Benefits of Acupuncture in Cancer Care

On Sunday June 6th, cancer survivors celebrated the 23rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day, sponsored by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. The event, which includes hundreds of gatherings across the US, is a time to celebrate life. Here are some ways that acupuncture can help while being treated for and recovering from cancer.

Cancer treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. Acupuncture is an excellent adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments because of its ability to relieve pain, reduce side effects, accelerate recovery and improve quality of life.

What Acupuncture is used for during Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture provides a total approach to health care for people with cancer. It can be used to address many of the concerns that come up during and after chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and surgery.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.

Areas that acupuncture has shown the most promise include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
  • Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
  • Pain Management
  • Increasing White Blood Cell Count

To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with cancer, please call for a consultation today.

Source: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.org

Chemo-Induced Nausea Study

Effect of Acupuncture on Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

According to the National Cancer Institute, of all the investigated effects of acupuncture on cancer-related or chemotherapy-related symptoms and disorders, the positive effect of acupuncture on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is the most convincing.

Numerous studies have consistently shown acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting as well as as postoperative and morning sickness nausea and vomiting.

A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial investigated the effect of electro-acupuncture on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in 104 patients with breast cancer who were undergoing a highly emetogenic (causes vomiting) chemotherapy regimen. The patients were randomly assigned to receive low-frequency electro-acupuncture at classic acupuncture points for nausea and vomiting once daily for 5 days, minimal needling at control points with mock electro-acupuncture on the same schedule, or no adjunct needling. All patients received concurrent antiemetic drugs (prochlorperazine, lorazepam, and diphenhydramine) and high-dose chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and carmustine).

The main outcome measures were the total number of emesis (vomiting) episodes and the proportion of emesis-free days occurring during the 5-day study period. The data revealed significantly fewer emesis episodes in the electro-acupuncture treatment group compared with those in the minimal needling and drug-only control groups.

Source: Shen J, Wenger N, Glaspy J, et al.: Electroacupuncture for control of myeloablative chemotherapy-induced emesis: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 284 (21): 2755-61, 2000.

Acupuncture for Arthritis

Acupuncture for Arthritis

May is National Arthritis Month and there’s no better time to take action. If you suffer with arthritis, acupuncture can help.

Arthritis is one of the most pervasive diseases in the United States and is the leading cause of disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three Americans (an estimated seventy million people) is affected.

For most people, arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of fifty show some signs of arthritis as joints degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can often be managed with acupuncture.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is not just one disease; it is a complex disorder that comprises more than one hundred distinct symptoms and can affect people at any stage of life. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While these two forms of arthritis have very different causes, risk factors and effects on the body, they share a common symptom—persistent joint pain.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in the United States. OA begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness. Commonly affected joints include the fingers, knees, hips, and spine. Other joints affected less frequently include the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles. When OA is found in a less frequently affected joint, there is usually a history of injury or unusual stress to that joint. Repetitive injury and physical trauma may contribute to the development of OA. If you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling, or squatting, for example, you may be at high risk for OA of the knee.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks synovial joints. Inflammation of the joint lining, called the synovium, causes pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement.

Eastern View of Arthritis

In Oriental medicine, arthritis is called “Bi Syndrome.” Bi Syndrome
manifests as pain, soreness, or numbness of muscles, tendons and joints.
Arthritis is treated according to which type of Bi Syndrome it falls into:

1. Moving (Wind) Bi Syndrome: Pain in the joints is widespread and moves from one area of the body to another. This is often accompanied by fever and chills.

2. Stationary (Damp) Bi Syndrome: The pain is localized and does not move. The body and limbs feel heavy and there is numbness and swelling.

3. Painful (Cold) Bi Syndrome: Severe pain in one part, or over one half of the body which becomes worse with cold and diminishes with warmth.

4. Heat Bi Syndrome: The flesh is hot, the area of pain is red and swollen, and the pain increases upon contact.

The type of Bi Syndrome the arthritis falls into will determine which acupuncture points and other treatment options will be utilized. The purpose of acupuncture is to trigger your body’s innate ability to self heal. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and are aimed at balancing the energy within the body, increasing the flow of qi and blood to the affected area, bringing down swelling and inflammation, relieving pain, and helping to prevent re-occurrence of the arthritis.

If you have arthritis and would like to learn more about how acupuncture can help, call now for a consultation.

Studies on Acupuncture for Arthritis

Studies show that acupuncture can stimulate the production of hormones that reduce pain and inflammation.

In a German study, 3,500 people with osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee received 15 sessions of acupuncture combined with their usual medical care. The results showed that the patients that had acupuncture had less pain and stiffness, improved function and better quality of life than their counterparts who had routine care alone. The improvements occurred immediately after completing a three-month course of acupuncture and lasted for at least another three months, indicating osteoarthritis is among conditions treated with acupuncture.

Another study, published in the journal *Pain*, looked at the effects of acupuncture among 40 adults with osteoarthritis of the knee. Among the patients in the study, those who had a daily acupuncture session for 10 consecutive days reported greater improvement in their pain compared with patients who received a “sham” version of the therapy.

Resources:
Pain Online, December 15, 2009.
Arthritis & Rheumatism, November 2006; vol 54: pp 3485-349

Create Lasting Resolutions & Improve Memory

5 Ways Acupuncture Creates Lasting New Year’s Resolutions

It is the beginning of a new year and, once again, a time to reflect on what changes we can make to improve our lives. If you are intent on improving your health this year, acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be the very thing you need to “stick” to those resolutions.

Here’s how acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:

Resolution 1: Reach Target Weight and Stay There

Losing weight is the #1 most common New Year’s Resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings.

From an Oriental medicine perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the Spleen and Liver systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight gain.

From a Western perspective, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

Resolution 2: Stay Sharp

Your New Year’s resolution may be to learn a new language or take a class at your local college. However you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.

One recently published study (see below) shows how acupuncture can be used to treat memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students during an exam, post-menopausal “brain fog”, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. All results, thus far, have been positive.

Resolution 3: Relieve Pain Naturally

If pain is keeping you from living your life to the fullest, acupuncture can help. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications.
Acupuncture has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in activity in the pain centers of the brain – up to 70%.

In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

Resolution 4: Quit Smoking

Acupuncture has turned a growing number of cigarette cravers into permanent ex-smokers. In fact, researchers say that acupuncture is a promising treatment for all types of addiction from cigarettes to heroin.

In one study, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 54.8% of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 23.5% and 9.1% in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

The acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

Resolution 5: Eliminate Stress

Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions and for a good reason. Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider coming in for a treatment to regain peace of mind and stay healthy.

Call now to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you with your New Year’s Resolutions!

Acupuncture Improves Memory and Learning Capacity

Acupuncture can significantly improve learning and memory capacity that has been impaired by hyperglycemia and cerebral ischemia, according to a new study.

A study published in the journal, *Neuroscience Letters*, reported on whether electroacupuncture (acupuncture needles stimulated with a mild electrical current) could improve learning and memory in rats whose memory and cognitive functions were impaired by the decreased circulatory effects of diabetes resulting in cerebral ischemia.

In the study, the effects of the acupuncture treatments were measured with a passive avoidance test, an active avoidance test, the Morris water maze and electrophysiology. With all tests, significant improvements were seen in restoring memory and learning capacity.

The researchers remarked that previous investigations have demonstrated that electroacupuncture can improve primary and secondary symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy and diabetic encephalopathy in diabetic rats. They believe that the positive results of this study warrant further investigation.

Source: Neuroscience Letters Volume 443, Issue 3, 10 October 2008, Pages 193-198 doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2003.10.071