As I’ve said many times on my blog, we have many tools in the Natural Healthcare Center shed that we use to help our patients feel better, function better and live longer. One important tool that can play a critical role in treating and preventing pain and illness is acupuncture.
In recent years, the American healthcare establishment has gradually begun to come around and accept acupuncture as a method for restoring balance in the human body. While acupuncture has been used to treat everything from headaches and sciatica to allergies and infertility, acupuncture is now playing an important role in cancer care.
In fact, a number of major cancer centers have staff acupuncturists, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MD Anderson in Houston, and Cancer Treatments Centers of America.
To be clear, acupuncture is not treating the cancer. The role of acupuncture in cancer care is to treat the symptoms associated with cancer care and the side effects of treatment.
The World Health Organization supports the use of acupuncture for:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chronic fatigue
- Hot flashes
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Knee pain
- Post-operative pain
- Side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy
For example, a common side effect of medication is constipation. If the intestines are affected by cancer treatment, the system that expels waste from the body slows down, and the body’s natural waste products, as well as the medication’s waste products, can get stuck in your body. Acupuncture can help with intestinal mobility to minimize or prevent constipation.
Overall, acupuncture’s role in cancer care is supportive. It can help the patient maintain the physical and mental strength to continue with treatment, and then return to their normal life as quickly as possible after treatment.
We’re very fortunate to have nationally board certified and New Jersey licensed acupuncturist Timothy Sobo as a member of the Natural Healthcare Center family. Tim earned his Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Medicine, graduating in the top 10 in his class. He has also completed the Acupuncture for the Cancer Patient program at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
A session with Tim begins with a full health history that includes a review of the type of cancer you have, the diagnosis and prognosis, and the medication and treatment you’re receiving. Tim would then go over your treatment goals and expectations, and answer any questions you may have.
If you’re receiving treatment for cancer, we encourage you to discuss acupuncture with your doctor. We know cancer treatment can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining, and we would love to have the opportunity to help you get through this difficult time.