About Acupuncture

This information explains the health benefits of acupuncture and how to get acupuncture treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).

Acupuncture is a form of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s done by applying very thin needles to certain points on your body. Research has shown that acupuncture can reduce some side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

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How Acupuncture Is Performed

Acupuncture is performed by a licensed acupuncturist, who is a person with special training in this field. During your treatment, you will lie on a padded table while your acupuncturist sticks thin needles into your skin at specific points on your body. Where the needles are placed depends on the problem that’s being treated. Although needles are used, most people feel little or no pain.

Once the needles are in place, you will rest for about 30 minutes. Your acupuncturist will remove the needles at the end of your session and throw them away.

People have different experiences with acupuncture. Some people feel relaxed after their treatment, while others have more energy.

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Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture can reduce the following symptoms:

  • Nausea (feeling like you’re going to throw up)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)
  • Hot flashes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired or having very little energy)
  • Pain
  • Anxiety (strong feelings of worry)
  • Nerve problems (such as chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), other neuropathic pain, and sciatica)
  • Joint disorders, such as osteoarthritis
  • Dry mouth

You can get acupuncture treatment at MSK. If you’re an inpatient (staying in the hospital) you can receive acupuncture in your room at no cost. If you’re an outpatient, you can receive acupuncture in private sessions or small group sessions.

To learn about other therapies to go along with your cancer treatment or to make an appointment, call the Integrative Medicine Service at 646-888-0800 or visit our website www.mskcc.org/IntegrativeMedicine.

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