Acupuncture has been used clinically to:
1. manage cancer-related symptoms
2. treat side effects induced by chemotherapy or radiation therapy
3. boost blood cell count
4. Enhance lymphocyte and natural killer (NK) cell activity. In cancer treatment
5. Its primary use is symptom management
6. commonly treated symptoms are cancer pain,[4,5]
7. chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (N/V),[6,7]
8. symptoms that affect a patient’s quality of life, including:
weight loss, anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor appetite, xerostomia, hot flashes, peripheral neuropathy, and gastrointestinal symptoms (constipation and diarrhea).[8-10]
Studies & Evidence:
1. Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments, including hot flashes, xerostomia, and neuropathy. Cancer patients use it for fatigue, pain management, and control of nausea and vomiting (N/V).
2. Immune System: Laboratory and animal studies to explore the mechanisms of acupuncture for cancer treatment have focused mainly on the role of acupuncture in the activation of immune functions, such as increasing blood cell count and enhancing lymphocyte and natural killer cell activity.
3. Pain Management: To date, the most extensively investigated aspect of these mechanisms has been the effect of acupuncture on pain management.
4. Central Nervous System: The NIH Consensus Panel concluded that “acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses,” local and distal, “mediated mainly by sensory neurons…within the central nervous system.”
——Evidence suggests that acupuncture operates through the autonomic nervous system to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and suggests that the anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture are mediated by its electrophysiologic effects on neurotransmitters, cytokines, and neuropeptides.[1,22-31] Many studies provide evidence that opioid peptides are released during acupuncture and that acupuncture analgesia is mediated by the endogenous opioid system.[32,33]
5. The hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis : Acupuncture “may also activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic effects,” including “alterations in peptides, hormones and neurotransmitters and the regulation of blood flow.”
6. Inflammation: Recent studies show the effect of acupuncture on chronic inflammatory pain.[21,22]
7. Several studies published in China examined the effect of acupuncture on the human immune system,[8,29,32,38-41] most cancer-related human clinical studies of acupuncture evaluated its effect on patient quality of life.
8. These investigations mainly focused on cancer symptoms or cancer treatment–related symptoms, predominantly cancer pain [10,23,42-46] and chemotherapy-induced N/V.[25,27,47-55]
9. Studies have also been done on the effect of acupuncture on radiation -induced xerostomia (dry mouth), proctitis, dysphonia, weight loss, cough, thoracodynia, hemoptysis, fever, esophageal obstruction, poor appetite, night sweats, hot flashes in women and men, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, and depression in cancer patients.[8-10,57-60]