Oncology acupuncture has been around for a while, & many of my patients use acupuncture to help with various treatment side effects.
I have avoided talking about this on the podcast FOR YEARS…because I knew so little about it.
But you & I are not hiding behind that excuse anymore!
Mari Galle is the Director of Integrative Medicine & an oncology acupuncturist at Cancer Rehab & Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. In today’s interview, she takes you behind the scenes of what acupuncture is & how it helps oncology patients. Plus, she gives concrete examples of how cancer rehab & oncology acupuncture work together to better serve our patients.
What Acupuncture Is
Acupuncture has a rich history, evolving over generations, and today it’s widely recognized as a form of alternative medicine. In the United States, acupuncture has been utilized since the 1970s and is primarily employed for pain management. In recent times, it has garnered attention in the field of oncology, with research focusing on peripheral neuropathy, hot flashes, dry mouth, and other cancer-related symptoms. This means that oncology acupuncture is showing promise in alleviating some of the side effects of cancer treatments.
There are 550 acupuncture points throughout the body. Acupuncture needles are placed in these points to affect different areas of the body.
The effects can include pain management, decreasing inflammation, & more.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat:
- Digestive issues
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Hot flashes
- & more
Acupuncture is used in oncology for many side effects & impairments.
In the context of cancer treatment, acupuncture is proving to be an invaluable tool for addressing various side effects. Patients undergoing active treatment often experience nausea, digestive issues (diarrhea, constipation), anxiety, and anticipatory anxiety, which can be particularly daunting for those facing recurrent chemotherapy. Acupuncture is employed to manage these symptoms effectively.
Some of these side effects & impairments include:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Hot flashes
- Dry mouth
- Pain management: bone & joint pain
- GI distress including diarrhea, constipation, nausea, & vomiting
- Mental clarity/mental fog
Oncology acupuncture is a fantastic adjunct with cancer rehab
In her practice, Mari frequently tag-teams with physical therapy to work with oncology patients. One example is CIPN: Mari will help decrease the patient’s CIPN-related pain, & the physical therapist can focus their treatment on gait & balance issues.
Communication is key when working with multiple team members. This can help reduce confusion, ensure we are all working towards the same goals, & ultimately helping the patient at the core of our care.
About Mari Galle
Mari Galle holds a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist with a specialty in oncology acupuncture. As the Director of Integrative Medicine and oncology acupuncturist at Cancer Rehab & Integrative Medicine in Austin, TX, she works with cancer patients and loved ones treating side effects and symptoms associated with the diagnosis. After seeing the gaps in integrative oncology care, she co-founded Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative in 2020. She knows personally and professionally the importance of supporting cancer patients as they navigate treatments and beyond. Mari is a member of the Society of Integrative Oncology and is passionate about evidence-based medicine and integrative oncology as well as building a supportive community for patients, loved ones and caregivers.