Mission Hope Cancer Center

A 2000-Year Track Record

The needle stick doesn’t conjure up a feeling of comfort, but a growing body of medical evidence suggested acupuncture—the use of carefully placed needles to promote healing and improve functioning—does help many people. It’s been used for more than 2000 years by the Chinese, and has been growing in popularity in the United States. A national health survey found that more than eight million adults in the United States have used acupuncture to help heal their aches and pains. Acupuncture sends a signal to the body to turn on its own rescue system.

How does it work?
According to Chinese medicine called qi (“chi”) flow through the body across 12 major pathways called meridians. The meridians correspond to specific organs and body functions. Inserting fine needles at specific points (acupoints) along these meridians help to restore the flow of qi. It is believed that the needle stick causes the central nervous system to release morphine-like pain killers called endorphins. It re-regulates the body and can help turn the pain signals off. In general, Chinese medicine places greater emphasis on the close relationship of mind, body, and spirit than standard Western medicine.

According to the National Institute of Health consensus statement on acupuncture, the therapy has showing considerable promise in relieving nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Acupuncture has also been used to help patients in the treatment of depression and headaches.

What to expect: the needles used for acupuncture are only as thick as a single human hair. You may feel a tiny prick as the needles are inserted, but it should not be painful. The needles usually stay in place for five to 20 minutes, depending on your illness. For best results acupuncture can be part of a comprehensive wellness program that includes exercise and healthy diet.

Mission Hope offers acupuncture treatments on Mondays using the community acupuncture model of an open space setting for treatment. Being in the same space with others during treatment may also enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. Some call this the “qi of the community,” and both practitioner and patients benefit from this synergistic healing effect. Participants receive individualized care with respect for the privacy of their personal history. At an appointed time, each person consults quietly with the practitioner followed by treatment in a reclining chair. Donations are suggested. Reservations are required; please call 805.219.HOPE (4673).