When trying to deal with a diagnosis of mesothelioma patients often combine therapies. In addition to standard therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, patients often find relief in Complimentary Alternative Therapies –CAM, used together it is called Integrative Therapy. There are many different therapies under this group, one being acupuncture.
According to www.cancer.gov acupressure is defined as, “the application of stimulation such as needling, moxibustion, cupping and acupressure on specific sites of the body known as acupuncture sites.”
Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine, which uses fine needles to specific areas of the body or acupoints to stimulate energy flow. This energy is known as chi. The needles are often left in the body for approximately 30 minutes. Usually this causes virtually no pain. It is not known exactly how acupuncture works but it thought to be effective by stimulating healthy energy flow, regaining balance. Acupuncture has been practiced in the United States for a very long time. However the United States Food and Drug Administration first approved acupuncture needles as a medical device in 1996.
Research has indicated that acupuncture is most effective in cancer patients in treating the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and is also helpful for pain management, fatigue, control of hot-flashes, neuropathy, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances. In recent years many major medical centers have formed departments of Integrative Therapies and acceptance of these therapies has increased.
To become a licensed acupuncturist in the United States there are approximately 50 schools whose course of study is acupuncture and oriental medicine. It takes from 3-4 years to complete. Every state has its own licensing requirements and some require that the acupuncturist practice under a medical doctor.
If acupuncture is something that you want to learn more about information is available on www.cancer.gov. Remember to do your due diligence in researching any practitioner and also ask your mesothelioma care team for any recommendations.