How Acupuncture Can Help Cancer Patients
Finding out that you have a cancer diagnosis and must undergo treatment can be very scary and dealing with the side effects from chemo or other forms or treatment can make it worse. There are helpful adjunctive therapies that can be done while undergoing cancer treatment. Instead of suffering through it, you can try acupuncture, which researchers have found to help to benefit cancer patients in several important ways. This list includes:
Helping with Pain Management
It is found that acupuncture is very effective in managing pain especially related to tumors, chemotherapy, radiation, inflammation, and surgery. As many of the treatments for cancer cause pain, inflammation and swelling (not to mention the side effects such as nausea, respiratory depression, confusion and constipation), turning to acupuncture can help to reduce these symptoms. It is shown that patients who undergo acupuncture treatment may even be able to take lower doses of pain medication.
As increased inflammation is a part of the physiology of cancer, and most treatments for cancer (I.e. chemo, radiation therapy) also cause painful inflammation, going in for acupuncture treatments is an excellent way to reduce both the swelling and pain that are related to inflammation.
Boosting Your Immune System
A lot of cancers and cancer treatments are known to cause a suppression of bone marrow, your source of blood cells that act like an army for your immune system. Acupuncture on the other hand, increases blood cell production and stimulates Lymphocytes and Natural Killer Cells, which in turn will lead to an increased immune response and lowers your risk of infection.
Aiding with Nausea and Vomiting
Studies have shown that acupuncture treatments help to reduce both the frequency and intensity of nausea and vomiting that cancer patients receiving chemotherapy so commonly struggle with.
Relief from Dry, Painful Mouth and Throat
Patients that receive radiation treatment to their neck and head usually experience dry mouth because of the reduction of saliva production. These treatments also cause pain and swelling to the throat and mouth, making swallowing a difficult task. It is common for these patients to also lose their sense of taste. However, acupuncture has shown a decrease in this, allowing patients to swallow, drink and eat normally once again.
Helps with Sleep Issues
Whether sleep disruption and/or insomnia in cancer patients is due to post-surgical or treatment discomfort and pain, or anxiety and depression, acupuncture has shown to improve these symptoms to allow him or her to get the sleep he or she needs to recover and heal fully.