Undergoing treatment for cancer is scary and brings about its own set of struggles and side effects. You’ll work with your doctor to find the right balance of treatment procedures and medications to help you feel the best you can.\nAcupuncture, a method used in traditional Chinese medicine, is growing as a tool for people with cancer.\nWhat Is Acupuncture?\nAcupuncture stimulates different areas of the body, usually by inserting thin needles into the skin. The idea is that energy flows through your body in specific patterns. By stimulating certain areas along these patterns, acupuncture\u00a0may improve symptoms and quality of life.\nWhat to expect during acupuncture treatment\nWhen you receive acupuncture, a practitioner will gently insert the needles into specific points on your body. Depending on the type of acupuncture you receive, he or she may apply heat or little electrical pulses to the needles. You lie on a table and relax for about 20 minutes before the needles are removed.\nHow Can Acupuncture be Included in My Cancer Treatment?\nAcupuncture has been shown to help with a range of side effects people experience during cancer treatment. It is not used as a curative measure, but rather to improve how you feel.\nPain management for cancer itself, chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation is the most common use of acupuncture. It has also been shown to help with nausea and vomiting, particularly if other options aren’t working for you.\nOther side effects people receive acupuncture to treat include:\n\nFatigue\nHot flashes\nAnxiety\nNeuropathy\nInsomnia\n\nShould I be Worried About Side Effects of Acupuncture?\nAcupuncture\u00a0is generally safe and often effective. You may feel some soreness after treatment, but that goes away shortly.\nChemotherapy can weaken your immune system. You want to make sure the practitioner uses clean, single-use needles to prevent infection and be certain your oncologist is aware of the timing of acupuncture in the context of your cancer treatment or history.\nTalk with your oncologist about adding acupuncture in to your treatment or survivorship regimen. He or she may be able to recommend a licensed practitioner and ensure effective communication.\nAcupuncture may be included as part of an integrative oncology program, which aims to treat the whole person \u2014 mind, body, and spirit while ensuring safety and supervision above all.\nWant to learn more about integrative\u00a0oncology, including yoga and other practices for cancer patients? Check out our Medical Mondays segment focused on integrative oncology.In addition, we have a licensed acupuncturist onsite at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. To schedule, call 412-623-7753.