Acupuncture for Support During Chemotherapy

Cherry Blossoms

I frequently have new patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or have just started radiation for various types of cancer. They’ve heard that acupuncture can be helpful to support them during chemo—helping with nausea, low energy, and depression. However, it’s more than that, and let me tell you why.

Acupuncture Can Help with the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Acupuncture soothes the GI tract and helps alleviate nausea—even helping to increase appetite. The first ICD-9 (now ICD-10) diagnosis codes that insurance companies covered acupuncture treatment for were nausea during chemotherapy. Some of the first studies done on acupuncture in the United States were surrounding how effective acupuncture is for soothing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy treatment. Researchers found acupuncture to be very effective, and soon insurance companies started covering acupuncture treatment for all types of nausea and vomiting—including morning sickness. 

Acupuncture Helps Relieve Stress and Anxiety

It’s not easy to feel like you’re on borrowed time every day. Each time our patients with cancer have a CT scan, they wonder if anything will light up. Each time labs are drawn, they hold their breath and wonder what the cells in their body are doing. This is part of the effect of cancer and how it can so easily cause anxiety and depression. Acupuncture helps balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. It improves circulation, helps you sleep, and it relieves pain—which can also contribute to anxiety and depression.

Acupuncture Works for Post Chemotherapy Fatigue and Neuropathy

My patients going through chemotherapy and radiation tell me that they have good days and bad days—or even good rounds and not so good rounds. Sometimes they’re completely wiped out for weeks at a time. We use moxibustion and acupuncture to support the Qi and increase energy. We also work on associated pain and side effects such as neuropathy from the chemotherapy. This type of pain can make it hard to sleep and that can increase fatigue even more. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a lot to offer anyone undergoing cancer treatment as supportive care that complements their chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries.

Nutritional Support During Chemotherapy

We also offer nutrition support. Our acupuncturists suggest types of foods and even some recipes that can help build strength but are easy to digest such as congee. Congee and nourishing broths are some of the best foods for those who are suffering from nausea. 

We Want You to Have Mostly Good Days

As you can see, Traditional Chinese Medicine has a lot to offer anyone undergoing cancer treatment as supportive care that complements their chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. We would be honored to be there to support you as part of your care team whether you need help with pain, neuropathy, nausea, anxiety, or anything else. We want to help you feel better and have more good days.

To get started, head to our booking page and schedule your first appointment. If you’d like us to check your insurance benefits, we’d be happy to take care of that for you. We are in-network with CareFirst/BlueCross and Aetna.

About the Author

Elyse Rohrer Budiash, MSOM, Dipl. OM, L.Ac.
Founder & Clinic Director at  
 Learn more about me

Hi! I’m Elyse, the go-getter who founded Cherry Blossom Healing Arts. I’m 100% a healer who loves to help people feel better! I absolutely love practicing acupuncture in Washington, DC.

Cherry Blossom Healing Arts
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