A recent meta-analysis finds evidence that acupuncture is effective in controlling cancer related symptoms such as pain, nausea, depression, insomnia, vomiting, anxiety and dry mouth. The researchers of this study noted that acupuncture used in the field of oncology requires a “constant dialog” between acupuncturists and other treating physicians for improved clinical outcomes.
Our acupuncturist, Tom Kiroplis, has many years of experience treating cancer patients and communicates on an ongoing basis with the oncologist.
Physiologically, acupuncture activates neural, endocrine and immunological regulation.
Additionally, it regulates the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, which are often closely compared to yin and yang. The research team also noted that acupuncture regulates the immune system in part by stimulating leukocytes, both granulocytes and lymphocytes. This is accomplished through stimulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Additional research has shown that acupuncture benefits both T-lymphocyte and Natural Killer cell (NK cell) function.
Cancer patients should have access to an appropriate level of rehabilitation so that they can function at a minimum level of dependency and experience an optimal quality of life.
By working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, the Physiotherapist’s will set realistic goals with their patient-centered, problem solving approach. The experienced physiotherapist anticipates and prepares for potential disease progression and facilitates independence.
Physiotherapy and oncology focuses on the care and treatment of a wide range of physical problems which may result from the illness or its treatment. They are uniquely placed to encourage patients in developing a positive approach to living with illness and/or the effects of treatment and thereby impacting constructively on well-being and quality of life.
Physiotherapists, as experts in human movement, have a key role in advising patients on suitable exercise programs and monitoring their progress at all stages of their illness.
To address pain, a range of interventions can be used by the Physiotherapist and include:
- therapeutic exercise,
- graded and purposeful activity,
- postural reeducation,
- massage and soft tissue mobilization,
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- and simple heat and cold packs.