When I was in chemo I tried nearly every holistic and western medical treatment. Yoga? Of course. Poison? You bet. Steroids? If you think so. Massage? Oh twist my arm. Vitamins? Definitely. Chi gong? Sure, sure. I was live experimentation at its best. When I started chemo I went to an acupuncturist and my sessions seemed fine, restful enough, and pleasant but I didn’t know if they were helping because I had nothing to compare them too. I’d never had chemo without acupuncture. Then my practitioner moved away.

I didn’t feel much worse for the next few weeks. Then I started seeing Darin at Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center. He was highly recommended and specializes in the treatment of cancer patients. I entered his office in the midst of weeks of terrible insomnia. When I left I was hardly able to drive home I was so sleepy (I’m just gonna rest myzzzzzzzsnort). At home, I crawled into bed and slept for hours. And that wasn’t the only change. My nausea wasn’t gone but it felt lighter, less crushing. I felt… Better. I have been a believer in acupuncture and a loyal follower ever since.

Since then several studies have come out testing acupuncture and nausea. This one was released around 2000 and found that “Seven of the 8 patients responded to the addition of acupuncture to control nausea and vomiting. These patients generally were able to tolerate additional courses of chemotherapy.” 

This year Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit ran a test on women with hormone positive breast cancer that compared acupuncture to the drug Effexor, an anti-depressant that has been shown to reduce hot flashes. Acupuncture worked as well as Effexor at reducing hot flashes, but with fewer side effects. Women receiving the acupuncture treatments reported more energy and a better sex drive than women taking the drug.

I still see Darin every few months to help me with ongoing problems like hot flashes and anemia. This year Darin was featured in Seattle Metropolitan’s Top Docs issue in the field of acupuncture. I couldn’t be more proud.  When we see each other we still need a good 20 minutes to chatter and get all caught up before the session starts. He has to see pictures of Josie and I have to hear stories about his dog – a great dane named after the Easter bunny who has her own facebook page and says things like I can touch my eyeball with my tongue. Maybe it’s the dog stories, maybe it’s the needles, or maybe it’s both these things, all I know is that when I leave his office I always feel better.

3 thoughts on “Accupuncture

  1. Barb

    Love this story. And it reminds me that after Baby is born I need to make time to find a new acupuncturist. I worked for 3 months with a acupuncturist with fertility expertise when I was trying to conceive Sam, and I couldn’t believe how my world seemed to change after just one or two treatments. I remember walking out of her office into the sunshine on Lake Street in Minneapolis and feeling like the whole world had changed. Everything was calmer yet more vivid, more centered and more grounded yet more beautiful. Balance. I saw her religiously every Saturday after that until she found an extra reverberation in the middle pulse on my right wrist and she told me she didn’t want to risk harming the baby.

    When I went to a different acupuncturist where I now live when I was trying to conceive my second child, the experience was not the same and I gave up on it right away.

    But your post reminds me of how important it was to me, how much it helped me. This morning after reading an article about being a mom and balancing our needs versus our children’s needs, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I need in my life that I have been denying myself. Maybe it’s time to look for a new acupuncturist.

    THANKS again for a brilliant post.

  2. Tami

    Well that’s amazing and encouraging! Acupuncture works as well as drugs?! Don’t tell Pfizer, for heaven’s sake.

  3. danny

    Thanks for sharing the articles and research…
    I have been a firm believer and receiver of accupuncture for about 10 years, for stress, depression, acid reflux and various other things – i think it’s the best. Glad to see western medical science acknowledging 2000 years of study.

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