Acupuncture, a form of Chinese medicine, is often used as an alternative to traditional medicine for relieving pain and other health issues. The idea behind this process is to put pressure on certain areas of the body, known as pressure points, by gently pricking the skin with small needles.
According to those who practice acupuncture, placing the needles on certain points on the body stimulates the nervous system and allows chemicals to be released from the body and travel to the spine, brain and muscles. The chemicals that are released supposedly help the body to heal itself naturally. New studies are stating that acupuncture may be an alternative treatment for fatigue in patients with breast cancer.
Fatigue is the most common symptom for cancer patients and one study suggested that using acupuncture to relieve these symptoms may help, yet there has not been any solid evidence so far. During the study, the women were sent for six acupuncture treatments per-week. They reported some relief in fatigue with less anxiety and a great sense of well-being. These results were compared to women who had received only educational materials.
Researchers believe that acupuncture can be used effectively because of the stress relieving effects it has on the body. When a woman has breast cancer the body is under an enormous amount of stress and dealing with constant pain. These factors combined with the treatments used for cancer, cause the healthy red blood cells in the body to break down at a fast rate, which contributes to chronic fatigue. By using the acupuncture several times a week to relieve stress, the body can rebuild the red blood cells, and some energy can return.
After six weeks of treatment for the women involved in the study, the results were positive. Women reported that after receiving the acupuncture treatment for six weeks at a rate of six times per-week, their fatigue had improved mildly or moderately. No significant changes in their cancer diagnosis were measured; however, researchers believe that using acupuncture regularly can make the traditional medical treatments for cancer patients with fatigue more effective.
Have you tried acupuncture? How did you feel after your sessions?