Treating Cancer therapy side-effects

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Acupuncture, herbs and other holistic strategies to manage cancer treatment side-effects. 

By Zen Tuan, Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist at Healing with Zen 

 

I have worked at the Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, CA for 6 years. In that time I have assisted hundreds of cancer patients and their family members with acupuncture during and after their cancer treatment journey. In addition to the many physical side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation, a cancer diagnosis itself is scary and can leave both patients and their families with feelings of loneliness and depression. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine and holistic medicine is here to help! Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can manage many of the physical and emotional side effects from cancer therapy. Acupuncture increases circulation in the body, decreases inflammation and boosts your immune system to help your body withstand harsh cancer treatment drugs that attack both the healthy and cancerous cells in your body. In addition, patients report feeling more relaxed, less stressed, reduced insomnia, and improved energy as a result of acupuncture and herbs.

Numerous digestive symptoms can occur with chemotherapy, including nausea, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, and lack of appetite. Acupuncture patients report reduced symptoms and improved digestion after treatment. They are often able to bounce back quicker when they receive acupuncture minimizing discomfort.

Another very common symptom that responds well to acupuncture is neuropathy. I have been able to successfully eliminate the sensation and help many patients overcome their condition. Some patients live with neuropathy for many years before discovering acupuncture. I have been able to assist these patients regain feeling and reduce discomfort even after so much time has passed. 

My mother passed away from breast cancer in 2017. I understand how difficult it can be to watch your loved ones suffer from the disease and its treatments. This can take a significant emotional and physical toll on the caretakers. It is incredibly important that everyone, not just the patient, takes care of themselves during this time. We therefore often treat the families of cancer patients and assist them with everything ranging from insomnia, depression, and stress to physical discomfort, and digestive issues. 

Acupuncture and herbs are great, but here are some other at-home suggestions to help your loved ones: 

  • Look into meditation. Research has shown that meditation can lower the sympathetic system and help with overall mood. 
  • Learn about Sound therapy – Sound effects us on a physiological level and has been thought to be able to heal and transform. Listening to certain chants or vibrations of music can change our brain waves to relax our bodies, and even boost the immune function. Even our heart rate and blood pressure are lowered with certain forms of music. 
  • Yoga and movement – Did you know there are specific yoga classes designed just for cancer patients? They are much more gentle and help stimulate and move the lymph system. 
  • Lastly, Herbal therapy and detoxing- Herbs are a great way to strengthen the body to better tolerate chemo drugs and radiation. I always recommend doing a gentle detox if you will be on chemo for long periods of time. 

I’ve listed quite a few suggestions so if you’re going to a cancer center of hospital, ask if they have an integrative medicine department and see what services are offered. 

I hope this was helpful and if you’d like to to learn more about acupuncture, herbs or our practice, please call us at (626)377-9596 or email us at info@healingwithzen.com. 

Click here for a testimonial from one of our cancer patients. 

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