The Complementary Medical Association

Delivering excellence in complementary medicine since 1993

Acupuncture and acupressure to alleviate pain and anxiety during cancer surgery

Acupuncture needles in a bowl surrounded by fresh leaves
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Acupuncture and acupressure to alleviate pain and anxiety during cancer surgery

A fascinating study has highlighted the potential of acupressure and acupuncture to tackle anxiety and pain associated with ovarian or endometrial cancer surgery. The combination could provide a comprehensive approach in preparing patients for what lies ahead, while helping them cope more effectively during their procedure.

This study investigated the impact of preoperative acupressure and acupuncture on 99 patients with gynaecological cancer. 45 participants in Group A were treated with both acupressure-related touch/relaxation treatments before surgery, as well as points selected for their potential to ease pain during anesthesia; 25 individuals in Group B received only preoperative Acupressure treatments while 29 people in group C received standard care alone. After undergoing treatment, all subjects participated by filling out a survey that measured various quality of life responses such assessment levels related to anxiety or pain levels post-treatment.

Postoperative scores demonstrated that Groups A and B had a much more positive recovery than Group C. In particular, Group A had noticeably higher scores related to severe pain compared to the controls. Furthermore, both intervention groups displayed marked improvements in their anxiety and depression levels when measured against controls.

“The inclusion of preoperative integrative medical touch and relaxation therapies for anxiety, along with intraoperative acupuncture for pain and other quality of life-related concerns, should be considered for patients undergoing gynecological oncology surgery,” said study leader Dr. Ben-Arye. “Training in such ‘integrative oncology’ is needed for complementary medicine providers, acupuncturists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and operating room nurses, who need to work together and communicate with integrative oncology practitioners in the complex operating room setting.” 

Integrative oncology is becoming more widely accepted in Western medicine, with evidence mounting that supports covering these treatments like acupuncture. While larger studies are still necessary to confirm the findings thus far, an editorial accompanying this research has pushed for reimbursement of such interventions.

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