Acupuncture Can Aid in the Care of Breast Cancer
Patients diagnosed with breast cancer often suffer from stress generated by the diagnostic procedures. They face decisions about treatment options and the impact the diagnosis will have on their professional and personal lives. The stress can generate multiple biological changes that will cause physical and emotional systemic dysfunction.
Furthermore, surgeries, chemotherapies, and radiotherapies are standard intervention for these patients. These interventions mostly focus on battling the cancer itself, but they further compromise the human body systemically.
These complications manifest as side effects of treatment and include the following:
• Pain: the result of neuropathy, damaged tissues, or scar tissues
• Digestive dysfunction: nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, or constipation
• Endocrinological dysfunctions: hair loss, hot flashes, cold extremities, and low libido
• Mental and cognitive dysfunctions: anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor memory and concentration, and slower thinking process
• Hematological dysfunction: reduced blood counts, reduced lymphocytes
• Skeletal-muscular system: muscle pain, joint pain
• Nervous system: neuropathy, immunological dysfunction, symptoms: dry mouth
In an attempt to counteract these systemic side effects, some cancer patients use modalities that are considered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). They work to reduce the side effects listed above because many of these modalities focus on enhancing the function of the whole system. They often address both physical and emotional issues.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a perfect example of a type of CAM. Acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal therapies, Tui Na, Chi Gong (also called Qigong, exercises of chi and meditation), and dietary therapy are all therapeutic tools of traditional Chinese medicine. Among these tools, acupuncture is most widely used in the treatment of cancer patients in the West, while Chinese herbal remedies are often used in China today.
Acupuncture, Chinese herbal remedies and other TCM treatment tools are only effective if the patient’s chi abnormalities are thoroughly evaluated by utilizing all the theories of TCM: yin and yang, “wu xing” (also called Five Elements), chi, blood, essence, fluid, meridians, organs, and human and nature.
The treatment plan should include dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and exercises to strengthen chi, along with acupuncture treatments and intake of individually formulated herbs (which will change as the patient’s chi changes).
The TCM treatment for people with breast cancer can be used for multiple purposes: first to support the body’s physical and mental functions during the conventional therapies, second to reduce the adverse effects of conventional therapies, and third to maintain health and prevent recurrence of cancer and other illness in the future.
• Alleviate postsurgical pain and lymphedema
• Reduce hot flashes and night sweating
• Extremely helpful for counteracting chemo and radiation side effects such as nausea, vomiting and hair loss
• Chemo-related neuropathy
• Boost immune system and relieve chronic fatigue
• Decrease stress and anxiety, rebalance body and mind into a healthier level
Zhen Liu has over 23 years of experience as a Traditional Chinese Medical doctor. He graduated from Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in China in 1989, and he worked as a TCM doctor in Yanzhou Youhao hospital for 17 years. In 1993, he had an advanced clinical TCM training program in gynecology in Yueyang hospital of Shanghai University of TCM, Shanghai, China. From 2002 to 2005, he worked in the Emergency Room at the Yanshou Youhao hospital. In 2006, he moved to America. He has a diploma from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He is a licensed acupuncturist in Arizona and has worked in Arizona for over 5 years. He uses TCM techniques such as Acupuncture, electrical stimulation, auricular acupuncture (needles and seeds), moxabustion, tuina, guasha, herbs formula, and more.
At An Oasis of Healing we integrate scientifically validated, state-of-the-art medical cancer treatments with all the healing traditions that have withstood the test of time. The foundation that we use for integrating these modalities, alternative therapies and cancer treatments is a thorough and continual study with a reverence for nature. Even people with the same type of cancers, have unique requirements; therefore, everyone has a plan of care that is individualized.