Q: Does Acupuncture hurt?
No, acupuncture should not hurt. The needles used are very thin. Because there are not used to inject anything in the body, they are much smaller than other needles used in medical procedures. Occasionally, a needle may cause some pain or discomfort. If that happens, the patient is instructed to let the acupuncturist know, so the needle is either immediately withdrawn or redirected. During acupuncture treatments many patients relax and even fall asleep.
Q: What should I do during a treatment?
During a treatment, it is best do relax and abstain from moving. Avoid talking; try to keep your eyes closed for the duration of the treatment. This will ensure that you will get the most benefit from your treatment.
Q: How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture stimulation sends messages to the tissues and nerves of the body. In response to these messages at times the body’s chemistry changes. Often, the nervous system switches from the “fight or flight” mode, to the “all clear”, relaxed mode. The result is that the nervous system is calmer, the immune response is enhanced, and digestion is improved.
Q: I am getting radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, what can acupuncture do for me?
Acupuncture does not cure cancer, but it can help you be healthier during the treatments. It can decrease pain, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, dry mouth, hot flushes, and the stress caused by the disease and its treatment. In addition, Acupuncture has been shown to improve immunity in cancer patients.
Q: My chemotherapy medicine causes neuropathy, what can acupuncture do for that?
Acupuncture can directly stimulate the nerves affected, and make them work normally again. It decreases the pain, the tingling and the numbness. It is best to treat as soon as the first signs of neuropathy manifest. Neuropathy is easier to treat when it is treated early, before the nerve damage sets in. If you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy for a while, months or years, acupuncture has still the potential to help.
Q: How often should I get treatment?
Patients who have neuropathy should be treated as often as possible during chemotherapy, as well as in between chemotherapy treatments. Treatments should be scheduled according to the severity of the symptoms, and your response to the treatments. Some patients might do well with one weekly treatment, other might require 2 treatments per week, while others might be seen only every other week.
Q: Can acupuncture help with cancer pain?
Acupuncture can provide a quick and effective relief from cancer pain, its effects are short lived, but it can be a useful adjunct to the pain management you are already receiving by helping brake the “pain cycle”
Q: My chemotherapy or radiation make me feel nauseous, could acupuncture help?
Chemotherapy or radiation can make patients nauseous, sometimes even very sick. It can upset the digestive track and cause lack of appetite, constipation or diarrhea. Besides being unpleasant, these symptoms can cause weight loss, and even delay or interrupt the cancer treatment.
There are some very effective medications to control nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. But acupuncture has proven to be of great help as well. If you add acupuncture to your treatment regimen, you are likely to need fewer medications and have fewer symptoms. In addition, it can help you maintain an ideal body weight during your treatment.
Q: My mouth is very dry my doctors tell me it is because of the radiation therapy. Is Acupuncture indicated for that condition?
Dry mouth or Xerostomia can be caused by radiation over the neck and head. It is also a side effect of some medications and chemotherapeutic agents. There are different degrees of severity of the condition. The more severe it is, the more it can affect the ability to eat and swallow food and liquids. It can also impair oral and dental health, sometimes severely.
Recent clinical studies show that regular acupuncture treatments can help improve the subjective and objective symptoms of xerostomia. It can improve the condition or prevent it from getting worse. It is thought that acupuncture helps the salivary excretion by promoting blood flow, and healing; and decreasing inflammation. Once again, regular treatments are best.
Q: I have post-surgical pain, can I try acupuncture?
After surgery, pain can take a while to go away, because nerves and soft tissues may have been affected. Acupuncture is very effective in treating this kind of pain, and its effects can be felt within a few treatments.
Q: Can acupuncture help with fatigue?
Fatigue is commonly experienced by cancer patients. Acupuncture has been shown in recent studies to improve fatigue, social function and “quality of life” in this population.
Q: How can I get acupuncture at the Burbank Cancer Center?
You can get Acupuncture treatment free of charge at the Burbank Cancer Center, thanks to a grant from ‘Angie’s SPA”. It is offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. All you need is let he staff know that you would like to receive Acupuncture, and schedule your treatments (chemotherapy or radiation) and synchronize it with the acupuncture schedule.
After the completion of your treatments at the Cancer Center, you can continue to receive treatments at the Simonds-Hurd Complementary Care Center, also located at the Burbank campus of HealthAlliance Hospital.