As an oncology nurse for 25 years, I’ve spent countless days providing care to people facing cancer.
It’s been so rewarding to be part of the care team at UF Health Cancer Center — Orlando Health, but it’s been even more gratifying to find new ways to help patients cope with the side effects of treatment and maintain their strength throughout this challenging process.
It’s why in 2011 I took on the role of acupuncture physician and began to offer acupuncture and energy medicine as a complementary treatment for our patients. In the last five years, our alternative medicine and acupuncture practice has grown and helped so many patients and their families along the way.
UF Health Cancer Center’s Acupuncture Practice
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. During acupuncture, we insert thin needles into specific areas to stimulate and circulate energy throughout the body. Acupuncture is often used in combination with other therapies such as meditation and yoga to control pain. Research also suggests that it may boost the immune system, which aids the healing process.
We offer acupuncture to the cancer centers patients, their families and the center’s staff as well as all hospital employees. In my practice, I treat cancer patients but also get referrals from other physicians and staff. I perform acupuncture services on Thursdays. We typically use this approach to manage symptoms related to the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, including nerve and gastrointestinal problems, anxiety and depression. Acupuncture also helps patients and staff with pain, stress and emotional issues.
The Effects of Acupuncture
In addition to pain management, acupuncture may improve a patient’s energy levels and mood.
We see patients weekly in our practice, and many of them experience improvement after just a few treatments. It’s important to understand that one treatment won’t address all the symptoms a patient experiences. If the issues are acute, acupuncture may be able to get rid of them faster, but if a patient experiences chronic symptoms it may take longer for the treatment to have an impact. Most of the time, we treat patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, so acupuncture helps these patients get through that treatment more easily.
Patients really like acupuncture and it’s clear how it changes them mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. We use a holistic approach to treat the whole body and the whole patient. In addition to acupuncture, we also offer nutrition therapy and suggest certain foods to patients that may be better than others (for example, no acid, cold or raw foods), especially if they are experiencing gastrointestinal issues.
Acupuncture helps patients’ mind, body and spirit. As a complement to traditional cancer treatments, it helps to improve patients’ quality of life and emotional and physical health. If you are interested in learning more about our acupuncture practice, whether as a patient or as a caregiver, please call 321-841-8393 or email [email protected] to get more information.