As we recently discussed here on this blog, stress can have a profound impact on our health in a myriad of ways from minor to serious. Left untreated, chronic stress over a long period of time can affect not just our spiritual and emotional well-being but also our physical health. It’s not often appreciated how much stress can weaken our immune system and prevent our bodies from healing themselves. And when it comes to cancer, stress can be a silent or even unexamined background factor that contributes to the development of the disease.
As cancer patients and their loved ones know all too well, one of cancer’s most dangerous aspects—and the part that doctors rush to try and mitigate or halt as quickly as possible—is metastasis, when cancer cells break away from the area in which they originally formed, use the blood or lymph system as transport to new areas of the body, and form metastatic tumors there as well, sometimes compromising entirely new systems. This is when cancer is at its most threatening, and it’s also known metastatic cancer (sometimes also Stage IV cancer).
The role of stress in facilitating metastasis may not be commonly appreciated or well understood, but it is important to be aware of. Stress promotes the spread of cancer, since it releases the adrenal chemicals that allow cancer to metastasize and travel throughout the body. So, for cancer patients wanting to reduce the likelihood of this occurring, it is wise to pursue stress reduction therapies that can be of value.
Acupuncture reduces stress in a holistic manner, gently guiding the body not only to a balanced state but also to a position of a healthier stress response. It is shown to reduce cortisol levels, improve breathing, lower the heart rate, and relax the patient through the release of endorphins. This is beneficial for cancer patients, as acupuncture can triage the stress of the moment while improving the body’s fundamental capacity to handle stress on an ongoing basis. In this way, it improves the patient’s overall well-being while also serving as a preventative bulwark against potentially worse impacts of the disease.
As more cancer patients and medical professionals begin to understand how acupuncture can help treat cancer, they are beginning to include it in their treatment plan. If you or someone you love is suffering from cancer, it may be worth your while to discover how acupuncture can help prevent cancer from developing further, improve the body’s immune response, and return you to a place of calm and centered well-being.