Acupuncture is a meridian-based energy therapy largely practiced in China. In China, acupuncture can be used in place of anesthetic drugs. It may sound unbelievable, but in a BBC documentary, a women underwent open heart surgery with acupuncture instead of anesthesia. The Chinese surgeon explained that acupuncture does not have the general anesthesia health risks, recovery is quicker, and it is a third of the cost! (1)
Acupuncture used in China instead of general anesthesia!
A 2003 World Health Organization review and analysis reported that acupuncture impacts the body in the following ways.
- Stimulates electromagnetic signals that release immune system cells or pain-killing chemicals.
- Activates body’s opioid system that reduces pain and induces sleep.
- Stimulates hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
- Produces change in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones that influence brain chemistry. (1)
Acupuncture can be used to help manage depression, morning sickness, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, hypotension, knee pain, neck pain, headache, induction of labor, low back pain, malposition of fetus, and adverse reaction to chemotherapy. (1)
Acupuncture is useful in managing pain associated with cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and inflammation!
Past studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for managing pain related to cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and inflammation. It also helps increase blood cell production and enhances Natural Killer Cells that lead to increased immune response. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and the pain associated with swelling, and can also reduce the intensity and frequency of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy!(2)
A new study focuses on using acupuncture for women who experience hot flashes as a result of estrogen targeting therapies that are used to treat breast cancer. In the trial, 120 breast cancer survivors who reported multiple hot flashes per day were randomized into four interventions. For eight weeks, the participants received either gabapentin daily, gabapentin placebo daily, electroacupuncture twice per week for two weeks and then once daily, or “sham” electroacupuncture (for an unrelated condition). (3)
After eight-weeks, the subjects who received the electroacupuncture showed the greatest improvement in hot flash frequency and severity. The gabapentin group reported less improvement than the “sham” acupuncture group, and the placebo pill group came in last. (3)
Study shows electroacupuncture and “sham” electroacupuncture are more effective at treating hot flashes associated with estrogen targeting therapies than prescription gabapentin!
Besides hot flash support, if you dealing with chronic pain or symptoms in association with cancer or cancer treatment, consider looking up a certified acupuncturist and give acupuncture a try.