Acupuncture is a key form of alternative medical care derived from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the body at various “acupuncture points;” acupuncture can also incorporate the use of heat, pressure, or laser light directed at the same points.

Currently treatments for Mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer, include surgical intervention, chemotherapy, and radiation. Increasingly, however, those suffering from Mesothelioma are considering utilizing acupuncture as a natural way to control symptomatic pain prior to or in conjunction with standard treatment.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is the national government agency charged with investigating complementary and alternative medicine. According to the NCCIH, acupuncture is part of TCM that dates back thousands of years. Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital reports that acupuncture may help control a number of side-effects from cancer in some people, including pain, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting. Indeed, although research regarding the efficacy of acupuncture in relieving pain is ongoing, the NCCIH has said that a systematic review that combined data from 11 clinical trials with more than 1,200 participants suggested that acupuncture may help with certain symptoms associated with cancer treatments.

As always, you should consult with your doctor before undertaking acupuncture or any other alternative remedy. It is important to be aware that if used improperly, acupuncture may cause serious issues, such as infections and the puncture of organs. Therefore, if you choose to use acupuncture, make sure you visit a well-trained, experienced acupuncturist who uses sterilized needles. Your doctor may be able to recommend a reputable acupuncturist for you to visit.