Acupuncture for Cancer Patients

Despite being slightly more than 2000 years old, acupuncture is recognized by the National Cancer Institute as an excellent complementary therapy for cancer patients undergoing conventional therapy.


Dr. Marcel Hernandez

We find that acupuncture also provides excellent ancillary benefits for our cancer patients at Hernandez Center and Pacific Naturopathic.

Origins of Acupuncture

According to an article in Rheumatology, the first documentation of an “organized system of diagnosis and treatment” for acupuncture was given in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing) in about 100 BC. Gold and silver needles found in the tomb of Liu Sheng from around 100 BC are believed to be the earliest archeological evidence of acupuncture, though it is unclear if that was their purpose. (Source: Wikipedia)

Benefits of Acupuncture for Cancer Patients

  • Pain Relief. Acupuncture has always been used to alleviate pain – one of the worst cancer symptoms. When acupuncture needles are inserted at specific points, the body’s natural painkillers (endorphins) are released. The endorphins travel through the spinal cord to the brain to relieve pain.
  • Serotonin, another natural chemical found in the body, is also released during acupuncture treatment. Seratonin makes us feel more relaxed and encourages a heightened sense of well-being. Cancer patients undergoing acupuncture are often able to decrease their prescribed pain medication.
  • Relief from Nausea and Vomiting. Acupuncture helps alleviate the nausea and vomiting common with chemotherapy. Placing a fine needle into the P6 acupoint (AKA the Neiguan point) significantly reduces the urge to vomit.
  • Inflammation Reduction. Cancer is an inflammatory disease. Chemotherapy and other standard cancer treatments are known to increase inflammation throughout the body. Acupuncture reduces swelling by improving the flow of cytokines – chemical messengers that help regulate blood vessel permeability, vasoconstriction, and vasodilation.
  • Better Sleep. Sleep is often elusive for cancer patients, owing to pain and inflammation. Specific acupuncture treatments send signals to the brain that help the body relax.
  • Increased Appetite. Once cancer establishes a hold, nutrient absorption becomes a problem that can lead to wasting syndrome (cachexia). Worse, cancer therapy diminishes appetite and reduces saliva production. Acupuncture helps reduce these side effects and improve appetite.
  • Lower Intensity of Hot Flashes. Studies have shown that acupuncture has long-lasting positive effects on reducing hot flashes and night sweats for women receiving hormone therapy for breast cancer, when compared to patients receiving drug therapy for these conditions.

Note: As part of their personal health maintenance program, Dr. Marcel and Dr. Connie receive regular acupuncture treatments administered by a highly skilled local licensed practitioner. Please ask us for her name and contact information.

Interested in learning more about the adjunctive cancer treatments offered at the Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care? Please phone us for information, or to make an appointment: (650) 917-1121.

“The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest”

If you missed this inspiring 9-part video series, be sure to visit the film’s website and sign up to see it free of charge. (While you’re at it, sign up for their excellent newsletter.)

The series is highly educational for all, not only those suffering from cancer – millions have responded to its enlightening message. Dr. Connie, Dr. Marcel, and the Hernandez Center staff feel that the research and opinions presented speak very clearly to what we are trying to accomplish with our therapeutic approach.


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