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Study Shows Acupuncture Reduces Fatigue and Improves Well-Being for Breast Cancer Survivors
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM

A recent study showed that acupuncture can help breast cancer survivors reduce their fatigue and increase their general sense of well-being. The results of the study were published in Acupuncture in Medicine in March 2013. The study is called "The Effect of Acupuncture on Post-cancer Fatigue and Well-being for Women Recovering from Breast Cancer: a Pilot, Randomized, Controlled Trial."

Thirty female patients participated in the trial. Fifteen women were assigned to the experimental group and the other 15 patients were designated as the control group. The experimental group received real acupuncture. This means their treatments used acupuncture points which related directly to their medical condition. The control group received sham acupuncture, meaning their treatments did not include acupuncture points which directly addressed their medical problems.

All the participants underwent the same regime which consisted of 6 acupuncture treatments over a period of 8 weeks. The clinical outcomes of the treatment for both groups revealed positive results. Additionally, 7 women further participated in thorough interviews to relate their personal experience and observations regarding their treatment.

After 2 weeks of treatment there was a statistically noteworthy drop in levels of fatigue noted in the experimental group when compared to the control group. The conclusion of the trial reported an increase in the well-being of those who experienced real acupuncture, as compared to the group who underwent sham acupuncture.

According to the testimony of 7 participants, acupuncture dramatically improved their sleep, enhanced their mood and aided in attaining a greater state of relaxation. Other personal observations revealed an overall positive experience with their acupuncture treatments and their results.

Source:  Smith C, Carmady B, Thornton C, et al The effect of acupuncture on post-cancer fatigue and well-being for women recovering from breast cancer: a pilot randomised controlled trial Acupuncture in Medicine 2013; 31:9-15.

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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.