and we can pick where to direct that effect by picking different points to use.