Acupuncture (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Patient Information [NCI] - Overview
- Acupuncture applies needles, heat, pressure, and other treatments to one or more places on the skin known as acupuncture points (see Question 1).
- Acupuncture has been used in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years as part of traditional Chinese medicine (see Question 2).
- Acupuncture has been used in the United States for about 200 years (see Question 2).
- Acupuncture is used to treat many illnesses and ailments and in cancer patients is usually used to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. (see Question 2).
- There is strong evidence from clinical trials that acupuncture relieves nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy (see Question 7).
- Acupuncture may work by causing physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain (see Question 4).
- Laboratory and animal studies of acupuncture for cancer treatment suggest acupuncture can reduce vomiting caused by chemotherapy and may help a person's immune system work better (see Question 6).
- Most acupuncture research with cancer patients studies the use of acupuncture to relieve symptoms caused by cancer treatment (see Question 7).
- It is important that acupuncture treatment be given by a qualified practitioner who uses a new set of disposable (single-use) needles for each patient (see Question 8 ).
WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute
February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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