Acupuncture is a 2500 year health modality from China that involves the use of hair-thin needles to specific points in the body to treat disease. When the needles are inserted into certain areas of the body (known as acupoints), the needles are manipulated to influence the flow of Qi (metabolic functions) and blood. Once the flow Qi and blood is manipulated via the insertion of needles, it affects your nervous system to bring relief from pain. It affects the immune system to fight off illness. Your digestion is also effected thus helping you utilize the nutrients your body needs to carry out its day-to-day activities. This form of medicine is not just used in China but all over the world. It is recognized by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health as a useful modality in treating a wide range of problems from allergies and the common cold to the side-effects of chemotherapy. It is used by many Americans in the treatment of migraine headaches, muscular and skeletal pain, sciatica, psychological diseases, and menstrual irregularities.

The first reason to make acupuncture your choice of treatment is that it uses a holistic view of looking at the body rather than each organ and each disease as a separate entity. When you appear for your first visit, your main complaint is addressed along with your lifestyle, diet, emotional factors, and other signs and symptoms. Even if you have other problems that you think are unrelated to your main complaint, they may likely be a cause or a part of pattern that ultimately relates to the main complaint. For example, if your migraines are not caused by stress or diet, than the root cause could come from menstrual irregularities such as PMS or a previous neck injury due a car accident or sports. Again, instead of treating the symptoms of a particular issue, we look for the root cause to eliminate the problem rather than just masking the issue. Livia Kohn says it best in her book Health and Long Life: The Chinese Way: “…patients seek an integrative approach to health, a methodology that takes their whole being, lifestyle, and social situation into account and that promises long-term relief and a high quality of health.” Acupuncture has proven that it is clinically effective based on scientific and anecdotal evidence. It has been used as a part of China’s training of its athletes back in the summer 2004 Olympics and has been proven to work effectively in alcohol, tobacco, and drug detoxification programs since the late 1970’s at Lincoln Memorial Hospital in New York. Former New York Times correspondent James Reston, had acupuncture treatment for post-operative surgical pain following an appendectomy back in 1971 when he was covering former President Richard Nixon’s visit to China.

Acupuncture also helps you feel better without any side-effects. In today’s healthcare crisis, many of the new medications that have appeared out on the market that have done more harm such as Avandia, Vioxx, Exubera, and others. Even though they are off the market there are many more drugs out there that cause more problems. In the media every time you see an advertisement for new type of medication, you will see at the bottom of the page or your TV screen, “side-effects include nausea, upset stomach, fatigue, drowsiness…,” and the list goes on. These side-effects alone are the number one cause of decreased productivity which leads to missed school and work days.

Lastly, acupuncture has a good cost-to-benefit ratio. Again this brings back to another sector in the current health care crisis which is the rising costs of health care which is leaving so many people in this country unable to afford health insurance. The amount of money spent altogether on health insurance premiums, the doctor’s visits, the co-payments, and the medicines adds up in thousands of dollars. However, acupuncture is an affordable solution to this dilemma since the treatments are economically priced. That alone helps patients save themselves thousands of dollars in the long-term by cutting back on the costs. I have given you many reasons on how acupuncture can help you. It is my honor to present to you the most sophisticated and unrivaled form of medicine to come out of Asia than any other medical system in the world. It is wise venture that meets the demands of the mind and body together.

Fatigue is the most ordinary side effect of breast cancer treatment. A number of doctors approximate that 9 out of 10 people feel fatigue at some point as long as treatment. Fatigue from treatment could come into view rapidly, at any time, and could be overpowering. Rest doesn’t ease fatigue and it could last for months following treatment ends.

Fatigue is a daily lack of energy; an uncommon or excessive whole-body weariness not alleviated by sleep. It could be severe or chronic. Fatigue may put off you from functioning as normal and impacts your quality of life.

Fatigue is difficult to explain. You experience like you don’t have any energy and are weary constantly. But there’s not an exact cause. You haven’t been running errands all day, working out, or doing a number of other strenuous chores. When you’re weary from exertion, if you get sufficient sleep that night, you typically feel better the next day. With fatigue, you experience in general weary constantly and lose interest in family, friends, and things you as normal like to do.

Fatigue is frequently a problem for people with breast cancer, as long as and after treatment. Cancer-related fatigue is more than just being weary; it’s a great sensation of exhaustion and weakness, and it lingers even with proper amounts of sleep. If you suffer such fatigue, keep in mind that you’re not unaccompanied and that it’s a legitimate aspect of cancer. Even though there’s no method to assess fatigue by a blood test or X-ray, your symptoms are real, and you deserve support as you deal with them.

A University of Nebraska Medical Center study has discovered that even before women with breast cancer undertake chemotherapy, they suffer fatigue and troubles in sleep and activity levels. Researchers utter their discoveries put forward health professionals ought to address fatigue following breast cancer surgery.

Researchers state that controlling fatigue following surgery — before beginning chemotherapy — is significant since fatigue usually increases as long as chemotherapy. Between 70 to 95 percent of breast cancer patients suffer fatigue while undertaking chemotherapy.

The analysis was issued in the current issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Having studied 130 women with early stage breast cancer (stage I, II, IIIA), it the largest analysis to authenticate the prevalence of fatigue linked with altered sleep and activity patterns prior to chemotherapy treatment. The data corroborates what was reported in a preceding smaller study supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Physical Benefits

Aerobic Capacity

Aerobic activities utilize major muscle groups, are rhythmic in nature and are slow enough to allow the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the exercising muscles. They may be done as part of a warm-up or lead in to other activities or more as a “stand alone” activity. As part of a warm-up, some form of aerobic activity should be done prior to flexibility and resistance exercises. Examples include walking, cycling and swimming. The use of aerobic exercises approximately 20-30 minutes a day, several times a week have been shown to minimize the effects of fatigue, nausea and depression for many cancer patients. The increased circulation will also assist in the removal of waste products due to the effects of chemotherapy or radiation.


Balance exercises may improve balance that may be due to a loss of muscle mass or neurological damage such as neuropathy.

Bone Density

Moderate weight bearing exercise such as walking or lifting weights will minimize the loss of bone density that may result from metastasis to the bones or from the use of hormone therapy such as estrogen therapy for prostate cancer or tamoxifen for breast cancer.


Fatigue or what is known as cancer related fatigue (CRF) is very common occurrence during the treatment and post treatment phase. A spiralling effect often occurs whereby an individual becomes less physically active and deconditioned. The individual therefore loses strength and does less. Aerobic and resistance exercises have been shown to intervene in this cycle with less fatigue on the part of the patient.


Flexibility is often lost as a result of scarring of the connective tissue or skin related to surgery or radiation, as well as the shortening of muscles due to inactivity. Stretching prior to exercise such as after a warm shower or a daily walk is suggested. Stretching at the end of an exercise session is also an ideal time as muscles have been warmed up and are more pliable. Stretch slowly not using too much momentum or bouncing types of movement when stretching. Lifting weights slowly through a complete range of motion will often increase flexibility.


Many cancer patients lose strength simply due to a lack of use. This is common in breast cancer where patients are afraid to lift objects with an affected arm. Moderate strength or resistance training will assist in maintaining strength which is essential in performing daily activities such as carrying groceries or raking the leaves.

Weight Management

Some cancer patients gain weight due to inactivity and hormone treatment. Those with advanced cancer often experience severe weight loss or cachexia due to the loss of fat and muscle. Aerobic activities will assist in the management of weight gain while light resistance exercise will maintain some degree of muscle mass for those experiencing cachexia. Exercise may also stimulate one’s appetite which is often lost during chemotherapy.

Increased Tolerance of Treatment

While exercise will, unfortunately, not cure cancer its therapeutic effects will often allow for a greater tolerance of treatment. Greater adherence to one’s treatment regimen may, in turn, increase the likelihood of recovery. A common mistake for those undergoing treatment is waiting to feel better before beginning to exercise or stated differently, “waiting to get better, to get better” thereby delaying the recovery process and a return to their former self

Psychological Benefits


Whether due to a “time-out” effect, biochemical changes or the increased body temperature of exercise exerting a calming effect, many symptoms of anxiety such as muscle tension or sleeplessness can be reduced or managed by moderate aerobic activity or by the slow meditative movements of the Eastern traditions such as Tai Chi.


Loss of control and identity is commonly associated with cancer diagnosis. Many of the physical benefits of exercise enable one to perform activities of daily living (ADL) and gain a greater sense of control and identity.


Whether biochemical in nature or by gaining a measure of control, exercise has been shown to reduce depression that is commonly associated with cancer.


For many, exercise classes may become an informal support group. Indeed, it may be said that exercise classes are often support groups for those who dislike traditional support groups. They may also provide needed structure and interaction for those who are not working and feel a sense of isolation.

Appropriate exercise should not be seen as something that is done only when you feel better or “waiting to get better to get better.” Rather, you will feel better once you become active once more.

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