When it comes to cancer treatment, researchers are looking at opportunities to give patients better, more comprehensive health care and symptom management options. This is how the concept of integrative medicine came to the centre stage.
Integrative medicine refers to a practice that looks at the whole person and builds a relationship between healthcare practitioners and patients. It relies on a vast array of tools to deliver the desired results. Some of these tools include allopathic medicine, massage techniques, Chinese traditional medicine, lifestyle changes and acupuncture.
Is acupuncture and effective form of cancer therapy?
The following article will try to find the answer to this very important question.
There’s has been a plethora of clinical studies focusing on the use of acupuncture in cancer treatment for quite some time now. Some of the earliest research on the effectiveness of acupuncture dates back to as early as 1997.
For a start, acupuncture proves to be quite beneficial for the reduction of nausea and vomiting stemming from chemotherapy treatments. One of the prominent clinical trials in the field was presented in Minerva Medica in 2007. Researchers working with 100 volunteers saw a reduction in nausea and vomiting in 68 percent of the patients that underwent acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture analgesia is another possibility that can be used in the treatment of cancer. In this case, the aim of the therapy is to diminish the pain that patients experience.
A randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled study was carried out to test the analgesic effects of acupuncture, and the results were presented in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Pain levels were assessed two months after the treatment, and the intensity of aches had decreased by 36 percent. There was very little change for the patients on a placebo. This alone is a very convincing study. However, there always needs to be multiple studies carried out to find a conclusive answer to the effectiveness of such techniques.
Other Benefits of the Integrative Cancer Treatment Approach
Using acupuncture alongside a pharmaceutical cancer treatment can provide a range of additional advantages for the patient.
There is some evidence that acupuncture can minimise the medications needed to control the cancer symptoms (like pain, for example). As a result, the patients enjoy a higher quality of life because they’re not dealing with the side effects of potent pharmaceutical products as their bodies seem better able to handle the products.
Acupuncture, especially when in conjunction with diet changes, can also strengthen the immune response. The immunity of cancer patients is compromised because of chemotherapy while it plays a crucial role in dealing with the malignant formations typical of cancer.
While the strongest evidence does come from clinical trials focusing on the nausea relief that acupuncture delivers, researchers believe that the treatment could be beneficial in several additional ways. Needless to say, the treatment has to be administered by an experienced practitioner in order to deliver the desired results in cancer treatment.