Healthcare sectors around the world are increasingly making use of a combination of Western medical practices, modern medications, and ancient healing techniques originating from traditional Chinese medicine.
It is a new therapeutic trend known as complementary medicine or integrative medicine.
Conventional cancer treatment, which includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, is combined with complementary therapies to treat the side effects caused by these treatments and help improve the overall well-being of the patient.
Integrative oncology combines the best of conventional care and complementary therapies to control physical and emotional symptoms, improve the quality of life, and speed recovery for the cancer patient.
Acupuncture is one of these complementary medicine options that is often used in combination with conventional Western medicine to treat the cancer patient. Its role in the treatment of cancer includes:
● Supportive Treatment
● Symptom Management
● Preventive Care
Acupuncture can be used in all phases of cancer treatment.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health considers complementary medicine as a diverse set of medical and healthcare systems, practices that are not currently part of conventional Western medicine but can be used together to complement each other, with high-quality scientific data on their safety and efficacy.
For the patient prior to surgery, acupuncture promotes relaxation, avoids side effects, and relieves symptoms. The optimal time for treatment is two days before surgery.
After surgery, acupuncture helps control pain, decreases inflammation, helps prevent scar tissue contraction, and shortens recovery time.
RADIATION AND CHEMOTHERAPY
These two treatments are the standard in cancer therapy, as they are very effective in destroying cancer cells. Unfortunately, these treatments also destroy healthy cells in the skin, bone marrow, intestines, hair follicles, and reproductive system.
Acupuncture given the day before chemotherapy or radiation treatment can improve immune function and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. The following side effects of radiation and chemotherapy can be alleviated with acupuncture:
- Low white blood cell count
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Liver dysfunction
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Disposable stainless steel needles slightly thicker than a human hair are inserted in specific spots of the human body. The professional acupuncturist chooses the correct acupuncture points for the problem to be treated.
Once in place, needles are sometimes rotated, moved up and down at different speeds and depths, heated, or charged with a weak electrical current. All of these variations have an individualized effect based on the exact needs prescribed by the previous diagnosis.
Acupuncture works through combinations of points that have been shown to: increase antibodies, T-cell count, hemoglobin and red blood cells, white blood cell count (especially neutrophils), normalize irregular heart rhythm, regulate blood pressure, improve peristalsis of the esophagus and intestine, regulate stomach acid secretion and help stabilize peripheral nerve damage.
The effects of acupuncture are the same as those of strong painkillers since it modulates the sensory pain center in the brain. Added bonus, it favors neurotransmitters release such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR CANCER RELIEF AND SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT
Researchers are uncertain about the exact mechanism behind it, but they believe it may increase the effectiveness of the body's native pain-relieving chemicals.
Acupuncture point stimulation manages to release endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins and trigger chemical reactions that neutralize pain and promote well-being.
It can also increase cellular activity and modify the distribution of substances that regulate blood pressure and the stream. As a result, Traditional Chinese Medicine can help patients overcome fatigue and pain from treatment.
FIVE MOST COMPELLING USES OF ACUPUNCTURE IN CANCER PATIENTS, RESEARCH BACKED.
1. Relieves cancer pain
In a 2003 study by the National Cancer Institute in the United States, researchers found that acupuncture helped reduce the intensity of cancer pain among patients who underwent auricular acupuncture treatment. 
2. Eases post-chemotherapy fatigue
Acupuncture has great potential in the management of fatigue and lack of energy following chemotherapy, as it provides significant improvement in general exhaustion, activity, and motivation.
3. Helps counteract the symptoms of nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy.
Many of the drugs included in chemotherapy cause stomach discomfort, nausea, and vomiting in the patient. However, acupuncture touches many points of the body helping not only to reduce them but to eliminate them. 
4. Depression and anxiety
A recently published RCT reports that massage combined with acupuncture in postoperative cancer patients can improve the depressive mood of these patients when used in conjunction with usual care A short-lived improvement in tension and anxiety also was found in this study 
5. Acupuncture enhances the immune response
In the course of the oncologic disease, patients are in a state of immunosuppression that determines the course of the disease and the response to treatment.
Acupuncture enhances the immune response, especially the first line of defense mediated by natural killer cells. Experimental studies demonstrate an increase in both the number and activity of natural killer cells, significantly enhancing the cytotoxic response, which is clinically reflected in decreased tumor size and progression, and increased survival.
HOW LONG DOES A TREATMENT LAST AND HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD I GO TO THE ACUPUNCTURIST?
An acupuncture session has a duration of about half an hour that can be extended to a little more than an hour when the process of anamnesis or questioning the patient is performed.
The frequency is usually weekly and can be extended from 4 to 10 sessions, depending on the treatment to be performed. As it acts at a sum level of effects, a minimum of four sessions is recommended.
The benefit of acupuncture is 100%, because when performed by a medical specialist it has no significant side effects. The risk involved is minimal, zero, and the benefit is maximum
Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment Side Effects in Jacksonville, Florida
At our acupuncture clinic in Jacksonville, Florida we are near several major regional cancer centers including The Mayo Clinic, Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, Ackerman Cancer Center and the UF Proton Therapy Institute. We are pleased to offer support for patients undergoing cancer treatment at these and other facilities in our city. If you're looking for support with nausea, peripheral neuropathy, anxiety, insomnia, brain fog, stress reduction, fatigue and more, we are happy to assist you on your journey back to health.
 Alimi D, Rubino C, Pichard-Léandri E, Fermand-Brulé S, Dubreuil-Lemaire ML, Hill C. Analgesic effect of auricular acupuncture for cancer pain: a randomized, blinded, controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2003 Nov 15;21(22):4120-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2003.09.011. PMID: 14615440.
 Vickers AJ, Straus DJ, Fearon B, Cassileth BR. Acupuncture for postchemotherapy fatigue: a phase II study. J Clin Oncol. 2004 May 1;22(9):1731-5. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2004.04.102. PMID: 15117996.
 Roscoe JA, Morrow GR, Hickok JT, Bushunow P, Pierce HI, Flynn PJ, Kirshner JJ, Moore DF, Atkins JN. The efficacy of acupressure and acustimulation wrist bands for the relief of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. A University of Rochester Cancer Center Community Clinical Oncology Program multicenter study. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Aug;26(2):731-42. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(03)00254-9. PMID: 12906958.
 Gan TJ, Jiao KR, Zenn M, Georgiade G. A randomized controlled comparison of electro-acupoint stimulation or ondansetron versus placebo for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Anesth Analg. 2004 Oct;99(4):1070-1075. doi: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000130355.91214.9E. PMID: 15385352.
 Mehling WE, Jacobs B, Acree M, Wilson L, Bostrom A, West J, Acquah J, Burns B, Chapman J, Hecht FM. Symptom management with massage and acupuncture in postoperative cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007 Mar;33(3):258-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2006.09.016. PMID: 17349495.
We are pleased to serve the following communities in Florida with skilled and compassionate acupuncture care: Jacksonville, Orange Park, Fleming Island, Ponta Vedra, Nocatee, St. Johns, Jacksonville Beach and more.