By looking at the individual to develop a comprehensive wellness plan, Chinese medicine eases some of the day-to-day issues associated with a diagnosis of cancer. Side effects, emotional challenges, and every day stress are difficult to treat with pharmaceutical and western intervention alone. While undergoing surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or disease management Chinese medicine and acupuncture offers valuable integrative care.
Many studies in acupuncture and Chinese medicine show benefits such as boosting blood cell count, and enhancing lymphocyte and natural killer (NK) cell activity. Some commonly treated conditions are cancer pain, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and symptoms that disrupt quality of life – including weight loss, anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor appetite, hot flashes, and gastrointestinal issues.
In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture to evaluate its safety and efficacy. The panel stated that “there is clear evidence that needle acupuncture treatment is effective for postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting…. [There are] a number of other pain-related conditions for which acupuncture may be effective as an adjunct therapy, an acceptable alternative, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.”
Matthew Brookman works with people diagnosed with cancer to improve their wellness before, after, and during treatment. He is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology, Association of Integrative Oncology and Chinese Medicine, and participant in Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Acupuncture for the Cancer Patient workshop.