Acupuncture is integrated into a new cancer treatment and research facility opening in July. The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre combines conventional chemotherapy, surgery, radiation treatment, research laboratories, acupuncture and other holistic modalities into a single integrated entity at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital. Australian entertainer Olivia Newton-John assisted in developing this project in a concerted effort to improve the lives of patients receiving cancer treatments.
Acupuncture for cancer patients became recognized following a 1997 National Institutes of Health study showing that acupuncture is effective for treating nausea due to chemotherapy. New research gives us insight into the importance of acupuncture as part of an integrated medical model. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent findings.
A recent study finds that acupuncture is effective for reducing pain in cancer patients. It is estimated that upwards of 70 percent of cancer patients do not get adequate pain relief. Pain is due to pre-existing conditions, tumor growth, bone metastases, cancer treatments and progression of the disease.
Research reveals that acupuncture is effective for treating hot flashes for patients receiving conventional antiestrogen hormone therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. The Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan published its finding in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Results show that acupuncture successfully eliminates hot flashes and benefits patients suffering from mental depression. The study also revealed that acupuncture increases sex drive, mental clarity and overall energy levels in the patients. The study concludes that acupuncture “appears to be equivalent to drug therapy” and is “a safe, effective, and durable treatment.”
Difficulty with digestion is common for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. New research concludes that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of dyspepsia (indigestion). Dyspepsia involves symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, an uncomfortable sensation of heaviness or fullness after eating, nausea, belching and heartburn. Dyspepsia is often linked to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), gastritis and gastrointestinal ulcers.
New research concludes that acupuncture effectively relieves hiccups for patients with late-stage cancer. Diaphramatic muscle spasms (intractable hiccups) occur in late-stage cancer patients. This is of great concern because it is often difficult to control hiccups with medications and the hiccups interfere with the diet and sleep.
About the Healthcare Medicine Institute: HealthCMi provides online acupuncture CEU credit to licensed acupuncturists and publishes current events related to acupuncture, herbal medicine and important innovations in healthcare technology.
1 Paley CA, Johnson MI, Tashani OA, Bagnall AM. Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007753. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007753.pub2.
2 Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement 1997 Nov 3-5; 15(5):1-34.
3 Lee H, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Acupuncture for the relief of cancer- related pain-A systematic review. European Journal of Pain 2005;9 (4):437–44.
4 Ma, T. T., Yu, S. Y., Li, Y., Liang, F. R., Tian, X. P., Zheng, H., Yan, J., Sun, G. J., Chang, X. R., Zhao, L., Wu, X. and Zeng, F. (2012), Randomised clinical trial: an assessment of acupuncture on specific meridian or specific acupoint vs. sham acupuncture for treating functional dyspepsia. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 35: 552–561. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04979.x
5 JOURNAL OF ACUPUNCTURE AND TUINA SCIENCE. Volume 10, Number 2 (2012), 117-119, DOI: 10.1007/s11726-012-0585-x. Electroacupuncture combined with auricular point sticking for hiccups in late-stage cancer. Xia-ping Shao.