CHAPEL HILL, NC -- More than 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, and for the half of them battling late stage cancer, pain from medications and therapy are a bitter reality. But now, new research offers those patients a way out, no pills, vitamins or medications required.
A few years ago, 83-year-old Janet Davis was enjoying her plane, and her retirement. She flew wherever and whenever she wanted, but a second mastectomy grounded her last April. Now, she’s fighting the effects of bone cancer, chemo, and radiation, just one of the 1.5 million folks who suffer from cancer pain each year.
The University of North Carolina medical school’s doctor Jongbae J. Park, K.M.D, Ph.D., stepped-in to help. His solution was acupuncture. Janet would rather have needles than painkillers.
Doctor Park inserts thin needles into specific acupuncture points on the skin, 365 in all. The goal is to stimulate the nervous system and release natural painkillers like adenosine.
“It reduces the pain. It’s just not there anymore,” Davis said.
“As treatment effect of acupuncture becomes noticeable patients start to reduce their narcotics or pain killers,” Dr. Park explained.
The proof? Studies show acupuncture alone cut post-chemotherapy fatigue by 31 percent. It also cut hot flashes by 50 percent, and slashed overall cancer pain by 36 percent.
“Initially she had pain, but not anymore,” Dr. Park explained.
It’s no cure, but it’s working for Janet and honestly, that’s all she needs.
“What more can I ask?” Davis said
It can take as many as six half-hour sessions for patients to notice a difference in their pain level. Still, this is not a cancer cure by any means, and detractors routinely point that out. Currently, Dr. Park is studying acupuncture’s effects on stroke and irritable bowel syndrome as well
Information: (Ivanhoe Newswire)
BACKGROUND OF ACUPUNCTURE: Originating in China, the practice of acupuncture is one of the main components of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and is deeply rooted in ancient philosophy. The most scientifically studied form is the practice of penetrating a person's skin at key points with thin metallic needles, which are then stimulated by movement or electrical currents. This practice is motivated by the traditional idea that the body is suspended between two opposing, and inseparable forces: the Yin and the Yang. The Yin represents the "cold, slow or passive aspects of the person," while the Yang represents the "hot, excited or active aspects." Disease and poor health are believed to occur when a person lacks balance in regard to these two completely different sides of their being. This imbalance blocks the flow of their vital life energy called qi, which travels along bodily routes called meridians. Acupuncture is designed to unblock the flow of qi by penetrating the skin at specific points along the meridians. The largely accepted belief is that the body contains 14 main meridians, which are connected by at least 2,000 acupuncture points in a complex web-like system. (Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine nccam.nih.gov)
ACUPUNCTURE IN THE U.S.: The practice of acupuncture became popularized in the United States in 1971, following an influential article in the New York Times by reporter James Reston. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that acupuncture was "widely" practiced by thousands of doctors, dentists, acupuncturists and other licensed professionals to treat pain and a number of other health conditions. In 2007, a National Health Interview Survey showed that an estimated 3.1 million adults and 150,000 children in the U.S. had been treated with acupuncture in the previous year. American acupuncture practices integrate traditional methods from other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. (Source: nccam.nih.gov)
CANCER PAIN: Cancer pain has many causes. The first comes from the actual cancer itself, which often grows into or kills nearby tissues. When a tumor spreads, pressure is often put on nerves, bones and organs, which can cause a great deal of pain. The second comes from the chemicals excreted by the tumor, which can be painful on the part of the body absorbing them. Another cause is from cancer treatments. Chemotherapy has many painful side effects such as achy mouth sores, diarrhea and damage to the nerves. Radiation can leave a patient with a burning feeling in the treated area, or with painful scars. Surgical procedures are obviously painful as well, often requiring a period of recovery (Source: Mayo Clinic).
ï€ª For More Information, Contact:
Jongbae J. Park, KMD, PhD
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehab
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
(Information provided by Ivanhoe)
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