Two reviews released late last year reference Chinese medicine as a possible adjunctive therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Lung cancer guidelines released by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) endorse massage and acupuncture as integrative therapies that can be used while patients are being treated with conventional Western medicine.Â The ACCP states that massage can help relieve pain and anxiety.Â The organization recommends acupuncture for:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Fatigue
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Shortness of breath
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Pain
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Nausea and Vomiting
A separate analysis done by Cochrane Systematic Review shows preliminary evidence that Chinese herbal medicine may be helpful for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.Â The review looked at the safety and effectiveness of using Chinese herbal medicine to help protect women’s bone marrow and immune systems, and improve quality of life issues (such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue).
The World Health Organization also suggests acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced nausea.
It is important to recognize that these studies advocate acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as supplements to standard Western medical care.Â As with any serious illness, patients with cancer should undergo a complete assessment and develop a treatment plan with their primary care physician and appropriate oncology specialists.
It seems that the 2008 cold season is not over, with another severe bout making its rounds through the population.Â A study by researchers in the Czech Republic may offer some hope for cold sufferers.Â
The study, done in the winter of 2006, examined 390 children with typical cold and flu symptoms, including stuffy and runny noses and sore throats.Â All of the children in the study were offered standard medical care, such as decongestant medication.Â Some of the children were also given a saline nasal spray several times per day.Â
The children who received the nasal wash had significantly less severe cold symptoms, used less medication, and missed fewer days of school.Â Â
Doctors are not certain how the saline spray may work.
Since this study only involved children, it may not be applicable to adults.Â The other limitation is that it was sponsored by the same company that manufactures the saline.Â
On the positive side, this may be evidence of a completely natural treatment for cold symptoms.Â I often recommend nasal washes like Sinucleanse to my patients who suffer from nasal discomfort, colds, and allergies.
Here’s another incentive to maintain a positive outlook on life; you might just boost your heart health.
Researchers are looking for the reason that happy and optimistic people are often healthier.Â A recent study done at University College London found that men and women who were upbeat tended to have less cortisol production, and women had lower levels of inflammatory proteins in their bloodstream.
Cortisol is a hormone that can be released in the body when someone is under stress.Â It has been connected to health problems such as high cholesterol.Â Chronic inflammation in the body has also been linked to heart disease.
In some instances, happy people also lead healthier lifestyles.
Interestingly, traditional Chinese medicine theory believes that joy is the emotion that most directly impacts the heart organ.
After reviewing 15 controlled studies, researchers at Duke University concluded that acupuncture is beneficial for pain relief from surgery.Â
The study found that patients who received acupuncture before or during surgical procedures experienced substantial benefits compared to the control groups.Â These included:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Less pain
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A smaller amount of pain medication required
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Fewer side effects from medication, such as nausea and dizziness
You can read the full article at Reuters.Â A similar study found that massage may also help with post-surgical pain.
I treat patients in the weeks and days before surgery, as well as afterwards.Â I find that, in addition to pain relief, acupuncture treatments help to reduce anxiety prior to surgery and boost energy levels after.