Have you considered acupuncture?

March 28, 2011 Providence Health Team

Accupuncture at Providence Regional Cancer SystemYou’ve seen it in the news, you’ve seen it on television, you may even know someone who knows someone who’s done it. What is it? Acupuncture.

And while it’s still relatively new in the U.S. (only about 200 years) it’s been used for thousands of years as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

So why should you try it?
I have personally treated patients diagnosed with cancer for:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Aches and pains
  • Anxiety
  • I have also been able to use acupuncture to help the newly diagnosed with insomnia and other sleep disorders.

But what really happens? Doesn’t it hurt?
Acupuncture is based on the idea that energy (qi) flows in channels (formally called meridians) through our bodies. TCM believes that qi, made up of two forces, yin and yang, can affect your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical condition “Yin and yang are opposite forces that work together to form a whole. The forces of yin and yang depend on each other and are made from each other in an unending cycle, such as hot and cold, day and night, and health and disease. Nothing is ever all yin or all yang, both exist in all things, including people. Many of the major organs of the body are believed to be yin-yang pairs that must be in balance to be healthy. When a person's yin and yang are not in balance, qi can become blocked. Blocked qi causes pain, illness, or other health problems.” Source.

Acupuncture needles are inserted at specific regions to access the qi. The biggest misconception is that an acupuncture needle is a normal needle … it’s not. The needles are about the size of a strand of hair, so small that instead of actually piercing the skin they just push apart the skin cells. Many of my patients report a soothing sensation as the treatment unfolds.

Does acupuncture really work?
In 1976 the FDA approved the acupuncture needle as a medical device. It’s important to note that acupuncture is meant to supplement your cancer treatment, not replace it. The best medicine is the type that’s going to work for you and, hopefully, improve your quality of life. Many people shy away from acupuncture because of the association of pain with needles. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned in this article I encourage you to give acupuncture a chance.

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