This 4000-year-old Chinese therapy
clobbers cancer pain!
April 1st, 2012 by Holly Cornish
Under normal circumstances you might not consider poking your body with dozens of needles for pain relief!
But the tiny, sterile needles used in acupuncture treatments may interest you if you’re open to complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) to battle cancer. I’m a long-term fan of acupuncture for a whole array of health conditions. I do it for general well-being.
What can it do for cancer? A lot. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more.
But first, I’m proud to announce we’ve just published a new Special Report called The 31-Day Home Cancer Cure. It’s a quick summary of a new plan for beating cancer, written by a top cancer expert. He’s spent years studying the subject, and this report is confined to the very best things a cancer patient can do on his own. More details on this new Special Report are in the sidebar just below, or you can click here.
Main article continued below. . .
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The strongest proof of acupuncture’s positive effects comes from dozens of clinical trials that show the treatment relieves nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and surgery.
In one multi-facet study1 published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 130 patients receiving chemotherapy reported nausea and vomiting after treatment. Study patients then received acupuncture treatment prior to receiving additional chemotherapy drugs.
Researchers were amazed to find a whopping 97 percent of patients reported either NO sickness or a considerable reduction in illness after receiving acupuncture treatments! And as a bonus—they reported no side effects from the acupuncture!
Other studies that combined acupuncture treatment with vitamin B6 injections produced even greater relief for patients treated with chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. And that’s not all…
Some studies demonstrated that acupuncture can even relieve the hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer.
It might surprise you to know that even conventional medical practitioners and the federal government agree that acupuncture is helpful for relieving cancer symptoms, including treatment-related side effects like nausea and vomiting. People also seek out acupuncture for relief from fatigue and pain associated with the treatments and with cancer itself.
In fact, a recent study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine suggests it may ease the severe nerve pain caused by chemotherapy drugs.
Check this out…
Numbness and nerve pain knocked out!
Researchers at the HanseMerkur Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University Medical Centre in Hamburg conducted a pilot study on the effects of acupuncture on chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN for short.
CIPN is pain in the arms or legs. It can vary from mere tingling or numbness all the way to shooting or burning pain, or sharp stabbing pain. It affects about 30 to 40 percent of chemotherapy patients. The National Cancer Institute’s website describes it as one of the most common reasons patients quit chemotherapy (maybe not a bad idea, but I’ll leave that aside for now).
A doctor with 20 years experience administering acupuncture treated patients who developed CIPN while undergoing chemotherapy for various types of cancer. Six of 11 patients agreed to undergo acupuncture while the other five served as a comparison group.
Preliminary exams on the 11 patients showed they all experienced numbness on touch and nerve pain. What’s more, nerve conduction studies showed proof of damage to the sural nerve that runs from the knee down the leg and into the foot.
The doctor inserted 20 needles at specific points and depths that were left in place for 20 minutes during each of 10 sessions. The six patients received the treatments over a period of three months. The results?
Five out of the six patients reported improved speed and intensity of nerve signaling, compared to the group that did not receive acupuncture.
The study authors said results from this small preliminary study suggest acupuncture may boost blood flow to the legs, thereby helping to repair nerve damage.
The “what,” “how” and “why”
of acupuncture treatment
What is it?
Acupuncture is just one therapy that forms part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This system suggests that your body’s vital energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”), flows along channels called meridians. This energy keeps your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance.
The goal of TCM is to restore natural balance and harmony to your body, which promotes healthy energy flow and helps prevent disease. In addition to acupuncture, TCM may also focus on diet, exercise, herbal therapy, massage and meditation.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of acupuncture needles by licensed practitioners in 1996. As of 2010, there were roughly 18,000 licensed practitioners in the United States.
But long before acupuncture received the FDA golden seal—a 4000-year-old Chinese medical book described it as an effective treatment for various medical problems.
How does it work?
According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture targets certain places on the skin called acupoints to unblock your energy flow. Acupoints are places where the meridians come to the surface of the body. You can think of meridians as rivers of energy that run through the body.
TCM can identify more than 2,000 acupoints on your body, with specific acupoints related to each condition that may require treatment.
There are two general approaches to acupuncture. In the first, a large number of needles are inserted at once and left in place for perhaps 15 to 30 minutes. In the other (the kind I receive), one needle is inserted at a time and removed immediately. The needle is under the skin for only a second or two, and the practitioner may treat as few as five or six points in a session. In fact, the practitioner may treat only one point in a session, and the results can still be remarkable.
Does it hurt? Glad you asked. . .
If you can’t stand needles…
If you’re thinking the needles might hurt, don’t be discouraged! Most people report feeling very minimal to no pain associated with the thin acupuncture needles. I’ve gone to a “one-needle-at-a-time” acupuncturist regularly for more than 30 years and I can tell you the pain doesn’t amount to anything.
I’ve also received the type of acupuncture where a large number of needles are inserted at once and left there. Odd as it may sound, lying there with a large number of needles stuck in me didn’t bother me at all. If I can take it, I guarantee you can.
Acupuncture needles are nothing like the syringes used to vaccinate people or inject medicines. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin. After they’re withdrawn you can’t even tell where they were inserted.
But if you just can’t stand the sight of ’em—there’s always acupressure. Some people say this treatment is acupuncture minus the needles!
Acupressure practitioners use principles of acupuncture, but use fingers or other body parts and devices to touch or apply pressure to the acupoints. This therapy may also involve massage, stretching and other methods to help restore energy flow throughout your body.
While not scientifically proven to relieve the side effects of cancer treatments, accupressure can reduce stress and relieve pain that may be associated with illness.
There are two related procedures you might encounter:
- Sonopuncture—instead of using needles, a practitioner applies an ultrasound device to transmit sound waves to your body’s acupoints; sonopuncture is sometimes used with other vibration devices to treat many of the same disorders as acupuncture.
- Electroacupuncture—an enhanced version of traditional acupuncture that uses electrical charges, with or without needles, to stimulate acupoints; electroacupuncture devices are used for diagnosis or testing
In short, you’ve got a lot of different options. So why not consider this ancient Chinese secret when choosing among alternative cancer therapies? After all, 4,000 years of ancient wisdom is worth a second glance!
Of course, there are natural supplements that also give excellent pain relief. In our last issue, we wrote about three of the best. If you missed it, you can scroll down and read it now.
3 Proven Herbs for Managing
and Healing Cancer Pain
The chronic pain that accompanies a disease like cancer goes beyond physical discomfort. In the worst cases, it’s relentless and can swallow up your whole life. All you can think about is the pain.
Even when it’s caused by some other health problem, like arthritis or allergies, chronic pain can be so devastating that many experts now consider it a condition in itself that needs treating. So what’s the best thing to do? Here’s what I think. . .
Continued below. . .
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I can agree wholeheartedly: When you’re in severe pain, getting rid of the symptom becomes job #1. You’ll worry about the cause later. But that attitude is hazardous because most pain drugs are damaging. It’s especially important to find natural ways to deal with pain.
For ages, there’s been a disparity in understanding cancer pain. Too many patients receive morphine as medicine’s knee-jerk reaction to cancer pain. In some cases doctors prescribe morphine when the pain is only moderate.
So, there are two things I want to share with you today. The first is the importance of understanding and getting control over your pain — that’s key. Second, I want to tell you about three proven herbs that are worth looking into.
Here’s why conventional medicine can’t solve this problem
The pain that comes from cancer often starts with the cancer itself. Tumors can put pressure on bones or organs, or even nerves. But pain doesn’t always come from the physical presence of cancer. Chemicals secreted by a tumor can also create a lot of pain. This is a case where you want a root-cause solution, not just something to mask the problem.
And then, of course, it must be said that conventional treatment often causes additional pain. Surgery is painful, radiation can cause burning sensations, and chemotherapy introduces a host of painful side effects that include nerve damage and mouth sores.
Along with that, too many conventional doctors treat cancer pain with opioid (opium-derived) medications like codeine and morphine. Or they tell patients to take large doses of OTC drugs like aspirin or acetaminophen.
It goes without saying that conventional medicine doesn’t offer long-term pain relief. Too often, the approach is to suppress the pain without addressing the cause, using medications that cause devastating side effects.
Just look at opioid painkillers. They cause constipation, sedation, and possible addiction. Typically, it takes larger and larger doses to do the job as the patient develops a tolerance for the drug. NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen carry the danger of gastrointestinal bleeding. They are, in fact, a leading cause of ulcers and death.
Acetaminiophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) damages the liver. Acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory and in my view is the least satisfactory solution to pain. It’s of no benefit at all in treating the underlying condition, whether it be cancer, arthritis, allergies or something else.
3 herbs for the treatment of cancer-related pain
A lot of folks are open to natural pain relief, but that poses a different problem. There are quite a few supplements to choose from and it can be hard to know what to do. The good news is that it’s generally safe to try two, three, five or as many different ones as you like. You can take them all together.
Many supplements are effective in pain suppression, without side effects, or with only mild side effects. Some even work to treat the cancer source itself. Most of the helpful herbs for the treatment of pain have anti-inflammatory properties that work by blocking the enzymes that trigger swelling and subsequent pain.
#1: Turmeric extract
Turmeric comes from Indonesia and South India. It’s well-known as a main spice for curry. It’s also commonly found in Indian food, usually either in curry powder or yellow mustard.
Curcumin is an extract from the turmeric root. If you were to take pure turmeric powder, curcumin would comprise about three percent of it.
Both turmeric and the curcumin extract have anti-inflammatory properties and potent antioxidant properties. Curcumin in particular is credited with anti-cancer properties, including the ability to reduce pain and slow deterioration in the body. (Just so you know, morphine and NSAIDs are NOT antioxidants!)
This anti-inflammatory herb is able to search for and destroy free radicals in your body that cause pain. According to a study by the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center in New York, turmeric proved to be more precise (not to mention safer!) than aspirin when it came to stopping inflammation. It works by shutting down the COX2 enzyme that causes pain.
In general, turmeric does a good job of substituting for NSAIDs. I take a curcumin supplement and I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to drastically reduce my use of ibuprofen for the occasional sinus headache.
To get ideal levels of curcumin, you need to eat a moderate amount of turmeric. Eating an Indian diet with lots of curried dishes is one way to do it. Some people also recommend turmeric tea (I haven’t tried it). Otherwise, supplements are a good source. Look for a supplement brand with the highest percent of curcumin extract.
By the way, turmeric appears to have no adverse side effects.
Papain is an enzyme found in papaya fruit. Specifically, it’s a proteolytic enzyme derived from the sappy, milk-like latex that comes from unripe papaya skins. That latex is dried and made into a powder.
Papain has been shown to attack tumor cells. It’s also effective at boosting your immune system. It works by breaking down proteins, though its mechanism of action isn’t fully understood.
In animal studies, papain has also been shown to work as a shield against the damaging effects of radiation.
Papain is often administered topically but can also be taken as a supplement when it comes to pain management. Topical creams are used to treat painful problems like bed sores, burns, and surgical wounds.
As for side effects, some people report of gastrointestinal distress while taking oral papain, and topical remedies have been reported to occasionally prompt a mild burning sensation.
Bromelain is another enzyme (made from pineapples) that’s an effective natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, although I don’t know that it has the specific anti-tumor and radiation-protective benefits found in papain.
You can easily buy papain and bromelain in supplement stores, either separately or together in one pill.
#3. Ginger extract
Ginger is a well-known natural treatment for nausea, but it also reduces pain and inflammation.
It works thanks to the ability to lower your number of prostaglandins, the messenger molecules that tell you when you’re in pain (sometimes you’d prefer not to know!)
Some studies show that ginger also helps reduce the nausea and discomfort associated with chemotherapy.
Ginger is extremely versatile as a food. Ginger products come from fresh or dried ginger root, and you can get the herb in capsule form, tinctures, extracts, and oils. You can also grate the fresh root as a spice for food, or prepare it as tea.
Side effects are rare unless you take ginger in incredibly high, unwarranted doses.
You deserve natural pain relief
If anything, remember this: The benefits of natural pain management extend far beyond just relieving your pain. They also give you emotional relief and satisfaction. Because really, if you’re dealing with consistent pain over time, you’ll likely have less tolerance for the side effects that come from traditional pain medicines.
Turning to pain-relieving herbs like the ones listed above means you don’t have to just “deal” with the pain — you can lessen it or get rid of it completely, and without side effects.
And here’s one more benefit. Herbs make it easy to spruce up meals. They motivate you to look into fresh or new recipes. They’re a simple, beneficial way to bring some fun back into your life if you or a loved one is facing cancer.
I generally find that pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory supplements don’t pack the wallop of drugs — and certainly not of morphine — but they can greatly reduce your need for medication. They have the advantage that you can take them all the time, they aren’t addictive, and they have a whole range of benefits the drugs don’t have.
Enzymes, for example, are one of the most beneficial nutrients you can take. To tout them as pain-relievers is to miss 90 percent of the story. They have powerful anticancer effects, and provide a boost to your circulation. Some people have reported that merely taking bromelain brought down their cholesterol and enabled them to dodge their doctors who were pressuring them to take statin drugs.
Almost EVERYONE should take enzyme supplements, as I recommended in my Special Report The Missing Ingredient for Good Health.
Lee Euler Publisher