Acupuncture Doesn't Just Help Cancer Patients, But Caregivers Too

Learning that a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer can be one of the most difficult things for someone to experience. It not only changes the life for the person who is fighting the battle themselves, but it can radically alter the life of those closes to them.

Depending on each situation, close family or friends may have to take a lot of time out of their schedule to help care for their loved one. Often times, caregivers can put forth such an effort in taking care of their loved one that their own self-care gets ignored. This can lea to a snowball effect, causing emotional stress as well as pain and discomfort.

The benefits of acupuncture for cancer patients reach far and wide. But it can also do wonders for those who are taking care of cancer patients, whether professionally or for somebody close to them. Tamera Anderson-Hanna, herself a cancer survivor, wrote on CureToday.com about her experiences as a caregiver for family who were also diagnosed with cancer, and how acupuncture became a crucial part of her self-care regimen.

Most of her discomfort was emotional, as she explains, “I was definitely experiencing stress with the news of family members being diagnosed with cancer after the new year and have found acupuncture has helped me to experience improved sleep and feeling less stressed as a caregiver.”

But as we know, emotional stress also takes its toll on the physical body. Tamera’s acupuncturist also treated her neck, which is where she was carrying most of her stress. Acupuncture helped Tamera “sleep better at night, assists in experiencing less pain or tension in my body and allows me to redirect my energy to a more positive focus and perspective, thus having more good energy.”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing emotional or physical distress from taking care of someone else, acupuncture isn’t just there for those who have been diagnosed with an illness. Caregivers must ensure they’re taken care of as well.

Acupuncture Helps Veterans with PTSD Sleep Better

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is a disorder that develops in people after they have experienced a shocking, scary or traumatic event. It can either be short term or chronic, and symptoms include bad dreams and trouble sleeping, feeling tense and on edge, having angry outbursts, depression, and more. PTSD affects around 8% of Americans, around 24 million people.

 

While anyone who experiences a traumatic experience can become affected by PTSD, Awareness around PTSD has grown in the public consciousness over the past few years in relation to military veterans who suffer from it. The situations that our servicemen and women endure are unsurprisingly incredibly difficult to deal with emotionally. Unfortunately, adequate care for our veterans is not always top of mind in our country.

 

Thankfully, studies are beginning to show what acupuncturists have known—that the ancient practice is an effective, safe, and lasting treatment for PTSD, particularly the insomnia and uneven sleep patterns that veterans suffer from. A recent survey done at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Georgia in conjunction with Emory University determined gave a group of veterans, with a mean age of 40 and suffering from PTSD and mild traumatic brain injuries 10 acupuncture administrations. The other half of the group received sham acupuncture, and the findings were clear.

 

“Acupuncture provides meaningful relief for a particularly recalcitrant problem affecting large segments of the veteran population,” the study said. The relief was judged by sleep study, measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and showed that those who received acupuncture received a 2.7% increase in sleep efficiency.

 

If you or anyone you know suffers from PTSD and particularly struggles with sleeping, let them know that acupuncture is here to treat them safely and for the long term. And don’t forget to thank them for their sacrifice and service to our country!

 

Acupuncturists Without Borders

You may have heard of Doctors Without Borders, but what about Acupuncturists Without Borders? 

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) was founded by Diana Fried  immediately after Hurricanes Rita and Katrin in 2005. According to this Valley Advocate article the AWB, "provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers."

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Most recently, AWB has now been helping Puerto Rican evacuees help to manage and treat their trauma. 

After the devastation that Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, many individuals lost everything, and have had to flee the country for safety. 

AWB member Verena Smith, an Amherst based acupuncturist, explained, “people who were directly hit by hurricanes – and their families and friends from Western Mass – surely are experiencing serious acute traumatic stress.  Folks may be having flashbacks, panic, insomnia, suicidal ideation, or any number of symptoms that can be relieved with simple treatments.“

Since acupuncture has been shown to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression and other symptoms, acupuncturists and AWB members Nancy Edwards and Dede King brought their services to a Springfield clinic to offer treatment to stressed evacuees within a shared treatment setting. The results?

The report explained, "people seemed a bit more jovial, perhaps the result of a positive shared experience or perhaps a result of the treatment. Regardless, the general mood seemed lighter; smiles spread across faces for the first time that evening."

It has been long known that acupuncture treatment, specifically targeted for trauma, can help to heal both physical and emotional pain, while balancing qi.