Health

Acupuncture and Acupressure Can Help Ease Pain – Including Cancer Pain

So Can Acupuncture And Acupressure Replace Opioids? Once professionals started to realize that acupuncture and acupressure gave people the same relief as opioids, they began to… Trista - January 30, 2020
One day, acupuncture and acupressure might replace opioids. Pixabay.

So Can Acupuncture And Acupressure Replace Opioids?

Once professionals started to realize that acupuncture and acupressure gave people the same relief as opioids, they began to wonder if the therapies can replace medication. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many studies completed that will prove these therapies can replace opioids. The study looked at this topic showed that the treatments could replace opioids. However, there is still a lot of research and analysis to inform a valid conclusion.

However, some people choose to use acupuncture or acupressure instead of opioids. Many professionals state that most people in the United States feel optimistic when looking at using acupuncture instead of opioids when they hear about the research. With the growing opioid crisis, more people are turning to other methods of pain relief.

In acupuncture, China uses wider needles than Japan. Pixabay.

Different Cultures Use Acupuncture Therapy In Different Ways

Acupuncture therapy started in China thousands of years ago. Over the course of centuries, other countries heard about the treatment and started using it. Other than China, Japan started to use therapy for several reasons. However, this doesn’t mean that everything remained the same during the growth of acupuncture. For instance, the Japanese decided to use smaller needles than the Chinese did during their therapies. The Chinese also decided to turn or twist the needles while they are sitting on their patient. They also tried adding heat to the sight to decrease the pain further.

Even with the few changes, many factors remained the same. Both China and Japan decided to use between four to ten needles in one location. The needles stay pierced for about 10 to 30 minutes. During the process, the patient is resting comfortably as they start to feel their pain subside.

When you start looking for the best acupuncturist for you, you need to make sure that they know and understand how to perform the therapy for your safety. Pixabay.

What Is The Best Advice For You If You Want To Try Acupuncture?

By now, you might be thinking about trying acupuncture and acupressure. Whether you want to try these therapies because you are in pain, fighting cancer, or for another reason, there is a lot of valuable advice you can follow from people who use these therapies.

First, you need to make sure that you seek someone who clearly understands acupuncture and is trained in the profession. This might be easier in some areas than others, but you always need to remember your safety. You can be harmed through acupuncture therapy if the person doesn’t follow the guidelines. Some states require that acupuncturists have a certificate or license. Do a little research in your state and see what its requirements are and make sure that the professional you choose follows these laws.

One study proves that acupressure eased several symptoms with breast cancer patients. Pixabay.

Breast Cancer Survivors Report Improvements With Many Symptoms Because Of Acupuncture

Recently, researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center conducted a study that proves acupressure therapy helped improve many symptoms of breast cancer for several patients. The symptoms that the treatment improved include anxiety, poor sleep, depression, and pain. These symptoms accompany chronic fatigue, which means that improving these symptoms improved fatigue.

In the study, the women learned where the acupoints were on their bodies so they could perform the therapy themselves. After weeks of treatment, the women began reporting that they felt less tired, didn’t suffer from as much pain, and felt psychologically better.

Over half of the participants in the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center Study reported less than three regular symptoms of breast cancer while using acupressure therapy. Pixabay.

Acupuncture Helped Ease Symptoms For Over Half Of The Participants Of The Study

Over 420 women participated in the study and used acupressure as a form of pain management therapy. Every week, the women checked in with the conductors of the study. They answered questions such as fatigue, pain, and other symptoms they felt over the past week. Each week, over half of the women reported fewer symptoms. About half of the women said less than three traits. In contrast, a little under half of the women experienced one or two symptoms.

According to medical professionals, it is unusual for women with breast cancer to not show the regular symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, and pain. When it came to showing all of the symptoms, about 17% of women stated that acupressure did not ease any of their symptoms.

You will have a choice to pick between three acupuncture methods during treatment. Pixabay.

There Are Three Main Methods Of Acupuncture Therapy

When you are about to get acupuncture therapy, there are three methods that you should understand, so you know which one is best for you. Of course, your acupuncturist should discuss these methods with you and help you know which one you should use. The first method is known as electrical stimulation. This is when the needles receive electrical impulses of different wave forms and frequencies through a handheld device.

The second method is manual stimulation, which is the most common method as the professional will twist the needles themselves. The third method is when the acupuncturist applies heat with the needles through a dried herb that is burned on top of the needles. Another way to apply pressure is to use infrared technology to heat the needles before they are placed on your body.

Always talk to your primary care physician before you take acupuncture therapy to make sure you don’t have a condition that can worsen with treatment. Pixabay.

When Should You Not Consider Acupuncture Therapy?

There are conditions that you need to make sure you don’t have before you decide to use acupuncture therapy. While you can use acupressure therapy with some of these conditions, it is best that you talk to your regular doctor along with an acupuncturist to ensure the procedure is safe for you. If you have a bleeding disorder or have a problem with your blood clotting, you should not consider acupuncture because it is easy to bleed from the needles.

People who have a low white blood cell count should not use this type of therapy as it can easily give them an infection. Anyone who had lymphedema, removal of lymph nodes, should not use this type of treatment because there is a higher chance for an infection.

Stainless steel wasn’t always the go-to choice to make needles. Pixabay.

The First Needles For Acupuncture Therapy Were Made Of Stone

When the Chinese first developed acupuncture therapy, they didn’t use stainless steel to make the needles. Instead, they used stone, bone, or bamboo to make the needles. Part of this was because they didn’t have the technology to turn stainless steel into needles.

Another part of this is because nearly 3,000 years ago, most objects were made out of bone, stone, or bamboo. Needless to say, needles today look incredibly different from thousands of years ago. In fact, the needles you see at the doctor’s office are about the thickness of two human hairs and disposable.

The acupuncturist should conduct a short physical examination before performing acupuncture. Pixabay.

Before Any Acupuncturist Performs The Therapy On You, The Need To Know About Your Health

If you are thinking about getting acupuncture therapy, the first step you want to take is to contact your primary doctor. They will talk to you a bit about the treatment and perform a physical examination so you can be sure that you don’t have anything that might cause a problem.

On top of this, your acupuncturist should make sure that you are healthy by reading any physical examination results and performing their own short physical examination. They won’t be as thorough as your primary care physician. However, they will look at your tongue and feel your pulse to make sure that you are healthy enough or get an idea of your health condition.

Your acupoints for a cold are different from your points for another illness. Pixabay.

Acupuncture And Acupressure Therapy Are Different For Everyone

While the results might be similar between people who receive acupressure or acupuncture therapy, the acupoints on your body are different. For instance, if there are 25 people in a room ready to receive acupuncture therapy, all 25 people can have different acupoints on their bodies.

Therefore, you should not perform a Google search to look for the best acupoints on you because there is really no way to tell without talking to a professional. Your points will also depend on what type of treatment you are looking for. For instance, the points for a cold are different than if you are trying to ease pain from cancer.

Pain is not the only symptom that acupressure and acupuncture will ease. Pixabay. .

Acupuncture And Acupressure Can Ease Over 200 Symptoms and Diseases

Pain is not the only symptom that acupuncture or acupressure ease. In fact, according to professionals and studies, there are around 200 symptoms and diseases that are eased by the therapies. The World Health Organization states in a report titled Acupuncture: Review of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials. In this report, it is noted that these therapies help people who suffer from headaches, allergic rhinitis, depression, low back pain, side effects of chemotherapy, and induction of labor.

Of course, there are dozens more. There are so many that the US National Institutes of Health states that they are proposing acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention for medicine.

The United States started to note the benefits of acupuncture therapy in 1972 because Nixon took a trip to China. Pixabay.

You Can Thank President Nixon and a Reporter for People Becoming More Interested In Acupuncture and Acupressure Across the United States

In 1972, United States President Nixon traveled to China with a reporter who started to have post-surgery pain. The pain became so intense that the Nixon administration needed to bring him to doctors in China to see if there was any way they could decrease his discomfort. Chinese knew that the best option was acupuncture, which they performed on the reporter.

When the reporter returned to the United States, he wrote about his encounter with acupuncture therapy. He told anyone who was having post-surgery pain from an appendectomy to try acupuncture as it helped him better than any medications.

Sources
“Acupuncture and Acupressure May Ease Pain Associated with Cancer.” Tony Hicks, Healthline. December 2019.
“Relieving pain with acupuncture” Harvard Health Publishing.
“Why Does Acupuncture Work?” Sid Lipsey, WebMD.
“Study: Acupuncture Eases Low Back Pain.” Salynn Boyles, WebMD. September 2007.
“How Acupuncture Eases Pain.” Sarah Lewis, Healthgrades. May 2019.
“Can Acupuncture Help Relieve Cancer Pain and Other Side Effects?” Scott Ling, Cancer, net. November 2016.
“Acupressure Relieves Breast Cancer Treatment Symptoms, Study Finds.” Nicole Fawcett, Health Lab. January 2019.
“10 Facts About Acupuncture.” Kim Hennessee, Mend.
“What is the theory behind acupressure?” Tyler Wheeler, WebMD. October 2019.
“Acupressure Points: How Do They Work in Massage?” Emmanuel Rodriguez, Acupuncture Massage College. August 2016.

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