CSN Login
Members Online: 2

You are here


greybeard64's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: Mar 2010

Hey all I have a question for you.

I am curious if anyone has any insight/experience with acupuncture. I am completely ignorant in regards to the subject but have decided I would like more information. I thought the first place to start my search for knowledge would just logically be here.

Are there informative sites that you know of? Have you had personal experience in this area and if so what are your thoughts about it now. How did you go about deciding on your acupuncturist, is there a referal system, a society of....? Do insurance co. even recognize this area of medicine?

I have heard that they not only deal with physical issues but also mental/physcological areas as well? While I have changed my diet, am exercising again, etc.. I still have issues mental and physical and I am curious about alternatives to "standard" Western medicine. I also am skeptical in regards to "going outside the box" as there is an endless supply of "snake oil" salesman and "miracles cures" out there.

So if ya have some info and dont mind sharing I am all ears.


and as always I hope this finds ya smilin'


abrub's picture
Posts: 2131
Joined: Mar 2010

Acupuncture is one of the services provided by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and I had it several times while an in-patient. I also know of other integrative medicine groups, coordinated with oncology groups that include acupuncture.

It is considered a legitimate complementary therapy. I don't know that it did much for me, but there is good research showing its efficacy.

Ask your oncologist for referrals. Some insurers cover acupuncture. Mine did when I was in the hospital, but doesn't cover it anywhere but at MSKCC. (Basically, my insurance covers any therapy/complementary medicine or standard treatment done at MSKCC, even if it is not part of the standard insurance coverage.) If you have a United HealthCare-based insurance, you can look into options.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Chris I tend to be a little skittish of snake oil too ....that being said. This winter starting in Nov....I had the most horrific pain...worse that any surgery or chemo...eventually...weeks later I found out it was shingles but in the meantime I tried acupuncture. My guy was thorough, kind, and totally professional. My shingles rash was on my breast and I was too shy to tell him....else I think he would have clued in. Anyway he found exactly the nerves that were bugging me along the spine and applied his needles. It really helped but not for long because after all it was a virus and just getting started.

I would totally support the idea....if I had pain or issues I thought could be helped by acupuncture I would do it again in a flash....it was great....

all best wishes

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008


I first went to get acupuncture this past fall. I was very skeptical, but very pleased at the outcome. I went weekly and sometimes twice a week approx Oct-Dec. Then I was feeling better and didn't go for a while. I've dealt with some pain issues the past couple of weeks & have now had two acupuncture sessions in the past week. I felt better the very next day! A couple of times, I've noticed that the symptoms actually got worse later that night, but were markedly improved the next day.
My cancer center offers this service (along with massages) for free to any cancer patient in the county, but first priority for scheduling goes to their own patients. Check around your area- even if where you go doesn't have this, there may be another cancer center that offers it. If not, I'd check into some of the local acupunturists and see if any offer discounted rates for cancer patients. I bet some might! I know my insurance wouldn't pay for any sessions, but maybe some might, I'm really not sure on that. Probably not- I know some will pay for chiropractors now, but don't know if they go for much other "outside the western medicine box" type treatments or not.

I'd try it! You have nothing to lose by trying it. Also, the acupunturist can make a difference. Of all the times I've been (probably 12-14 times now), it only hurt once & that was when an inexperienced student worked on me when the regular acupunturist called in sick. The other times it didn't hurt- actually felt kind of good, in a weird way.

Go for it!

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

There are a few concepts of the practice, and some are only to
relieve pain, others to relieve symptoms, and others to help the
body fix a problem.

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses all of the concepts, and does
so in an effort to help the body fix it's own problems.

Most insurance companies will pay for acupuncture and the office
visits for acupuncture, although most set a limit to the amount of
visits and treatments.

Locating a "good" acupuncturist is as difficult as locating any
"good" physician; there is an abundance of "snake oil" practitioners
in every practice. A license doesn't mean quality care, any more than
a fancy office does.

"Word of mouth" is probably the best way to locate a good physician
of any type. Ask around, even at your present physician's office,
you may be surprised!

My wife learned about our doctor of TCM from her Rheumatologist's
receptionist. She said that quite a few patients had claimed great results
and were no longer being treated for RA. My wife's Neurologist
claimed his Asthma was cured by the same TCM doc. And numerous
nurses were familiar with our TCM doc's record of success. So ask

In TCM, either acupuncture, or herbs, can help get the body into balance.
Generally, while acupuncture can afford a faster reaction than herbs,
the effect of herbs can be longer lasting. Most all insurance companies
-do not- cover the cost of herbs.

As far as being "skeptical in regards to going outside the box",
I found that being prescribed the wrong medications and dosages by
more "regular physicians" than I can remember, to be more problematic.
How many cancer patients do we see right here, who have had serious
problems with the care they received from a licensed doctor?

I had atrial fibrillation for years, and besides the medications that only
make matter worse, they wanted to do a surgical operation that scores
the inside of the arteries.... the idea was to dispel the electrical energy that's
causing the heart to vibrate in stead of pump. That operation can
result in an aneurysm, and/or blood clotting at the scored area.

Our TCM doc treated me for a "liver deficiency" that he said causes
the AF. I have not had an attack of AF since his cure. I doubt I would
have made it through my cancer operations 3+ years ago, if I still
had AF before surgery.

He could have used acupuncture for that AF problem, but I hate
needles, so we used herbal broths. It took longer, but I can attest
to the fact that it worked.

My wife was treated for shingles, using acupuncture. The gal that
treated her (in Massachusetts) was a qualified acupuncturist,
licensed and accredited, and claimed to practice TCM, but the
treatments only lasted a day or so at the most. She also tried treating
my wife for RA at the time, but again, a day's worth of relief was
all that was gained with each visit.

The TCM doc down here in Florida manages to cure almost anything
that comes up. The relief from each treatment using acupuncture
usually lasted a week or more. My wife had only five acupuncture
treatments from this doc over a period of a year, for RA, although
she took herbal broths also. It was the combination of both, that
had put her RA into remission.

Ask around about acupuncturists, and about TCM docs. You have to
do your own leg-work to find a good one, but it'll be the best use of
your effort that you will ever imagine.

Good luck; good health.


RickMurtagh's picture
Posts: 586
Joined: Feb 2010

I never had acupuncture, but I rolled down the hill at my in-laws once (accidentally) and that was covered with little low lying cactus. I can tell you there was no benefit to getting stuck by those tiny needles.

Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

When I first started chemo I tried accupuncture to help with my nausea. I went twice - in a two week period and although I found it very relaxing, it didn't help much with the nausea and I had such limited time - between doctors appts., chemo and taking care of my two young children, I dropped it. The therapist told me it might take a few sessions to tweak things to where it was working for me. I just wasn't willing to experiment at the time.

I finished chemo in September 2008 and haven't felt "healthy" since. Recently I decided to revisit accupuncture to see if it could help build up my immune system. I've had about 6 treatments now - once a week. I started noticing a difference about the 3rd treatment. My energy levels are much better, my anxiety is WAY down and I sleep much better at night. After treatments it's still not unusual for me to feel extremely fatigued - so I don't plan on doing anything much on the days I have treatments.

My accupuncture therapist has also referred me to a Naturopath who is working with me on diet, supplements, homeopathy and hydrotherapy. These are all big changes for me - and I'm trying to slowly implement the changes they have suggested.

I still have bad days; but the days I have that are good - I do feel better than I have in a long time. It is a slow process, but I think I'm on the right path. Accupuncture is just one facet of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a whole world that most of us have little to no knowledge of or understanding of. And in my personal opinion - there's some good stuff there - it's old medicine that western medicine takes no interest in; so we don't know about it. I don't see it as a replacement to western medicine; but another tool we have to use to keep our bodies healthy.

This is definitely a path I plan on continuing down - I think I can become a much healthier person with the support of my accupuncture therapist and naturopath.

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

My Mom just started going yesterday for back pain and digestive issues. It's a bit too early to see results but I have no doubt she will benefit from it. My brother who attends a Zen center got a recommendation through there for someone in the area.
I don't know if your insurance would accept that, it's a shame because something that has been used for thousands of years with positive results should be covered.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

no kiddin

just try to imagine a massage every day...mmmmmmmm


greybeard64's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: Mar 2010

As usual I was correct in assuming that this would be a good place to start my search for info. you all always come through.

Next visit with my Onc I'll ask him, and I also want to see if the CAM center (part of BJC) here in STL has any info. You all have given me a path, thanks and if or when I decide to use this type of treatment, I'll make sure I post what I thought of it. might be amonth or so I dont move to fast on these types of things LOL.
thanks again for the help

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

sounds like you could use a few needles in your butt to get it moving!
I'll post how my Mom is doing with her treatments too, she has 2 more set up for next week

lesvanb's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

I started going after some orthopedic surgery I'd had and it seemed like the surgeons were great at putting things back together but the healing took place under my acupuncturist's care.

I would see my acupuncturist twice/month before the CA dx (I'd had a fibromyalgia and CFS dx before though that is gone now)and then twice/week after the CA dx. Twice a week is the recommended frequency while on chemo by Sloan Kettering.

Halfway through my treatments, my acupuncturists went to Sloan Kettering for a seminar treating chemo side effects with acupuncture since the satellite oncology clinic moved and now shares space in the clinic building they own.

I have continued 2x/week since stopping chemo last May and it has just been in the last three months that going 1x/week or 1x/2 weeks now and then seems OK since my body can now hold (sustain itself?) after a treatment. I've been sleeping without aids and have more resilience to handle what comes up in day-to day activities rather than having to excuse myself. It's also felt like weaning since I feel emotionally and psychologically safe with my acupuncturist which has been a god-send to me during these past 2 years since dx.

My acupuncturist and naturopath work together on diet and supplements as well.

Additionally I feel like I am still in treatment to keep the cancer at bay.

Finding a good acupuncturist is like finding a good doctor and worth the looking. You will spend a lot of time with the person and it helps to have a good rapport. Like doctors they should have their schooling and training displayed or available.

I also am fortunate in that my work's health insurance pays for acupuncture and has no limit on visits during the year. The nurse case manager for the insurance, however, has reviewed my use of acupuncture with me.

Looking back over these 2 years, I can't imagine going through it all without my acupuncturist's, naturopath's and anthroposophical/internal medicine doc's care. I have an appt tomorrow.

Feel free to ask me more specific questions.


greybeard's picture
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2009

This is sounding exactly like what I was hoping for, I am reading alot of positive things about this type of treatment on here and in other areas. Your right Phil I could use a couple of those needles to the back side, LOL. Kind of funny with everything else I believe in the philosphy that its easier to do something and then ask forgiveness/apologize if neccessary then to wait for "permission". When it comes to health issues though, well not so much, imagine that! I certainly think there are many alternatives to standard med. as we know it and I think if we could ever get "Western" talking to "Eastern" talking to "holistic" talking to well you get the idea, we would all be better off!
I have, I believe found a reputable place close by. The initial consultation is free, they check your insurance coverage for you , discuss what your issues and expectations are and how they can or cannot help, etc. I have also found a person who used this particular Doc and he thought she was great, his issues were not the same as mine but at least he is familiar with the office, the Doc, and how things in general where handled. Apparently she is fairly well known in this circle, even has a weekly column in the ST. Louis Post Dispatch.
I hope this works out as the place is in my town and only a couple miles from my house
Again thanks for the insight and info. As always you folks never fail to provide!
If this works out maybe I'll change my "handle" to Porcupine(sp?)...NAHHH!

Subscribe to Comments for "Acupuncture"