Benefits of Acupuncture for People with Cancer
Acupuncture is still in its infancy when it comes to studies looking at benefits for cancer patients, but some reliable studies to date suggest that it may help with:
Perhaps the most research to date has been done to evaluate the effect of acupuncture on chemotherapy-induced nausea. According to the National Cancer Institute, there is strong evidence that acupuncture can relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. While some oncologists recommend avoiding acupuncture after chemotherapy due to an increased risk of infection, acupuncture may be done before a chemotherapy session to help prevent nausea.
Studies looking at pain control with acupuncture suggest that it may help with reducing the pain from cancer as well as from surgery. Though it usually does not replace pain medications, it may help reduce the amount of pain medications needed, and consequently some of the side effects of those pain medicines.
Reduced depression and anxiety
Preliminary studies have found that acupuncture may reduce both depression and anxiety in cancer patients.
Improved sleep. At least one study to date found that people with cancer who underwent acupuncture had an improvement in their quality of sleep.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
Acupuncture hasn’t been used widely for the annoying symptom of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, but one small study did show that people who underwent acupuncture had a lessened need for pain medications to control their symptoms.
Acupuncture may also have a positive influence on immune function in people with cancer. Whether this could, in turn, have a role in treating cancer is still speculation at this point in time.