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Acupuncture--Supportive Care for Cancer


      Acupuncture, a branch of traditional chinese medicine that originated in China over 2,000 years ago, could be very helpful in providing support to patients at all stages of their cancer journey.In China, Acupuncture is widely used in hospitals for cancer patients.In cancer treatment, its main use is to control symptoms, including the following, but not limited to:


* Reduced nausea, vomiting and fatigue associated with chemotherapy 

* Pain relief from neuropathy, incisions, tumors or chronic issues

    Studies looking at pain control using acupuncture suggest that it could help reduce the pain a ssociated with  cancer as well as from surgery. It may help reduce the amount of pain medications needed, and consequently some of the side effects of those pain medicines. Acupuncture can improve circulation in the body leading to regeneration of damaged nerves (neuropathy) and improve healing of scar tissue. 


* Improved digestion

   Radiation/or chemotherapy treatments may lead to pain and swelling in the mouth and throat making it difficult to swallow. Some patients lose their sense of taste as well. Acupuncture has been shown to decrease these side effects allowing the patient to be able to swallow, eat and drink normally. Acupuncture could also help restore appetite and regulate patterns of elimination. 


* Assist in stress management

   Cancer patients who use acupuncture treatment claim that they feel calmer, and that they feel happier. Additionally, many of them report less worry and anxiety. They report feeling more mentally alert and more emotionally stable. There are specific acupuncture points that will help the nervous system relax when there is a constant feeling of anxiety or adrenaline, thus treatments can help improve sleep as well. 


* Ongoing physical, mental and emotional support

   Regular acupuncture (twice or once a week) treatment can identify imbalances and guide patients to move towards more optimal health. Acupuncture stimulates the natural healing process of the body to aid in restoring health and balance.


For cancer patients, acupuncture is used as a complementary therapy, which is treatment given in addition to conventional (standard) therapy. Some people find that they feel a greater sense of wellbeing as well as symptom relief after acupuncture treatments.


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