Can Acupuncture Manage Cancer Treatment Side Effects?
Founder of Taoism, ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu warns us that anticipate things that may grow thorny, while they are still easy to manage, and do things that would become momentous, while they are still insignificant.
Lao Tzu is right. And when it comes to T.C.M. therapy, acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy that is used to heal illness, prevent disease and improve well-being, which coincides with Lao Tzu's philosophy.
By inserting tiny, hair-thin needles into specific points in the body, known as acupoints, the body’s natural healing response will be triggered, thereby achieving the therapeutic effect.
How does acupuncture work?
There are more than 360 acupoints on the body, distributed along 14 major meridians or energy channels. Each meridian is connected to certain organs or functions of the body. The acupuncture practitioner determines the correct points to use depending on the condition being treated. The theory behind acupuncture is that when one or more of the body’s energy channels is blocked, discomfort results.
How does acupuncture help in managing side effects of cancer treatment?
Some cancer patients may experience side effects as a result of their cancer treatment. These may include nausea or vomiting from chemotherapy, peripheral neuropathy, or tingling, numbness or a burning sensation in the extremities; dry mouth from radiation therapy, or hot flashes from hormone therapy. Research has shown that acupuncture can be very successful in alleviating many of these side effects for the majority (but not all) of patients treated.
How is acupuncture delivered?
A patient lies on a comfortable massage table, while the practitioner inserts acupuncture needles into the appropriate acupuncture points. As many as 15 needles may be inserted at one session. Needles are left in place for approximately 20 minutes. Each session takes about 30-45 minutes in total.
It usually takes a few sessions to improve chronic conditions.
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