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What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine in which fine, sterile needles are applied to specific areas of the body, or acupoints, to stimulate energy flow (or “chi”). The needles are usually left in place for a few minutes (skilled acupuncturists cause virtually no pain). Energy is believed to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians.
When energy is flowing freely through the meridians, the immune system is stimulated, which is thought to bring on a healing response and balance. When the flow of energy is disturbed or off-balance, pain or illness may occur. A goal of acupuncture is to restore balance and healthy energy flow to the body to control pain and other symptoms.
Worldwide, acupuncture is sometimes used for conditions in which conventional approaches have failed, or as a complement to traditional medicine. In the United States and Europe, acupuncture is primarily used to control pain and relieve symptoms of disease, but not to cure the disease itself. Some people find acupuncture useful for helping to stop an addictive behavior, such as smoking or alcoholism. Others may find it useful for relieving ailments such as headaches, low back pain, fibromyalgia, asthma, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Acupuncture in Cancer Care
Acupuncture is not used by itself as a treatment for cancer. Rather, it is used in combination with advanced cancer treatment options to help relieve symptoms related to cancer. In some cases, acupuncture may help to alleviate treatment-related side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, as well as other common symptoms, such as stress. Some individuals also find that acupuncture helps relieve fatigue, pain and neuropathy associated with cancer and its treatment.
Acupuncture at CTCA
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), we understand that everyone is different. We also understand that to fight cancer well, you need to attack it from all angles, on all fronts. That is why, in addition to advanced cancer treatment options, we also offer a variety of therapies, including acupuncture.
The goal of our Acupuncture Program is to enhance your natural healing response while you are receiving your traditional cancer treatments. Our acupuncturists are experienced practitioners who aim to alleviate treatment-related side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, pain, and other common symptoms, such as stress.
If you are interested in acupuncture, and if your oncologist permits, it will be integrated into your personalized cancer treatment plan. Also, as you receive treatments, your acupuncturist will be in regular communication with your care team to evaluate your progress.