Chinese Medicine Treatments for Cancer Bainbridge Island WA
Living Pain Free Through Chinese Medicine
by Heather Lounsbury, L.Ac.
Many people are surprised to hear that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are keys to improving health and quality of life for cancer patients. Acupuncture is great for treating and preventing pain, and it will help put an end to daily doses of ibuprofen and other pain medications. An added bonus is that there are no negative side effects.
Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and proper nutrition can help other cancer-related symptoms, as well as side effects of Western treatments, including nausea/vomiting, fatigue, weakened immunity, stress, anxiety, pain, bruising, post-operative swelling, hair loss, anemia, skin issues, hot flashes, digestive disorders, loss of appetite, and detoxification/elevated liver enzymes.
A lot of people ask me how acupuncture works in general and how it reduces pain. Acupuncture reduces inflammation, stimulates nerve conduction, increases blood circulation, releases endorphins, and relaxes muscle tightness and spasm.
Quite often, pain gets overlooked or undertreated because the focus is on treating the cancer. Many of my patients also frequently ask why so many cancer patients experience pain to varying degrees while others don’t experience any pain at all. The level of discomfort depends on many factors, such as the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s tolerance. Pain in cancer patients can result from the following:
-Tumor putting pressure on a nerve
Thirty percent of cancer patients experience pain, and up to 90 percent of patients with advanced cancer experience severe pain. As many as 50 percent of patients may be undertreated for cancer pain, yet not all cancer patients feel pain, and pain is rarely a sign of early cancer. No matter what the cause of discomfort, if you are experiencing pain, muscle tightness and spasms, numbness, and loss of muscle strength, acupuncture will help.
Cancers that are more typically painful include tumors of the bone and the organs of the abdomen. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemia or lymphoma, rarely cause any pain.
Pain can also increase due to the emotional stressors related to cancer or any chronic illness—fear, financial worries, or feelings of isolation. How a patient emotionally handles their illness and gets support does affect pain levels and threshold.
Studies at the National Institutes of Health on the benefits of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response and reduced pain levels. In one study, a majority of patients were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or reduce their dosages. Several clinical trials have shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomit...