Top 5 Benefits of Acupuncture in Cancer Care

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Meet Mihal
Meet Mihal Davis, CA, ND, acupuncturist and learn why she provides care for cancer patients 

AcupunctureUW Health's Integrative Health program offers acupuncture at the UW Carbone Cancer Center in both outpatient and inpatient settings, and at UW Health Research Park Clinic.


Acupuncture, a branch of traditional medicine that originated in China over 4,000 years ago, can be very helpful in providing support to patients at all stages of their cancer journey.


Five Ways Acupuncture Can Help in Cancer Care


At the UW Carbone Cancer Center, acupuncturists work in collaboration with patients and their physicians to offer complementary treatments to support oncology care.


Reduced nausea, vomiting and fatigue associated with chemotherapy 

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is strong evidence that acupuncture can relieve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. 


Pain relief from neuropathy, incisions, tumors or chronic issues

Studies looking at pain control using acupuncture suggest that it may help reduce the pain associated with cancer as well as from surgery. It may help reduce the amount of pain medications needed, and consequently some of the side effects of those pain medicines. Acupuncture can improve circulation in the body leading to regeneration of damaged nerves (neuropathy) and improve healing of scar tissue. 


Improved digestion

Radiation treatments may lead to pain and swelling in the mouth and throat making it difficult to swallow. Some patients lose their sense of taste as well. Acupuncture has been shown to decrease these side effects allowing the patient to be able to swallow, eat and drink normally. Acupuncture can also help restore appetite and regulate patterns of elimination. 


Assist in stress management

Cancer patients who use this treatment claim that they feel calmer, and that they feel happier. Additionally, many of them report less worry and anxiety. They report feeling more mentally alert and more emotionally stable. There are specific acupuncture points that will help the nervous system relax when there is a constant feeling of anxiety or adrenaline, thus treatments can help improve sleep as well. 


Ongoing physical, mental and emotional support

Regular acupuncture can identify imbalances and guide patients to move towards more optimal health. Acupuncture stimulates the natural healing process of the body to aid in restoring health and balance. Research shows that acupuncture is safe, effective and gentle, without unwanted side effects.

About Acupuncture


Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, about the thickness of two human hairs. The needles are sterile, individually packaged and disposable. Many patients say that they experience a deep state of relaxation and renewal during and after an acupuncture treatment.


Currently, the National Institutes of Health is sponsoring 21 clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of acupuncture in cancer care.