Acupuncture and oncology
1.2K views | +1 today
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Acupuncture Bedford!

5 Must Read Acupuncture Studies About Women’s Health

5 Must Read Acupuncture Studies About Women’s Health | Acupuncture and oncology |
5 Must Read Acupuncture Studies About Women's Health

2010 – The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a study which showed that acupuncture helped relieve pain and stiffness in breast cancer patients who were being treated with hormone therapies. Acupuncture has always been great for pain; chemo patients are one specific group who benefit.

2010 – A study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism found that electro-acupuncture treatments led to more regular menstrual cycles and reduced testosterone levels in women who had PCOS. In my Chicago acupuncture practice I find PCOS responds very well to TCM treatment.

2011- A Yale University/University of Pittsburgh study of women with hot flashes brought on by conventional breast cancer treatment showed that women who received acupuncture had a 30% reduction in hot flashes.

2012 – A Chinese study reported that acupuncture was more effective than Clomifene (better known as Clomid) for the treatment of infertility. It was a small study, using 65 women who were infertile because of problems with ovulation. They were divided into two  groups. One group received acupuncture treatment and the other group took the drug Clomid.  After 6 months, the acupuncture group had a cure rate of 76.3% while the group that took the conventional drugs had a cure rate of 48.1%.

2013 – Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology in Sweden published the results of a new study in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. Their study included thirty-two women with PCOS who were randomly chosen to receive either acupuncture with electrical stimulation or physical therapy. Researchers found that the acupuncture group had significantly reduced ovarian and adrenal sex steroid serum levels. They also concluded that repeated acupuncture treatments resulted in a higher ovulation frequency and was more effective than just physical therapy.

1) Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial Elizabeth Jedel , Fernand Labrie , Anders Odén , Göran Holm , Lars Nilsson , Per Olof Janson , Anna-Karin Lind , Claes Ohlsson , Elisabet Stener-Victorin American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and MetabolismPublished 1 January 2011Vol. 300no. E37-E45DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00495.2010

2) Randomized, blinded, sham-controlled trial of acupuncture for the management of aromatase inhibitor-associated joint symptoms in women with early-stage breast cancer. Crew KD, Capodice JL, Greenlee H, Brafman L, Fuentes D, Awad D, Yann Tsai W, Hershman DL. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 1;28(7):1154-60. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.4708. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

3) Menopausal Symptom Management With Acupuncture For Women With Breast Cancer. Cohen SM, Rousseau ME, Berg JA, Jolivet R, Dixon L, Vulte J, et al. WebmedCentral ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE 2011;2(2):WMC001544

4) The Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science, 2012, 10(2), R246.3. Teng Hui, Liu Yu-lei, Wang Jun-ling, Xie Ying. Dept. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenzhen Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital, Guangdong, China.

5) Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Johansson, Julia, et al. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism (2013).

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Non-hormonal interventions for hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer - The Cochrane Library - Rada - Wiley Online Library

Non-hormonal interventions for hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer - The Cochrane Library - Rada - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture and oncology |

Hot flushes are common in women with a history of breast cancer. Hormonal therapies are known to reduce these symptoms but are not recommended in women with a history of breast cancer due to their potential adverse effects. The efficacy of non-hormonal therapies is still uncertain.


To assess the efficacy of non-hormonal therapies in reducing hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group Specialised Register, CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library), MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, CINAHL, PsycINFO (August 2008) and WHO ICTRP Search Portal. We handsearched reference lists of reviews and included articles, reviewed conference proceedings and contacted experts.

Selection criteria

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing non-hormonal therapies with placebo or no therapy for reducing hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer.

Data collection and analysis

Two authors independently selected potentially relevant studies, decided upon their inclusion and extracted data on participant characteristics, interventions, outcomes and the risk of bias of included studies.

Main results

Sixteen RCTs met our inclusion criteria. We included six studies on selective serotonin (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine (SNRI) reuptake inhibitors, two on clonidine, one on gabapentin, two each on relaxation therapy and homeopathy, and one each on vitamin E, magnetic devices and acupuncture. The risk of bias of most studies was rated as low or moderate. Data on continuous outcomes were presented inconsistently among studies, which precluded the possibility of pooling the results. Three pharmacological treatments (SSRIs and SNRIs, clonidine and gabapentin) reduced the number and severity of hot flushes. One study assessing vitamin E did not show any beneficial effect. One of two studies on relaxation therapy showed a significant benefit. None of the other non-pharmacological therapies had a significant benefit. Side-effects were inconsistently reported.

Authors' conclusions

Clonidine, SSRIs and SNRIs, gabapentin and relaxation therapy showed a mild to moderate effect on reducing hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

NCI’s Annual Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine(CAM)- OCCAM Electroacupuncture May Counter Patients’ Nausea After Chemotherapy NCI CAM Annual Report-FY10

NCI’s Annual Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine(CAM)- OCCAM  Electroacupuncture May Counter Patients’ Nausea After Chemotherapy  NCI CAM Annual Report-FY10 | Acupuncture and oncology |

Electroacupuncture May Counter Patients’ Nausea After ChemotherapyNCI CAM Annual Report-FY10

Many cancers are treated with chemotherapy agents that circulate throughout the body. When the drugs reach organs and tissues not affected by cancer, they can cause adverse side effects. Among the most prevalent and troublesome side effects are nausea and vomiting, though recently a new class of molecules – known as 5HT3 agonists, and used in combination with corticosteroid dexamethasone pills – have been found to help reduce or even prevent these symptoms.

“But those drugs [5HT3 agonists] work effectively only against what we call acute-onset nausea and vomiting,” said Dr. Jiande Chen, Ph.D., professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “Once you get past the first day, many patients suffer from delayed nausea and vomiting, which is really a differ­ent problem altogether, can last for many hours or several days, and is much more difficult to treat.” Patients with advanced cancer can also develop chronic nausea symptoms.

Older patients and others can wear down from the rigors of chemotherapy and many are reluctant to add yet another medication to their treatment regimen, especially if it is supposed to counter symptoms that were caused by medi­cation in the first place. For example, with a drug like cisplatin, “it is not uncommon to find patients choosing to discontinue chemotherapy altogether – even when it is effectively treating their cancer – in order to avoid these debilitat­ing side effects,” explained Dr. Chen.

In China, there is widespread use and accep­tance of acupuncture to treat nausea. “It is encouraging to find more and more practitio­ners and patients in the United States willing to accept this therapy,” he said. Acupuncture relies on the stimulation of very precise points on the body located beneath the skin. Each of these “acupoints” is associated with pain or other symptoms at a specific, usually distant, site in the body. After several thousand years of use, acupuncture practitioners have been able to develop detailed “body maps” for these points. Two of the acupoints that inhibit nausea and vomiting have been found to be PC6 – a few inches above the inside of the wrist – and ST36 – slightly below and behind the knee, Dr. Chen explained. In previous studies, needles inserted at these points and then manually ma­nipulated have produced some results, but they were only partial responses, and worked only against acute vomiting after chemotherapy.

Dr. Chen believes those mixed results were due, not to any limits in acupuncture per se, but rather to how it has been applied. With NCI funding*, Dr. Chen and his colleagues have been testing electroacupuncture (EA), to see if it is even more effective than traditional acupuncture against chemotherapy-induced nausea. Electroacupuncture is a procedure in which pulses of weak electrical current are sent through acupuncture needles into acupuncture points in the skin. Using rats and dogs, their current study is testing the precise location and depth the acupuncture stimulation should be applied; whether to use EA before or after chemotherapy, or both; whether the regimens should be continuous; and also the frequency and intervals of the electric pulses themselves.

The researchers are working on several aspects of EA that would be important in delivering therapy to patients for whom current anti-emetics (drugs to counter nausea and vomit­ing) are not working. That group potentially includes the majority of patients with delayed or chronic nausea and vomiting.

Dr. Chen believes that a successful series of experiments with the EA approach could have a major impact on treating symptoms that threaten the quality of life of cancer patients. “This EA therapy has no discernible side effects on the patient, and therefore we can give it chronically, as necessary, to respond to symp­toms,” he added. Dr. Chen and his colleagues are also testing a system where a small power stimulator is implanted in the abdomen of the experimental animals, with conducting wires leading under the skin to electrodes that have been carefully inserted at the acupoints. The researchers will be able to trigger the EA stimu­lation by an external transmitter, but ultimately Dr. Chen foresees a time when patients will be able to control a similar system themselves.

*Grant number: 1R21CA149956-01


No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture for treating hot flashes in breast cancer patients: a systematic review

Acupuncture for treating hot flashes in breast cancer patients: a systematic review | Acupuncture and oncology |

Acupuncture for treating hot flashes in breast cancer patients: a systematic reviewLee MS, Kim KH, Choi SM, Ernst E  CRD summary

The authors concluded that randomised controlled trials failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes. The authors’ conclusion represented the evidence presented. However, given the lack of clarity on how studies were selected for inclusion, the conclusion should be interpreted with some caution.

Authors' objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes in patients with breast cancer.


MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Korean Studies Information, DBPIA, KISTI, KoreaMed and Research Information Centre for Health Database, China Academic Journal, Century Journal Project, China Doctor/Master Dissertation Full Text database and China Proceedings Conference Full Text Database were searched from inception until August 2008. The Cochrane Library 2008, Volume 3 was searched. Search terms were reported. Authors’ files and the journal FACT (Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies) were handsearched. Searches were performed with no language restriction.

Study selection

Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with breast cancer who had needle acupuncture with or without electrical stimulation for the treatment of hot flashes. Trials were included if they used needle acupuncture solely or as an adjunct to other treatments and if the control group and acupuncture group received the same concomitant therapy. Trials that used other forms of acupuncture (such as laser acupuncture or moxibustion), that compared different forms of acupuncture and in which there were no clinical data were excluded from the review.

Comparator interventions included: sham acupuncture, hormone therapy, venlafaxine and applied relaxation. Acupuncture points (fixed and bilateral), number of sessions and number of people who administered acupuncture varied between studies.

In all studies, frequency of hot flashes was recorded in a diary/logbook. Adverse events were recorded in some studies.

The authors stated neither how the studies were selected for inclusion in the review nor how many reviewers performed the selection.

Assessment of study quality

Study quality was assessed using a modified Jadad Scale to assess randomisation, blinding and withdrawals; the scale ranged from 0 to 5. The authors stated that as it was impossible to blind patients and therapists to acupuncture; one point was given for blinding if the assessor was blind.

Two reviewers performed the study quality assessment. Any disagreements were resolved by a third reviewer.

Data extraction

Data were extracted in order to calculate mean differences and 95% confidence in intervals (CI) of frequency of hot flashes post and during treatment compared with baseline.

Two reviewers performed data extraction. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion or the involvement of a third reviewer, where necessary.

Methods of synthesis

Weighted mean differences (WMD) and their 95% CIs of manual versus sham acupuncture were combined in a meta-analysis. The authors did not state whether a fixed-effect or random-effects model was used. Heterogeneity was assessed using the X2 and I2 tests. Acupuncture versus hormone replacement therapy (HRT), venlafaxine and applied relaxation were analysed in a narrative form.

Results of the review

Six RCTs (n=281 participants) were included in the review. Follow-up ranged from four weeks to 24 months. Randomisation and drop-outs were adequately described in four RCTs and allocation and blinding was adequately reported in three RCTs. Jadad scores ranged from 1 to 5.

Three RCTs (n= 189 participants) of manual versus sham acupuncture were combined in a meta-analysis. There was a suggestion that acupuncture had a favourable effect on reducing the frequency of hot flashes after treatment compared with sham acupuncture (WMD 3.09, 95% CI -0.04 to 6.23). There was statistically significant heterogeneity (I2=76%). There was a statistically significant reduction in the mean frequency of hot flashes during the treatment in patients who received acupuncture compared with those who received sham acupuncture (WMD 1.0, 95% CI 0.10 to 3.71). There was evidence of modest heterogeneity (I2=28%).

One RCT compared electroacupuncture to HRT and found that HRT was more effective at reducing hot flashes than electroacupuncture (no data provided). One RCT compared acupuncture with venlafaxine and another compared acupuncture to applied relaxation. Both RCTs found that there was no statistically significant difference between acupuncture and the respective comparator treatments (no data provided). Mild and infrequent adverse effects (unspecified) of acupuncture were reported for both real and sham acupuncture.

Authors' conclusions

RCTs failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes.

CRD commentary

The review addressed a clear research question and was supported by detailed inclusion criteria. The search strategy was comprehensive with a number of databases searched, attempts to locate unpublished material and with no language restriction, which reduced the possibility of language and publication bias. Study quality criteria were appropriate for the included study design. Given the presence of heterogeneity and lack of details as to whether a random-effects or fixed-effect model was used, it was unclear whether the methods of synthesis were appropriate. Sufficient attempts were made to reduce reviewer error and bias in the processes of quality assessment and data extraction; it was unclear whether this also applied to the selection of studies. Individual study details were adequately reported. The authors’ conclusion that RCTs failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes represented the evidence presented. However, given the lack of clarity on how studies were selected for inclusion, the conclusion should be interpreted with some caution.

Implications of the review for practice and research

Practice: The authors did not state any implications for practice.

Research: The authors stated that further research was required to investigate whether there were specific benefits of acupuncture treating hot flashes in patients with breast cancer.


Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Meridian Research Project (K08010) of the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine.

Bibliographic detailsLee MS, Kim KH, Choi SM, Ernst E. Acupuncture for treating hot flashes in breast cancer patients: a systematic review. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2009; 115(3): 497-503PubMedID18982444DOI10.1007/s10549-008-0230-zOriginal Paper URL indexing assigned by NLMMeSHAcupuncture Therapy; Breast Neoplasms /therapy; Female; Hot Flashes /therapy; Humans; Randomized Controlled Trials as TopicAccessionNumber12009106413Date bibliographic record published11/11/2009Date abstract record published24/03/2010Record Status

This is a critical abstract of a systematic review that meets the criteria for inclusion on DARE. Each critical abstract contains a brief summary of the review methods, results and conclusions followed by a detailed critical assessment on the reliability of the review and the conclusions drawn.


No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Lung Cancer - Surgery: Healthwise Medical Information on eMedicineHealth

Lung Cancer - Surgery: Healthwise Medical Information on eMedicineHealth | Acupuncture and oncology |
Learn about Lung Cancer. Includes overview, cause, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, exams and tests, prevention, and medications.


Complementary therapies

People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments. Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include:

Acupuncture to relieve pain.[...]

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture: Potential reduction in cancer treatment nerve pain side effects.  - the Classical Medicine Journal - Health, Medicine, And Breaking News on the Alternative Treatment Front.

Acupuncture: Potential reduction in cancer treatment nerve pain side effects.  - the Classical Medicine Journal - Health, Medicine, And Breaking News on the Alternative Treatment Front. | Acupuncture and oncology |
Acupuncture: Potential reduction in cancer treatment nerve pain side effects. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2011 AT 12:59PM

Acupuncture could reduce severe nerve pain experienced as a result of cancer treatment, according to a new study.

Research published in the Acupuncture and Medicine journal suggested that patients who undergo treatment with drugs such as taxanes, vinca alkaloids or platinum compounds can often develop chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which damages nerves in the calves and feet and could lead to sharp pains as a result.

In a study of 11 patients experiencing the peripheral neuropathy, six had acupuncture sessions and commented that the intensity of the nerve signalling improved and pain lessened. In comparison, those who did not receive any acupuncture treatment felt the same.

Authors of the study said: "The data suggest that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN, as measured by objective parameters [nerve conduction studies]." "The...results were similar to those who suffered nerve damage as a result of diabetes and also patients with CIPN from an unknown cause." 

The National Cancer Institute Cancer Bulletin has reported that around 30 to 40 per cent of cancer patients treated with chemotherapy experience CIPN.


No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Long-term follow-up of acupuncture and hormone therapy on hot flushes in women with breast cancer: a prospective, randomized, controlled multicenter trial, Climacteric, Informa Healthcare

Long-term follow-up of acupuncture and hormone therapy on hot flushes in women with breast cancer: a prospective, randomized, controlled multicenter trial, Climacteric, Informa Healthcare | Acupuncture and oncology |


Original Article

Long-term follow-up of acupuncture and hormone therapy on hot flushes in women with breast cancer: a prospective, randomized, controlled multicenter trial


2008, Vol. 11, No. 2 , Pages 166-174

Dr J. Frisk1,3†, S. Carlhäll1, A.-C. Källström3, L. Lindh-Åstrand1, A. Malmström2 and M. Hammar11Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences2Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Linköping3Department of Surgery, County Council Östergötland, Sweden†Correspondence: DrJ. Frisk, Division of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Hospital, SE-581 85, Linköping, Sweden



Objective To evaluate the effects of electro-acupuncture (EA) and hormone therapy (HT) on vasomotor symptoms in women with a history of breast cancer.

Methods Forty-five women were randomized to EA (n = 27) for 12 weeks or HT (n = 18) for 24 months. The number of and distress caused by hot flushes were registered daily before, during and up to 24 months after start of treatment.

Results In 19 women who completed 12 weeks of EA, the median number of hot flushes/24 h decreased from 9.6 (interquartile range (IQR) 6.6–9.9) at baseline to 4.3 (IQR 1.0–7.1) at 12 weeks of treatment (p < 0.001). At 12 months after start of treatment, 14 women with only the initial 12 weeks of EA had a median number of flushes/24 h of 4.9 (IQR 1.8–7.3), and at 24 months seven women with no other treatment than EA had 2.1 (IQR 1.6–2.8) flushes/24 h. Another five women had a decreased number of flushes after having additional EA. The 18 women with HT had a baseline median number of flushes/24 h of 6.6 (IQR 4.0–8.9), and 0.0 (IQR 0.0–1.6; p = 0.001) at 12 weeks.

Conclusion Electro-acupuncture is a possible treatment of vasomotor symptoms for women with breast cancer and should be further studied for this group of women.

KeywordsAcupuncture, Breast Neoplasms, Hot Flushes, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Menopause

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Study finds acupuncture can prevent radiation-induced chronic dry mouth

Study finds acupuncture can prevent radiation-induced chronic dry mouth | Acupuncture and oncology |

When given alongside radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, acupuncture has shown for the first time to reduce the debilitating side effect of xerostomia, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center.

The study, published in the journal Cancer, reported findings from the first randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for the prevention of xerostomia.

Xerostomia, or severe dry mouth, is characterized by reduced salivary flow, which commonly affects patients receiving radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Most current treatments are palliative and offer limited benefit, according to Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson's Departments of General Oncology and Behavioral Science and director of the Integrative Medicine Program.


The condition impairs quality of life for patients, as it creates difficulties eating, speaking and sleeping, while also increasing the risk for oral infections.

"There have been a number of small studies examining the benefits of acupuncture after xerostomia develops, but no one previously examined if it could prevent xerostomia," said Cohen, who is also the study's principal investigator. "We found incorporating acupuncture alongside radiotherapy diminished the incidence and severity of this side effect."

Cohen and his colleagues examined 86 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, treated at Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center. Forty patients were randomized to acupuncture and 46 to the standard of care. Those in the treatment arm received acupuncture therapy three times per week during the seven-week course of radiotherapy. Patients were evaluated before radiotherapy, weekly during radiotherapy, and then again one and six months later.

The results were based on data derived from two self-report questionnaires and measuring actual saliva flow. Patients completed the Xerostomia Questionnaire (XQ), an eight-item survey which assessed symptoms consistent with the condition. XQ scores under 30 corresponded to mild or no symptoms of xerostomia.

The second measure, MD Anderson Symptom Inventory Head and Neck (MDASI-HN), ranked the severity of cancer-related symptoms, other than xerostomia, and their interference with quality of life. The team also measured saliva flow rates using standardized sialometry collection techniques.

Benefits Noticed Quickly

"What was quite remarkable was that we started to see group differences as early as three weeks into radiotherapy for the development of xerostomia, cancer-related symptoms that interfere with quality of life, and saliva flow rates - an important objective measure," said Zhiqiang Meng, M.D., Ph.D., co-principle investigator of the study and deputy chair of the Department of Integrative Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center.

The largest group differences in XQ scores were seen by the end of radiotherapy, but the differences persisted over time. By one month after the end of radiotherapy, 54.3 percent of the acupuncture group reported XQ scores greater than 30, compared to the control group at 86.1 percent. By six months after radiotherapy, the numbers dropped to 24.1 percent in the acupuncture group and 63.6 percent of the control group still reporting symptoms of xerostomia. Saliva flow rates were also greater in the acupuncture group, starting at three weeks into radiotherapy and persisting through the one and six month follow-up.

Acupuncture also helped cancer-related symptoms, other than xerostomia, as measured by the MDASI-HN questionnaire, with differences that emerged in week three and continued through six months.

"The medical implications are quite profound in terms of quality of life, because while chronic dry mouth may sound benign, it has a significant impact on sleeping, eating and speaking," Cohen said. "Without saliva, there can be an increase in microbial growth, possible bone infection and irreversible nutritional deficits."

Additional studies are needed to determine the mechanisms for the benefits of acupuncture, and while the study didn't examine this issue, Cohen said it may have an impact on local blood flux, specifically at the parotid gland.

Further research is planned, including a large trial conducted at MD Anderson in collaboration with Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center. Both centers will enroll 150 patients undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer: 50 will receive acupuncture, 50 sham acupuncture and 50 will be enrolled in a control group. Researchers will also examine saliva constituents and a number of other measures to better determine the mechanisms of acupuncture.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Acupuncture Clinic!

Study finds acupuncture benefits for range of cancer related symptoms | University of Western Sydney (UWS)

Study finds acupuncture benefits for range of cancer related symptoms | University of Western Sydney (UWS) | Acupuncture and oncology |

 Study finds acupuncture benefits for range of cancer related symptoms


Cancer patients could benefit from acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine, according to an expert presenting at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia(opens in new window) Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne.

Dr Xiaoshu Zhu, from the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, has reviewed evidence that suggests acupuncture can help with cancer symptoms including pain, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, hot flushes and numbness.

Dr Zhu says that while more research was needed into the mechanisms behind the effectiveness, it was thought to relate to sending signals to the central nervous system, activating neurological and hormonal responses in the brain.

"In the past, complementary Chinese medicine such as acupuncture hasn't been recommended or researched by conventional medical practitioners involved in cancer care," says Dr Zhu. "I want to challenge this view by presenting a range of evidence that demonstrates that acupuncture has a valuable role to play in patient care."

Dr Zhu, who is also the Director of the Chinese Medicine Academic Program in the UWSSchool of Science and Health, is currently working with researchers at the South West Sydney Local Health District Cancer Services exploring evidenced based approaches with integration of complementary therapies in cancer survivorship.


5 December 2014

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Acupuncture Clinic!

Acupuncture, Exercise May Ease Pain for Breast Cancer Patients – WebMD

Acupuncture, Exercise May Ease Pain for Breast Cancer Patients – WebMD | Acupuncture and oncology |
Acupuncture, Exercise May Ease Breast Cancer PainTreatment-related discomfort, swelling helped by the approaches, studies find

Share this:

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Kathleen Doheny

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients who experience pain and swelling related to their treatment may find relief in acupuncture and exercise, new research suggests.

In one study, acupuncture helped reduce joint pain by up to 40 percent, said study author Dr. Jun Mao, director of the integrative oncology program at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

And it didn't matter if people thought it would work or not, he found.

While other studies have found acupuncture is effective for a variety of symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue and sleeping difficulties, Mao wanted to see the role a person's expectations of the treatment would have.

He studied 41 breast cancer survivors, assigning them to a sham acupuncture group or an electroacupuncture group, and compared them to a "control group" that got neither treatment. Electroacupuncture uses a small electrical current passed between two pairs of acupuncture needles to stimulate certain points on the body. The women did not know whether they were getting the real treatment or the sham one.

The women had stiffness or joint pain, which are common side effects when taking aromatase inhibitors, a hormonal therapy used to help treat breast cancer.

"What we found is in the real acupuncture, the response was not dependent on whether the patient believed acupuncture to work or not," Mao said. "However, in the sham group, the response seemed to be driven by the higher expectation of acupuncture to work."

Those in the real acupuncture group had a consistent level of pain reduction, Mao said. In the sham group, if there was a low expectation, no change in pain was reported. "For those [in the sham group] with extremely high expectations, their effect was as strong as 80 percent," he said.

Pain relief from real acupuncture is often dismissed as a "placebo effect," Mao explained. "Our results demonstrate the opposite," he said. In real acupuncture, expectation plays no role in pain reduction. "The real acupuncture group, regardless of expectation, everyone had about a 40 percent reduction in pain," he said. A decline of 30 percent or higher is viewed as meaningful, he added.

What this means, Mao said, is that "real acupuncture will work for anyone, whether you believe it or not."

The study is published in the November issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs.

In the same journal, University of Pennsylvania researchers looked at how a community-based exercise program could help women affected by lymphedema (a swelling of the limbs), muscle problems and decreased body image that can occur after breast cancer.

In a previous study, the researchers had found the program worked in a research setting. But, they wanted to test it in a community setting. The program is administered by physical therapists and included a group-based exercise class and a program for patients to continue at home or at the gym.



In all, 67 breast cancer patients completed measurements of the effects after a year. These participants had improvements in symptoms, body image and muscular strength. The results in the community setting were similar to those that were found in the research setting.

However, the researchers did note issues that were encountered in getting the program operational, including payments, the need for advocates and how to get patients referred so it would be covered by insurance.

The acupuncture study is a solid piece of research, said Leslie Bernstein, director of cancer etiology at the City of Hope Cancer Center, in Duarte, Calif.

However, she said, it's important to point out that acupuncture won't work for everyone. "But, on average, it will work," she said, based on the study results.

The exercise study showed the challenges that come with taking a program that's been tested and found effective in research settings and putting it into practice, Bernstein added. "It highlighted the issues that one would meet in what works as an intervention, and taking that into the community."

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Children with Cancer UK | Complementary therapy, including Acupuncture

Children with Cancer UK | Complementary therapy, including Acupuncture | Acupuncture and oncology |

National children's charity funding research, welfare and campaigning projects to help children with all types of cancer. Find information about childrens cancers and fundraising, or make a donation.



Complementary therapy



Complementary therapies are thought to be used by up to a third of cancer sufferers. These therapies may be used alongside the conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, not as an alternative. 

Complementary therapies are generally used to help with the symptoms of disease and the side effects of treatment. Side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue and pain are well known but depression and anxiety are also very common and complementary therapies can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. 

Some cancer centres offer complementary therapies directly. Some patients will need to seek independent practitioners; in all cases it is advisable to seek advice from your child’s doctor. Some complementary therapies may actually interfere with conventional treatments. 

Types of complementary therapies
There is a wide range of complementary therapies, but they can be broadly categorised as follows. Some of these categories overlap.

Alternative medical systems, such as acupuncture, homeopathy and Chinese medicine.Complex natural products, such as botanicals, and green tea.Energy therapies, such as Qi Gong, Reiki, therapeutic touch and magnet therapy.Exercise therapies, such as Tai Chi, yoga, and dance therapy.Manipulative therapies, such as chiropractic, massage, osteopathy and reflexology.Mind therapies, such as aromatherapy, art therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, imagery, mindfulness and meditation.Nutritional therapies, such as anti-oxidants, macrobiotics and vitamins.Spiritual therapies, such as prayer and healing.

Examples of complementary therapies and their use
This involves using needles that stimulate anatomic points in the skin, causing energy to pass along paths in the body called meridians. This can help a person’s mental and physical health. 

The therapist needs formal training, regulated by the British Acupuncture Council. Acupuncture is NOT an effective treatment for cancer on its own, however it can relieve pain, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is generally considered safe but should be avoided in certain conditions, such as skin that has been radiated, infected skin, those with low platelets or on anti-coagulants.

Visit the British Acupuncture Council for further information 

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

UT MD Anderson receives grant for study of acupuncture in cancer

UT MD Anderson receives grant for study of acupuncture in cancer | Acupuncture and oncology |

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded a grant to study whether xerostomia, a debilitating side effect caused by head and neck cancer radiation treatment, can be prevented when acupuncture is part of a patient's treatment regimen.

The $2.7 million grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the study of acupuncture in cancer received a perfect score from peer scientists evaluating grant proposals for NCI.

Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson's Departments of General Oncology and Behavioral Science, received the funding. The research is in collaboration with MD Anderson's Sister Institution, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, in Shanghai, China.


Cohen estimates that xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, affects more than 80 percent of head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation. The side effect can be debilitating for a patient's quality of life, making it difficult to speak, eat, sleep and often results in taste changes.

"Saliva helps keep the oral cavity sterile and healthy," said Cohen, who also is the director of MD Anderson's Integrative Medicine Program. "It's the initial step in food digestion, meaning patients with xerostomia may not be getting appropriate nutritional absorption from foods if they don't have enough saliva to help the process," said Cohen.

Acupuncture, which derives from traditional Chinese medicine, has been practiced around the world for thousands of years, and is used to relieve pain, treat infertility, and a host of other medical conditions. MD Anderson has offered acupuncture, when appropriate, to patients for pain or other cancer or treatment-related symptoms since 2004.

Numerous small studies suggest that acupuncture helps to treat radiation-induced xerostomia; however, none has examined its use to prevent the development of xerostomia.

"Previous studies, including research conducted at MD Anderson, examined acupuncture to treat xerostomia after it developed," explained Cohen. "Our new research is unique because we're incorporating acupuncture during radiation to see if we can prevent the condition in the first place and, should it develop, to try to diminish the severity."

The Phase III randomized clinical trial will enroll 300 head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation treatment at either Shanghai Cancer Center or MD Anderson. Those enrolled in Shanghai will have nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a malignancy much less common in the United States.


Prior to undergoing radiation, patients will be randomized to receive either acupuncture (needles inserted at appropriate, selected points), sham acupuncture (real and placebo needles inserted at inactive points), or standard care. Subjective and objective assessments of xerostomia will be collected prior to, during and at the completion of therapy, as well at three, six and 12 months post-radiation.

"Our goals are to determine if true acupuncture effectively prevents radiation-induced xerostomia, diminishes symptoms in those who have the condition, as well as determine if quality of life improves," said Cohen. "Importantly, we'll also try to understand the mechanisms behind acupuncture that help treat and prevent the condition. We'll look at salivary constituents to see if anything specific changes the saliva - perhaps in terms of different proteins -- to see why patients' saliva flow increases due to acupuncture."

Read more at:

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN): a pilot study using neurography -- Schroeder et al. 30 (1): 4 -- Acupuncture in Medicine

Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN): a pilot study using neurography -- Schroeder et al. 30 (1): 4 -- Acupuncture in Medicine | Acupuncture and oncology |

Home > Volume 30, Issue 1 > ArticleAcupunct Med 2012;30:4-7 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2011-010034Original papersAcupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN): a pilot study using neurographySven Schroeder1,2, Gesa Meyer-Hamme1, Susanne Epplée1

+Author Affiliations

1HanseMerkur Center for TCM at the University Medical Centre, Hamburg, Germany2Department of Neurophysiology, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Porto, PortugalCorrespondence toSven Schroeder, HanseMerkur Centre for TCM at the University Medical Center, UKE-Campus, House O55, Martinistrasse 52, 20246, Hamburg, Germany;

Contributors SS designed data collection tools, monitored data collection for the whole trial, wrote the statistical analysis plan, cleaned and analysed the data and drafted and revised the paper. MH-G analysed the data and drafted and revised the paper. ES monitored data collection and revised the draft paper.

Received 22 May 2011Accepted 11 October 2011Published Online First 5 December 2011Abstract

Objectives Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can produce severe neurological deficits and neuropathic pain and is a potential reason for terminating or suspending chemotherapy treatments. Specific and effective curative treatments are lacking.

Methods A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on CIPN as measured by changes in nerve conduction studies (NCS) in six patients treated with acupuncture for 10 weeks in addition to best medical care and five control patients who received the best medical care but no specific treatment for CIPN.

Results In five of the six patients treated with acupuncture, NCS improved after treatment. In the control group, three of five patients did not show any difference in NCS, one patient improved and one showed impaired NCS.

Conclusion The data suggest that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN. The encouraging results of this pilot study justify a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture in CIPN on the basis of NCS.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) involves damage to the peripheral nervous system and can produce severe neuropathic pain or gait impairment and may be a reason to terminate or suspend chemotherapy treatments. Specific and effective curative treatments are lacking. The major groups of drugs that induce CIPN include the taxanes, vinca alkaloids and platinum compounds. The incidence of CIPN is high and can reach levels of up to 92%.1

Publications in English language journals on acupuncture as a symptomatic treatment for CIPN have been limited to only a few case studies, all of which report an improvement in symptoms.2 3 A Chinese study described acupuncture as more effective than cobamamide for the treatment of sensory symptoms in paclitaxel-induced CIPN.4

We conducted a pilot study in 2006 in 192 patients with peripheral neuropathy diagnosed on the basis of nerve conduction studies (NCS). Patients were evaluated over a period of 1 year, measured by NCS. The aim of this non-randomised non-blinded study was to determine whether there is evidence of effective treatment of peripheral neuropathy (PN) with acupuncture assessed by objective measurements and whether further prospective studies on the basis of the above criteria are warranted. We have previously published data on the treatment of PN of unknown aetiology and diabetic neuropathy with acupuncture, and found an improvement in NCS in 76% of patients after a treatment period of 10 weeks, one treatment per week.5 6 In this paper we report our results in patients with CIPN.


A total of 192 consecutive patients with PN of the lower extremities were diagnosed by NCS and treated in a neurologist's outpatient clinic for a period of 1 year. Patients with PN confirmed by neurological examination and NCS were included in the study. Patients with alcohol abuse, drug usage, a history of diabetes, toxic drugs (except a history of chemotherapy) or inflammatory disease documented as underlying causes for PN were excluded from the study. This was confirmed by standard screening.5

Of this group, 11 patients had developed symptoms of PN during the course of chemotherapy and were identified as having CIPN. Chemotherapy had been given for different types of cancer (table 1).

View this table: In this window In a new windowTable 1

Cancer types and chemotherapy of patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy


Acupuncture treatment was offered to all the patients with CIPN. Six patients agreed to receive acupuncture treatment and five refused owing to personal inconvenience of the appointments offered. These five patients (four men, one woman) of mean age 65 years who received the best medical care but no specific treatment for PN thus served as a control group. Six patients (three men, three women) of mean age 64 years received the best medical care and additionally were treated with acupuncture for PN of the lower extremities. Patients in both groups did not receive any other treatment for PN except stable doses of carbamazepine or pregabalin during the observation period. The characteristics of the acupuncture and control groups are shown in table 1.

Measurements of nerve conduction velocity (NCV) were performed with a Neuropack-Sigma, MEB-9400, EMG/NCV/EP-System (Nihon-Khoden, Tokyo, Japan). The amplitudes of the motor and sensory responses were measured to the first negative peak. All studies of NCV were done at room temperature (22–24°C). Skin temperature was measured at the sites of sensory nerve measurements and values were analysed, adjusting for the effects of temperature. Follow-up NCS data were collected after a period of 6 months (±2 weeks) by examination of the sural and tibial nerves in the same calf as in the initial assessment. Standard orthodromic needle recording methods were used for sural nerve assessment while standard surface recording methods were used for tibial nerve recordings.7 8 A change in NCV in the sural nerve of 2 m/s slower or faster than the initial measurement was considered significant. A change in the amplitude of the sensory nerve action potential of more than 2 µV was defined as a significant impairment or improvement in the sural nerve.

The patients were asked at the time of the second NCS to tick one box to indicate whether their condition had improved, worsened or remained unchanged.

Acupuncture treatment was based on a neurophysiologcial approach to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory.9 Point selection followed the training curriculum at the TCM-Master Education at the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Portugal. The specific acupuncture protocols employed in this study are described below, point location and depth of insertion were as described in standard textbooks10 and disposable sterile steel needles of 0.30×30 mm were used and left in place for 20 min to a depth of 10–30 mm. Each patient received a standard 10-week treatment of the ST34 (Liangqiu) as well as the five extra points EX–LE12 (Qiduan) and the four extra points EX–LE8 (Bafeng). The needles were inserted bilaterally. Twenty needles were inserted per session. Needle stimulation techniques were not used. We did not employ manipulation in order to elicit a de qi sensation. Acupuncture was performed in all cases by the same senior physician who had received >1000 h of acupuncture training before participating in the trial and had used acupuncture for 20 years. The six patients in the acupuncture group were examined by NCS 2–21 months (mean 10.3) after chemotherapy. NCS was performed before treatment and again 6 months later (ie, 3 months (±2 weeks) after the end of treatment).

The five patients in the control group were examined by NCS 1–14 months (mean 10.8) after chemotherapy and routinely again at 6 months.


All six patients in the acupuncture group had hypoesthesia in a stocking distribution;three had additional neuropathic pain. There was no clinical motor involvement and no motor involvement in NCS. NCS showed mixed damage of the axon and the myelin sheath of the sensory sural nerve in all six acupuncture-treated patients. All five patients in the control group had hypoesthesia in a stocking contribution; three had additional neuropathic pain. There was no clinical motor involvement and no motor involvement in NCS. NCS revealed mixed damage to the axon and myelin sheath of the sensitive sural nerve in two patients in the control group while three had pure axonopathy. The results of the NCS of the sural nerve as well as the subjective outcomes are shown in table 2. A comparison of the mean values for the two groups is shown in table 3.

View this table: In this window In a new windowTable 2

Nerve conduction studies of the sural nerve and subjective outcome in acupuncture-treated and control groups

 View this table: In this window In a new windowTable 3

Mean (SD) differences in nerve conduction studies of the sural nerve in acupuncture-treated and control groups


This pilot study shows improvement in NCS after acupuncture treatment in CIPN. The use of NCS as an objective parameter is promising for future acupuncture studies, although the number of cases is limited. Interestingly, an improvement in NCS after acupuncture was shown in CIPN as well as in previous studies on PN of undefined aetiology and diabetic neuropathy.5 6 The results are consistent with previously published case studies on acupuncture treatment of CIPN.4

Although PN has numerous causes including genetic, toxic, metabolic, infectious, inflammatory, ischaemic and paraneoplastic disorders, the nerve can be destroyed in a limited number of ways because the damage can only occur at the level of the axon or the myelin sheaths.11 12 Differentiating whether neuropathy is axonal, demyelinating or both is achieved by NCS.11,–,14 It is generally accepted that compromised nerve conduction in PN mainly depends on structural changes of the myelin sheaths, while the amplitude is correlated with the number of functional axons.7 8 Consequently, one may speculate that repeated therapeutic interventions with acupuncture over a period of 10 weeks improves the symptomatic state of PN and also induces a normalisation of histological morphology. It has been shown by Litscher et al15 that acupuncture may increase the blood flow in the limbs. Increased blood flow to the vasa nervorum and dependent capillary beds supplying the neurons16 may contribute to nerve repair with measurable improvement of axons or myelin sheaths. Peripheral mechanisms possibly involved may include other types of fibres, such as the small unmyelinised or thinly myelinised fibres commonly believed to be undetected by NCS.

In addition, the symptomatic effect of acupuncture may reflect morphological changes in the anatomy of peripheral nerves and also complex derangements of central and peripheral regulation.17 18 One hypothesis relates to the enhancement of conduction by the dorsal column19,–,21 or higher centres.22 23


The data suggest that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN as measured by objective parameters (NCS). The results are comparable to previous studies in diabetic neuropathy and PN of undefined aetiology. These findings are of special significance since PN is otherwise almost untreatable but seems to respond to treatment by acupuncture. This pilot study shows encouraging results for the application of acupuncture in CIPN, justifying a randomised controlled trial.


Competing interests None

Patient consent Obtained

Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethik Kommission der Hamburger Ärztekammer

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

[Observation on therapeutic effect of chronic prostatitis treated mainly by warming needle moxibustion].[Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2006] - PubMed - NCBI

[Observation on therapeutic effect of chronic prostatitis treated mainly by warming needle moxibustion].[Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2006] - PubMed - NCBI | Acupuncture and oncology |

[Observation on therapeutic effect of chronic prostatitis treated mainly by warming needle moxibustion].[Article in Chinese]Xue YP1, Zhang SB, Gao T.Author information AbstractOBJECTIVE:

To explore an effective method for increasing therapeutic effect on chronic prostatitis.


Eighty-two cases of chronic prostatitis were randomly divided into two groups. The western medicine group of 42 cases were treated with routine western medicine combined with retention enteroclysis of 30 g Danshen (Red Sage Root) decoction; the warming needle moxibustion plus western medicine group of 40 cases were treated with the western medicine of the western medicine group plus warming needle moxibustion at Guanyuan (CV 4), Qihai (CV 6) and Zhongji (CV 3), etc.


In the warming needle moxibustion plus western medicine grbup, 20 cases were cured, 12 cases were markedly effective, 5 cases were effective and 3 cases were ineffective, the total effective rate being 92. 5%; and in the western medicine group, the corresponding figures were 13, 10, 7, 12 cases and 71.4%, with a significant difference between the two groups in the total effective rate (P < 0.05).


Warming needle moxibustion can increase the therapeutic effect on chronic prostatitis.


PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture and Cellulitis Treatment | eCellulitis

Acupuncture involves the use of needles, which are inserted into the patient’s skin at key points around the body. These points are believed to be part of an intricate pathway of energy flowing through the body.
No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Study: Symptom management with massage and acupuncture... [J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007] - PubMed - NCBI

Study: Symptom management with massage and acupuncture... [J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007] - PubMed - NCBI | Acupuncture and oncology |

The level of evidence for the use of acupuncture and massage for the management of perioperative symptoms in cancer patients is encouraging but inconclusive. We conducted a randomized, controlled trial assessing the effect of massage and acupuncture added to usual care vs. usual care alone in postoperative cancer patients. Cancer patients undergoing surgery were randomly assigned to receive either massage and acupuncture on postoperative Days 1 and 2 in addition to usual care, or usual care alone, and were followed over three days. Patients' pain, nausea, vomiting, and mood were assessed at four time points. Data on health care utilization were collected. Analyses were done by mixed-effects regression analyses for repeated measures. One hundred fifty of 180 consecutively approached cancer patients were eligible and consented before surgery. Twelve patients rescheduled or declined after surgery, and 138 patients were randomly assigned in a 2:1 scheme to receive massage and acupuncture (n=93) or to receive usual care only (n=45). Participants in the intervention group experienced a decrease of 1.4 points on a 0-10 pain scale, compared to 0.6 in the control group (P=0.038), and a decrease in depressive mood of 0.4 (on a scale of 1-5) compared to +/-0 in the control group (P=0.003). Providing massage and acupuncture in addition to usual care resulted in decreased pain and depressive mood among postoperative cancer patients when compared with usual care alone. These findings merit independent confirmation using larger sample sizes and attention control.


PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture for nausea, current trials Complementary and alternative therapy research : Cancer Research UK : CancerHelp UK

Acupuncture for nausea, current trials Complementary and alternative therapy research : Cancer Research UK : CancerHelp UK | Acupuncture and oncology |
Acupressure for nausea

Results from a recent study looking at acupressure to help relieve sickness due to chemotherapyshowed that overall acupressure did not help. The research team were able to analyse the results of 372 out of the 500 people who took part. Everyone who took part had standard care to relieve sickness. Some people also wore an acupressure wrist band or a dummy wrist band (placebo). The people who wore either wrist band did feel less sick than those who didn't wear a wrist band, but the difference between the groups could have happened by chance (they were not statistically significant). When looking at how many people had been sick or felt anxious and how they rated theirquality of life, the researchers found no difference between the groups. Although the researchers couldn't recommend the use of acupressure wrist bands to help with sickness after chemotherapy, they felt that some people may benefit from them and this would be useful to look at in other trials.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Effect of Acupuncture on Immune Function

Effect of Acupuncture on Immune Function | Acupuncture and oncology |

60% of people surveyed in an oncology clinic agreed that acupuncture helped with a wide variety of problems. From, pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and vasomotor symptoms to name but a few. Integrative medicine is the way forward in the 21st century. Hopefully more studies will back this up again and again.

Article Link:

Brief: At least seven human studies have evaluated the effect of acupuncture on immune system function in patients with cancer.[1-7] These studies were all conducted in China. Five were reported in English,[1-3,6,7] and two were reported in Chinese with English abstracts.[4,5]

Four randomized controlled trials,[1,2,4,5] a nonrandomized clinical study,[3] and two case series [6,7] found that acupuncture enhanced or regulated immune function.

The first randomized controlled trial found that acupuncture treatment enhanced platelet count and prevented leukocyte decrease after radiation therapy or chemotherapy, in comparison with the control group.

A second study involved a group of 40 postoperative cancer patients, 20 of whom received daily acupuncture treatment and 20 of whom served as a control group. After 3 days, leukocyte phagocytosis was enhanced in the treated group, compared with the baseline measurement (P < .01); no such enhancement was observed in the control group.[2]

A third study observed the effect of acupuncture on interleukin-2 (IL-2) and natural killer (NK) cell activity in the peripheral blood of patients with malignant tumors. The patients were divided into an acupuncture treatment group (n = 25), which received 30 minutes of acupuncture daily for 10 days, and a nonacupuncture control group (n = 20). The data showed that IL-2 level and NK cell activity were significantly increased in the acupuncture group, compared with the control group (P < .01).[4]

A fourth study observed the effect of acupuncture on T-lymphocyte subsets (CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+), soluble IL-2 receptor (SIL-2R), and beta-endorphin (beta-EP) in the peripheral blood of patients with malignant tumors. The data showed that acupuncture treatment increased the proportion of the CD3+ and CD4+ T-lymphocyte subsets, the CD4+/CD8+ ratio (P < .01), and the level of beta-EP. It decreased the level of SIL-2R (P < .01). The investigators suggested that the anticancer effect of acupuncture may be mediated via the mechanism of immunomodulation. [5]

About the ACHMI:
The purpose of the ACHMI group is to provide a forum for interested parties of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in Ireland and abroad.

We aim to improve the PR for practitioners and and highlight awareness for the public within Ireland.We aim to improve the PR for practitioners and and highlight awareness for the public internationally.

Do not hesitate to contribute to the debates or even post your own comments.

Find Us on Facebook:


No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture : Cancer Research UK : CancerHelp UK acupuncture for breathlessness research

Acupuncture : Cancer Research UK : CancerHelp UK acupuncture for breathlessness research | Acupuncture and oncology |
Acupuncture for breathlessness

Several studies have used acupuncture or acupressure for cancer related breathlessness. The results are conflicting. Some studies showed that acupuncture or acupressure can reduce breathlessness and other studies showed no benefit. A review in 2011 stated that there is some evidence that acupuncture may help to relieve breathlessness due to advanced cancer or its treatment. You can read the review into breathlessness and cancer on the CAM-Cancer website. But a review in 2013 said that we really need bigger, good quality trials before we will know for sure whether it can help.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

On Being a Cancer Survivor:Patient Experience of Peripheral Neuropathy

On Being a Cancer Survivor:Patient Experience of Peripheral Neuropathy | Acupuncture and oncology |

For Vilma Aleida, neuropathy was a surprise.

“Neuropathy appeared in 2011 during my 7th chemo….That 7th chemo was the infusion of two treatments (taxotere and trastuzumab). The result send me to the ER, the pain was only relieved with morphine. After that, I have been living with neuropathy in my legs, from my knees down. I wasn’t aware of this as a possible side effect. It was explained to me what it was after that ER incident, and that it was due to the high toxicity of the treatment. It was also explained that doing this procedure was for my type of cancer.”

As of December 2012, it’s been estimated that almost 32.5 million people worldwide are five year survivors of cancer. Of those, around 13.7 million live in the US.

What is their experience as survivors? One part of many survivors experience is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Neuropathy: What is it?

Up to 40% of cancer survivors have peripheral neuropathy. What is peripheral neuropathy? According to the Mayo Clinic,

“Peripheral neuropathy, a result of nerve damage, often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet, but it may also occur in other areas of your body.”

Nerves and Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy treatments can cause nerve damage. The nerve damage is mainly in the sensory nerves which are the nerves involved in touch, balance and how we experience ourselves in space. The chemotherapy agents that are most likely to cause neuropathy include platinum compounds (cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin), taxanes (paclitaxel, docetaxel), vinca alkaloids (vincristine, vinblastine), thalidomide, and bortezomib.

Usually nerve endings in the hands and feet are affected. Symptoms may include a sensation of “pins and needles,” numbness or pain and impaired coordination (also known as sensory ataxia). A patient’s quality of life can be impaired.

For Michigan breast cancer blogger, Nancy Stordahl,neuropathy is something she just lives with.

“I have a mild case of neuropathy in my feet. I noticed it at some point following my Taxol chemotherapy treatment. I do not remember this potential side effect being discussed with me before I started chemo, but I do remember receiving a handout listing the various side effects that could happen. Neuropathy may have been on the list, but it was not discussed. I also did not receive any kind of instructions on how to prevent it. I’m not sure this is possible anyway. Is it? My doctor did not change or reduce my dosage to lessen my odds of developing neuropathy. In fact, I remember him specifically saying we were using the highest dose that we could to go after my cancer as aggressively as possible. I remember that because it did sound rather scary.”

But Vilma’s case is more severe. Vilma lives in northern Mexico and she is fortunate that Mexico provides free breast cancer treatments to all with the diagnosis.

“it was very bad, my legs felt heavy, painful, …I felt like having big legs…[like] an elephant, but after couple of months of taking medicine it got better.”

Diagnosed the day after she turned 40, Vilma suffered a recurrence of breast cancer in November 2013.

“Now I am back in chemo and things got worst probably because of more toxicity. After [a] couple of days of the infusion, my legs start having, like electrical spasms, and the pain! Have to double the medicine doses during those days (gabapentin/tramadol). Guess I don’t have a single word to describe how severe it is.”

The damage can be less serious, as Nancy explains.

“I am “lucky,” I guess because my neuropathy has not really affected my way of life too much. I do have the constant numbness in the balls of my feet to remind me, but my walking etc has not been affected thus far. I hope it does not worsen. I’ve been told it shouldn’t, but… time will tell. I did have to go off Arimidex and switch to Aromasin because my foot pain definitely worsened while on the Arimidex, to the point where the Arimidex was no longer tolerable. Since the switch, my foot discomfort/numbness has gone back to the original level, if that makes sense.”

Barriers to Clinical Trials to Treat Neuropathy

There is no universal measurement tool that everyone uses to describe the severity of neuropathy. Lack of a tool like this is a real barrier to developing good clinical trials to find ways to protect the nervous system from chemotherapy.

An important component of such a tool would the patient’s input, as clinicians’ assessments of debilitation and quality of life, underestimate the severity of the experience. For example, in one study, 19% of patients reported neuropathic symptoms and over half felt these were moderate to severe, yet with this same group of patients, clinicians stated that only 12% had neuropathy and that 90% had mild symptoms. Another study reported patients identifying the beginning of neuropathy two months earlier than physicians reported its onset.

Today’s Treatments for Chemotherapy Induced Neuropathy

Chemotherapy is often interrupted or modified when neuropathy occurs.  Vilma states,

I didn’t know it could be a side effect, although a lot of side effects were explained regarding what to do at home, to eat or how to eat it, the changes in my skin, nails, among others, neuropathy wasn’t mention[ed]. The doctor decided not to give me the last chemo, eight was the number after surgery and he explained that one last chemo was going to affect me more….

There has been some research on ways to prevent chemotherapy induced neuropathy including using Vitamin E to protect the nerves. A list of research on other strategies that have been tested, including calcium/magnesium infusions is available here. More research is needed.

Coping With Neuropathy

Coping with neuropathy can mean continuous pain medications. Some believe that as many as 58% of patients have long lasting problems with neuropathy. Neuropathy has also been implicated in increasing the risk of falls by 20%.

Medications like steroids, lidoderm patches, anti-epileptics, anti-depressants and opiates like morphine are used to treat neuropathy. Physical and occupational therapy are also used. Vilma `recommends several strategies to cope with neuropathy.

When feeling those electrical spasms lately I have learned that the more warmly clothed my legs are [the] better, I even have an oil massage and [that] helps a lot. When not having those spasms I try physical activity like walking for 20 minutes,… or perhaps a bike ride….

She has also turned to alternative therapies.

I highly recommend acupuncture. When looking for alternative solutions on the Web I read about it at MD Anderson Cancer…, Integrative Medicine Center. I wasn’t sure because of the “more needles”![issue] I guess meeting with a high profile physician with an acupuncture degree [from] Beijing University during a meditation session change[d] that. At the moment I go after chemo and sometimes it helps one session but if the electrical spasms are bad then two sessions. When not having chemo, during my remission period, I had one session every three weeks. Besides the 20 minute walks, I encourage anyone with this issue to try it.

Nancy advises patient to be engaged and empowered through research on the drugs they will be getting.

My advice for someone about to begin chemotherapy would be to do some research about the drugs you will be receiving and the potential side effects. Look into it carefully, gather information and then discuss things thoroughly with your doctor. The side effects should not be brushed aside and you have a right to be fully informed before starting. Yes, of course, the primary goal is to kill the cancer, but the side effects (all of them) can be serious and need to be addressed. A patient needs to be aware of them beforehand.

She also advises,

If you do develop neuropathy, tell your doctors and seek help in managing this and any other side effects you may have. As I always say, never suffer in silence.

Patient-Initiated Research

According to The Neuropathy Association, neuropathy, (including that caused by diabetes) is at “epidemic proportions in the U.S. and abroad.” One strategy they are trying, is creating a registry of patients who are willing to be part of research on neuropathy.  This patient-initiated effort is one way to provide ready-to-study groups to researchers.  With this initiative, they are trying to increase funding for and interest in research of neuropathy.

For more information on this initiative or on neuropathy and chemotherapy,sign up for the May 21, 2014 Web Meeting  or join Dr. Susan Love on the Neuropathy Association Facebook page on June 18, 2014, for a chat  focusing on neuropathy and breast cancer treatment.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture Helps Alleviate Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Acupuncture helps alleviate side effects of drugs commonly prescribed to treat breast cancer, study finds.
No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture and Cancer: complementing medical treatment and side-effects |

Acupuncture and Cancer: complementing medical treatment and side-effects | | Acupuncture and oncology |
We explore how acupuncture can help at every stage of cancer treatment


Acupuncture and Cancer

If you or someone you know has been recently diagnosed with cancer, or you find yourself facing the dreaded chemo, we're taking a look at the ways in which acupuncture can really help you along as an alternative, holistic treatment.

Here, acupuncturist Hannah O'Connell explains how it all works.

In short, Acupuncture supports Vital qi (energy) which enhances the immune system, allowing the body to withstand disease. It regulates Yin and Yang and factors in the internal and external elements and emotional health while helping to prevent, correct or reduce iatrogenic pain due to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In my private practice and in my clinic at ARC Cancer support centre, I would see patients at various stages of treatment from diagnosis right through to recovery, treating a variety of symptoms and conditions associated with cancer and the side effects of various treatments.


A cancer diagnosis can send you into a state of shock and create anxiety that would previously never have been present. It can cause sleepless nights, mental exhaustion and appetite loss, none of which are the best start to cancer treatment. Acupuncture can help here by calming the mind, restoring sleep and appetite and boosting energy, creating a more balanced state from which to begin treatment.


Like any surgery, you can be left inflamed and in pain. In acupuncture terms, pain is seen as an interruption of qi, blood or even phlegm in the channels or meridians. In many cases this pain is quite significant and long lasting, causing sleep disturbance and fatigue. Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for managing the pain that surgery, tumors, inflammation, chemotherapy and radiation cause. Research shows, the use of acupuncture activates the spinal chord, midbrain and the hypothalamic-pituitary centres, activating the release of endorphins, enkephalins, monoamines and cortisol to block the pain messages therefore inducing an analgesic effect. Unlike the pain medications often prescribed, that can cause nausea, constipation and fatigue in the patient, acupuncture is side effect free.

Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy

Acupuncture is known to be very effective in relieving the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment, in fact it's been well documented in many studies.

Again, it's also very valuable in terms of the exhaustion and fatigue associated with chemo and radiotherapy. Fatigue is the most common symptom experienced by patients with cancer, which is also one of the most common adverse effects that occur during and after cancer treatment. Cancer treatment-related fatigue generally improves after treatment ends, but some degree of fatigue may persist for months or even years. Fatigue affects multiple aspects of life– physical, mental, and emotional – and has a significant negative impact on patients’ physical functioning and overall quality of life. In TCM terms, any chronic disease process depletes the energy level in the organism. Such depletion can be relieved, at least temporarily, by tonification, a process of imparting energy into the system via acupuncture. This is deemed necessary for more durable, successful pain control. It can also add to the patients' sense of well being and decrease the malaise associated with any chronic disease, especially cancer.

Hormone therapy

Breast cancer patients and prostate cancer patients suffer while undergoing hormonal treatment. Hot flashes can disrupt sleep, cause distress and discomfort and be quite overwhelming. Studies suggest that acupuncture may be as effective as Effexor (an anti depressant used as a treatment for hot flashes) at reducing the frequency of hot flashes in breast cancer patients treated with hormonal therapy, minus the side effects. In prostate cancer patients, a study using acupuncture showed results of reduction in symptoms of 89.2% after 6 weeks of treatment.


The war is over and you’re now cancer-free, business as usual, right? Wrong. Not only has the cancer taken its toll on the body’s processes but the treatment has really knocked it for six. You may feel exhausted and emotionally dazed after the whole ordeal. At this point regardless of whether you’ve had no acupuncture or have been attending regularly, acupuncture can be invaluable now at getting you back on track to enjoying life! It will boost energy, promote smooth flow of emotions, aid sleep and create the well deserved sense of well being after what may have been a lengthy and trying experience.

One thing I am often asked in clinic is “Should I wait until after my radiotherapy/chemotherapy to begin acupuncture?” Absolutely not, acupuncture is entirely safe throughout your treatment, it does not interfere with the medications in any way. It simply supports you physically and mentally throughout the process, shortening recovery time so you can feel like you again.

When considering acupuncture, always check the Acupuncture Council of Ireland website for a fully trained and registered acupuncturist in your area. in the UK

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture gains wider audience here - in oncology department

Acupuncture gains wider audience here - in oncology department | Acupuncture and oncology |
Doctors, patients talk about the process and effectiveness of acupuncture. 


Posted: Monday, December 8, 2014 8:00 am

By JEFF HAWKES | Staff Writer

Inside the artfully curving, steel-and-glass Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, home to a robotic CyberKnife, linear accelerator and other whiz-bang devices, Nick Dower treats patients with a simple tool Confucius would recognize.

Telling cancer patient Karen Wenrich, 60, to take a deep breath, Dower deftly taps an acupuncture needle into her leg, the fine steel point reaching muscle near the shin.

Over the next five minutes, he inserts 27 more needles. Wenrich says she hardly felt a thing.

Originating in China more than three millennia ago, acupuncture has slowly gained acceptance in the United States. The National Institutes of Health now recognizes its value in easing chronic back, knee and head pain.

Medicare does not cover acupuncture, but if requested, some insurers, including Aetna, Capital Blue Cross and Highmark, will cover physician-applied acupuncture for such problems as chronic pain or nausea.

Even in Lancaster County, acupuncture is going mainstream. A total of 12 licensed acupuncturists practice here, including at least three doctors, according to state records. That’s up from 10 in 2009. Across Pennsylvania, there are 705 acupuncturists, up from 638 in 2009.

“There’s increasing evidence that this is not just hocus-pocus or a placebo, but rather there’s something to it,” said Dr. Keith Wright, of Georgetown Family Health in Bart Township. “It adds another tool in my bag to help promote healing.”

Acupuncture involves the placement of slender needles at specific points of the body associated with electrical conductivity. Some acupuncturists attach the needles to a low-intensity electric current.

Research suggests the needles trigger responses in the body that influence pain, anxiety, circulation and other processes, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Exactly how acupuncture works is not understood, but evidence is mounting that it does work, particularly for pain management, said Dr. Tony Ton-That, a rehabilitation physician with Lancaster Neuroscience & Spine Associates.

Ton-That predicts acupuncture will take off when more consumers and insurers see it as a cost-effective alternative to surgery and drugs for chronic neck and back pain.

He said about 40 percent of his practice involves acupuncture, up from 10 percent when he started offering the treatment 10 years ago.

“I was skeptical,” said Jason Nauman, 31, of Leola, a Marine Corps veteran who has suffered from debilitating back pain since surviving a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2004.

But Nauman said he experienced immediate pain relief and improved range of motion after his first acupuncture treatment by Dr. Wright. He returns about every other week to keep the pain in check.

“This is the only thing that has worked,” Nauman said.

On a recent afternoon in a quiet, softly lit treatment room at Lancaster General Health’s Barshinger Cancer Institute, Dower inserted 28 needles into Wenrich’s skin — seven in each leg, three in each arm, three in the upper chest, two in each ear and one above the nose.

Wenrich rested on a treatment couch with eyes closed, her legs slightly elevated on cylindrical pillows.

“There’s very specific reasons for every point I choose,” said Dower, a Millersville University graduate who earned a master’s in acupuncture and became licensed after three years at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies in Montgomery County.

He was treating Wenrich for the lack of energy she feels after more than 30 radiation treatments over six weeks at the cancer institute this fall.

“I was thrilled, actually, that an institution like this would even offer acupuncture,” said Wenrich, of Manheim Township, a former massage therapist. “I came in eager, ready to go. But I can see where people would have a reservation.”

With each insertion, Dower first pressed a guide tube against Wenrich’s skin, then tapped the top of the encased needle, setting the point into the skin.

“Deep breath,” he said with each insertion. Wenrich said she experienced no discomfort and sometimes didn’t feel a needle going in. She rested alone for 20 minutes after Dower had set the needles.

Wenrich calls the $60 she pays for a 45-minute session several times a month money well spent. She said she sleeps better, has more energy and feels less anxious.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture effectively improves appetite in patients with GI trace cancer - ONA

Acupuncture effectively improves appetite in patients with GI trace cancer - ONA | Acupuncture and oncology |
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA—Appetite was improved in patients with GI cancer who received acupuncture therapy, according to a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 39th Annual Congress.


Acupuncture effectively improves appetite in patients with GI tract cancer

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA—Appetite was improved in patients with GI cancer who received acupuncture therapy, according to a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 39th Annual Congress.

No comment yet.
Suggested by Shaftesbury Clinic!

Acupuncture Lowers Chemo Side Effects, Ups Immunity

Acupuncture Lowers Chemo Side Effects, Ups Immunity | Acupuncture and oncology |

Acupuncture Lowers Chemo Side Effects, Ups Immunity

on 11 June 2014.


Acupuncture reduces chemotherapy side effects for colorectal cancer patients. New research confirms that acupuncture benefits the immune system and improves the psychological state for these patients. Blood samples prove that acupuncture enhances the immune system’s NK (natural killer) cells for colorectal cancer patients. Subjective testing showed improved mental health scores after acupuncture. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is both “feasible and safe for CRC (colorectal cancer) patients….”

The research team commented that NK cells are “a first line of defence against the metastatic spread of tumour cells.” Data shows that decreases in NK cell numbers and activity correspond to the progression of cancer. NK cells are immune system lymphocytes that are part of bodily responses to pathological concerns including tumors and virally infected cells. The new study shows that acupuncture benefits NK cell numbers thereby supporting the immune system. 

The study used a randomized, controlled investigation model. The acupuncture group received acupuncture treatments twice a week starting one week prior to chemotherapy for a total of six acupuncture treatments. A standardized protocol was used in the administration of care. Normally, acupuncture point prescriptions are customized contingent upon an individual’s differential diagnosis. In this case, a standard set of acupuncture points were used to eliminate variables.

Lower extremity acupuncture points were: LV3, ST36, SP9, GB39. Upper extremity points were LI4, PC5, TB5, LU7. Moxibustion was applied to SI6, TB5, ST32 and CV6 for two minutes at each acupuncture point. Each acupuncture treatment lasted for a total of 45 minutes. Average needle depth was 10mm and manual acupuncture was applied until a de qi sensation was achieved. Disposable acupuncture needles of 36 gauge (Tewa brand) were used. 

The objective testing revealed benefits to NK cell levels while subjective testing revealed psychological and physical benefits to patients receiving acupuncture. Improvements included reductions of gastrointestinal disorders, urological disorders and male sexual dysfunction. The acupuncture group also reported fewer side effects due to chemotherapy. The acupuncture study group had significantly less depression reported when compared with the control group.

The researchers discovered that acupuncture reduced both anxiety and depression and exerted “positive trends on the levels of WBC, ANC, B and NK cells….” In addition, “The increase on WBC and ANC resulted in approximately a 1.5x reduction in leukopenia and neutropenia rates. The acupuncture group showed a twofold increase in NK cells rate compared to the control group.” The team notes that this data indicates that acupuncture exerts an immunomodulatory effect in colorectal cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

No adverse events occurred as a result of acupuncture. As a result, the research team concluded that acupuncture is both “feasible and safe.” The team notes that acupuncture may “stimulate anticancer immunity” and “promote a myeliprotective effect.” The team notes that this data warrants continued investigation into the integration of acupuncture into colorectal cancer patient care.

Pais, Irene, Nuno Correia, Isabel Pimentel, Maria José Teles, Esmeralda Neves, Júlia Vasconcelos, Judite Guimarães4 Nancy Azevedo et al. "EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE IN LEUKOPENIA, NEUTROPENIA, NK AND B CELLS IN CANCER PATIENTS UNDERGOING CHEMOTHERAPY: A RANDOMIZED PILOT STUDY."


- See more at:

No comment yet.