Acupuncture is becoming a respected treatment modality in cancer care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 8 million Americans annually are treated with acupuncture for a variety of ailments, including back pain, chronic headaches, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, infertility, and hot flashes. There is no tally on the number of cancer patients receiving such treatments.
In cancer care it is mainly used for treating adverse effects and symptoms related to cancer and not the disease itself. Symptoms such as pain, nausea, hot flushes and xerostomia are some of the symptoms that can be relieved by the use of acupuncture.
Acupuncture works with the idea that energy flows throughout the body along channels, or meridians. Specific acupoints are stimulated with needles to increase energy flow throughout the body to a particular tissue, organ, or organ system.