Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Plus Herbs Relieve Chemo Neurotoxicity

Acupuncture and herbs produce optimal positive patient outcomes for patients with peripheral neuropathy due to chemotherapy.

Research demonstrates that acupuncture and herbs alleviate pain and numbness of the arms and legs caused by the adverse effects of chemotherapy for patients with several types of cancer. The results demonstrate that a combined protocol of acupuncture and herbal medicine produces a 90% total effective rate for the relief of pain and numbness.

 

LI4 (Hegu)LI4 (Hegu) Needling

 

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine alleviate extremity pain and numbness induced by chemotherapy neurotoxicity according to research published in the Shandong Medical Journal. Researchers investigated the efficacy of warm needle acupuncture combined with the oral intake of the herbal formula Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Tang for the treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Based on the data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine has a 90% total effective rate for the alleviation of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy for patients with gastric, colorectal, lung, nasopharyngeal or breast cancer. 

Three groups of patients with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy were compared. Group A received acupuncture and herbal medicine. Group B received herbal medicine. Group C did not receive treatment for chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Patients receiving both acupuncture and herbal medicine had a 90% total effective rate for the alleviation of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Patients receiving only herbal medicine had a 53.55% total effective rate for the alleviation of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Patients receiving no treatment for the adverse effects of chemotherapy had a 6.67% rate of alleviation. 

 

Chi Shao YaoChi Shao Yao

 

The herbs and acupuncture points used in the study are as follows. The herbal formula Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Tang consisted of the following individual herbs:

  • Huang Qi
  • Chi Shao
  • Gui Zhi
  • Gan Jiang
  • Da Zao
  • Ji Xue Teng
  • Dang Gui
  • Chuan Xiong

The herbs were decocted and given to patients for oral consumption at a rate of twice per day. Both acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments were administered for twenty-one days. Warm needle acupuncture was applied to the following acupoints:

  • He Gu (LI4)
  • Tai Chong (LV3)

Moxa cones were ignited on the handle of the acupuncture needles to produce warm needle acupuncture and the total treatment duration per session was thirty minutes. Based on the clinical data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture and herbal medicine are effective for the relief of peripheral neuropathy induced by chemotherapy. In addition, the combination of acupuncture plus herbal medicine in a combined protocol achieves optimal positive patient outcomes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

The researchers briefly outlined key Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles related to the investigation. They note that malignancies often involve underlying qi and blood deficiency and chemotherapy exacerbates the prevalence of heat and toxins. The combination of deficiency and excess impairs the free flow of qi and blood and leads to stasis. The treatment principle was to activate the free flow of yang qi, smooth and regulate the flow of qi, and regulate immune system function.


‚ÄčReference:
Wu Ting-ting, Jin Yan, Zhong Yi, Zhang Shi-qiang, Li Yuan, Yang Yun, Jiang Hai-yan, Xia Xiao-ting, Lyu Jun-qiang, Efficacy of Huangqi Guizhi Wuwu decoction combined with needle warming moxibustion on peripheral neurotoxicity and immunologic function of patients with malignant cancer after chemotherapy, Shandong Medical Journal, 2015 (33).