Cancer Care

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment by:

  • Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry 

  • Regulating neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; hence altering the brains’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states 

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  • Increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties

  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling

  • Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response

  • Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines

  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors

  • Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry

  • Increasing levels of T lymphocyte subsets such as CD(3) , CD(4), and CD(8) , as well as Natural Killer cells

  • Relieving nausea and vomiting by regulating gastric myo-electrical activity, modulating the actions of the vagal nerve and autonomic nervous system, and regulating vestibular activities in the cerebellum

  • Reducing vasopressin-induced nausea and vomiting and suppressing retrograde peristaltic contractions.

NB Acupuncture may be used for some of the symptoms of cancer, and the side effects of conventional cancer treatments, but it is not used to address the cancer itself.