What is the history of acupuncture in the United States?
Decoding an Ancient Therapy

As a patient of Dr. Yong Luo for the past few years, I have been greatly impressed by his thoughtful and attentive care. He has had years of good training in his native China, and a rich clinical practice both in that country and the United States.

Dr. Yong Luo is a highly trained and experienced practitioner of acupuncture. As my care-giver in this field, I have been richly rewarded by his sensitivity and effective practice of his art.

I look for a medical care-giver who is well trained, experienced and compassionate. Dr. Yong Luo has these qualities. That is why he is my acupuncturist.

Jack Etheridge - Senior Judge Atlanta, Georgia

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Acupuncture for Cancer

Dr. Luo, who had been recommended by a friend, gave me back my life! He not only treated the pain I was having, but improved all aspects of my health, body, and mind. Acupuncture has put me on the path to total health. Thanks Dr. Luo!

R. S.

Atlanta, Georgia

 

Support for Cancer Treatment through Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Modern western medicine has made great progress in the treatment of cancer. Such improvements include anti-cancer drug therapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. As of today, cancer still ranks at the top of the world's diseases that are a risk to human life. The ideal treatment for cancer is early detection and early resection of the tumor. It is often the case that at the time of diagnosis, one has already missed the early resection period. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy cannot completely remove the cancers that have spread to the liver and the lung. Excessive use of drugs will lead to a variety of serious side effects. The result of such excessive and repeated use of drug therapy will be the elimination of cancer along with the life of the patient. It is therefore not ideal to use a single type of treatment. In addition to the conventional surgical treatment, anti-cancer drug therapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy, a variety of effective supporting treatments should also be given its full attention.

For the treatment of cancer, Traditional Chinese Medicine (including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine) is undoubtedly a good supporting care. There are three reasons for this:

First, through its long history and the efforts of ancient physicians, Traditional Chinese Medicine acquired a unique understanding of cancer and accumulated much experience in helping and supporting cancer patients.

Second, initial findings in modern studies confirmed that Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture have a positive effect in cancer patients including extension of their life time, improving quality of life, and pain relief.

Third, a vast majority of Chinese herbal medicines exist naturally and are free of artificial chemicals. Therefore, their side effects are either none existent or very minor. Acupuncture is in vitro treatment, it does not go through the process of drug metabolism in the body and it is, therefore, a safe supporting therapy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine as an alternative therapy is inherent under the guidance of ancient medical experience combined with modern medical diagnosis. The combination of Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary guidance, psychotherapy, and other methods gives personalized help to cancer patients. For ease of understanding, the following material is explained from the modern medical research perspective.

Traditional Chinese Medicine supports cancer patients mainly through the following channels:

1. Enhancing the Patient's Immunity:

Large number of research data confirm that cancer patients have low immunity. Studies have shown that Chinese herbal medicine may increase the patient's non-specific immune function. A study of 50 advanced cancer patients has shown them to have significantly lower than normal plasma cortisol levels, while chemotherapy continued to diminish the plasma cortisol content. Through use of Chinese herbs, the patients' plasma cortisol levels rose significantly, indicating that taking Chinese herbs can increase the hypothalamic - pituitary - adrenal cortex . Because chemotherapy's elimination of cancer cells also eliminates normal human cells, bone marrow suppression, liver and kidney dysfunction, and decreased immunity are likely to occur. There are reports that in many cases of lung cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, and colon cancer, patients taking Chinese herbs during chemotherapy significantly alleviated adverse effects including bone marrow suppression, toxicity, liver dysfunction, nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal side effects. According to pharmacological studies, many Chinese herbs, in specific immunity, can enhance T cell function, increase lymphocyte transformation rate, and enhance or regulate humoral immunity. Additionally, Chinese herbs can improve blood IgM and IgG levels to regulate and promote the DNA and RNA protein synthesis, improve and promote bone marrow function, increase cardiac contractility, microcirculation, myocardial ischemia, autonomic regulation, and improve gastrointestinal functions.

2. Eliminating the Stagnant and Activating the Blood*

Eliminating the stagnant and activating the blood is a treatment method in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This method consists of using Chinese herbs to promote blood circulation. Stagnant blood is due to obstructed blood circulation, more specifically microcirculation disorders, caused by local tissue ischemia, metabolic disorders, and nutritional disorder. Cancer patients with chronic nutritional microcirculation may have decreased perfusion, which may inevitably lead to dysfunction in the internal organs and the long-term monocyte-macrophage system, small artery spasm, and blood stasis or congestion, resulting in reduced blood flow. This reduced blood flow leads to fibrin deposition around the lesions, so that intravascular macrophages, immune cells, anti-cancer drugs, and other substances do not reach the lesion easily. According to modern pharmacology, certain Chinese herbs play a beneficial role in cancer by improving microcirculation and local hypoxia, and increasing vascular permeability and radiation sensitivity. Some studies also show that certain Chinese herbs can increase antibody complement and enhance the body's immunity. These herbs can also inhibit fibroblast collagen synthesis, reduce the survival of the rough -type fibroblasts, and prevent or reduce radiation-induced fibrosis after treatment.

3. Detoxification

This treatment method is to use the detoxification function of Chinese herbs to eliminate the rapid development of cancer or the secondary infection stage. Extensive screening and study found that many Chinese herbs have a role in inhibiting cancer cells although its mechanisms are not clear. Preliminary studies show that certain detoxification function herbs can enhance cell antigen, and some herbs can affect the endocrine function, thereby enhancing the effect of inhibiting cancer cells. It is generally believed that roughly 40 kinds of herbs can inhibit cancer cells.

Acupuncture's primarily roles in cancer treatment are enhancing the patient's resistance and pain reduction. Traditional Chinese Medicine's meridian theory shows that there are hundreds of acupoints distributed over the body surface. Certain points have the effect of strengthening the body after stimulation. Modern research has confirmed that this strong role of certain acupoints is achieved through the following mechanisms: First, adjusting the function of the cerebral cortex, thereby enhancing the abilities of cortical cells; second, improving the body's specific and non specific immune antibodies, thereby enhancing the body's defense capability; and third, enhancing the pituitary - adrenal cortex and sympathetic - adrenal system function, thereby enhancing the body's resistance to disease. Acupuncture's pain relief mechanism is mainly related with the body's nervous system. It is a multi-level integration of the central nervous system resulting in a variety of neurotransmitters involved in pain relief process through the neurohumor.

Chinese herbs and acupuncture complement each other well. It has a calming effect for cancer patients prone to anxiety, fear, and other emotions. Additionally, it inhibits and regulates nausea and loss of appetite induced by the release of toxins from cancer cells.

It is important to point out that many well-established Chinese herbal compounds are put together in accordance with the guidance of Traditional Chinese Medicine's Visceral Manifestation Theory. Additionally, the selection of acupoints follows Traditional Chinese Medicine's Theory of the Meridian. Even though certain positive results cannot yet be fully explained through modern research due to the uniqueness and the long history of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this should not prevent physicians from using this ancient medical knowledge to help cancer patients, and therefore contribute to human life and health.

In the United States, acupuncture treatment as an alternative treatment has been recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Cancer Institute. The most thorough study of acupuncture in breast cancer patients was published in Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000. In the study, 104 women undergoing high-dose chemotherapy were given traditional anti-nausea medication. In addition to taking the medication, the women were randomly chosen to receive 5 days of electroacupuncture (acupuncture in which needles are stimulated with a mild electrical current), acupuncture without an electrical current, or no acupuncture. The women who had acupuncture had significantly fewer nausea episodes than those who didn't.

Another study, completed at Duke University and published in 2002, compared the use of acupuncture to the use of Zofran (chemical name: ondansetron), an anti-nausea medication, before breast cancer surgery to reduce the nausea that can occur after surgery. The acupuncture treatment was found to work better than Zofran at controlling nausea.

The following are some case examples of patients Dr. Luo has treated.

Example1. Male, 54 years old, first visit in May 2005.

Chief Complaint: The patient was diagnosed with stomach cancer/gastric cancer two years prior to his visit. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy was carried out in addition to his gastrectomy. Reexamination three months prior to visit found that the cancer had liver metastases. The patient suffers from nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, and dizziness. He had swelling in his lower extremities that made walking difficult.

Examination: Extremely thin, pale, fatigue, and showing state of cachexia. Swelling in both knees but staggering swelling in the right knee. Swelling and tenderness in the bilateral inguinal lymph node, thigh pain when walking. “ Deep and Slow Pulse” and “Pale Tongue”.

The patient has advanced stomach cancer/gastric cancer. He received chemotherapy and radiation therapy for more than a year after surgery but failed to prevent cancer metastasis. His body could no longer withstand more debilitating surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. At this point it is imperative to enhance the patient's physique and improve his resistance to disease. According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this case is classified as “Deficiency of the Ying and Yang in the Liver and the Kidney”and “Deficiency of Yang in the Spleen and the Stomach”. Acupuncture was used for tonification twice a week on the related points on the meridians of the stomach, spleen, liver, and kidney. Chinese herbal tea was used for the tonification of the spleen and the stomach. The patient was advised to take small amounts of herbal tea in great frequency daily. One month into his treatment, the swelling subsided in his lower limbs. Additionally, there was an increase in his daily food consumption and reduction of nausea and vomiting. Three months into his treatment, symptoms of fatigue and dizziness have been greatly eased. The patient continued with his weekly acupuncture treatment and a combination of Chinese herbal tea and tablets were used to “Nourish the Liver and the Kidney” and “Strengthen the Spleen and Mitigating the Stomach”. Additionally, he was given the appropriate dietary guidance. One year into his treatment, the patient experienced weight gain and his health began to recover. He felt well enough to take a driving trip with his wife to New Mexico. Since then, the patient continued with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatment from time to time until his death in September 2010. According to statistics, the survival rate for advanced stomach/gastric cancer patients five years after surgery is 20% -30%. This patient lived for seven years after his gastrectomy.

Example 2. Male, 46 years old,  first visit in August 2007.

Chief Complaint: The patient was diagnosed with liver cancer three years prior to his visit. He received chemotherapy after surgical resection of the cancer. Six months prior to visit, he had recurrence of intrahepatic tumor and the cancer has transferred to the lungs. He suffered from multiple pains in the liver, back, and chest area in addition to malaise and fatigue.

Examination: Underweight, appeared exhausted, and containing dark complexions in his skin. Was able to feel his liver under the right rib area, which felt as hard as a stone. Tender areas in the back, chest, and under the right rib. “Thin and Weak Pulse” and “Dark Red Tongue”.

The patient has used a variety of painkillers, and desired Chinese medicine to relieve his fatigue and pain. According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this case is classified as “Deficiency of Qi and Yin” and “Stagnant Blood Obstructing the Lung”.  Acupuncture treatment, applying the purging technique, was used on the local pain acupoints. Additionally, applying the tonification technique, acupuncture was used on alternating sedative and strengthening acupoints surrounding the head, stomach, spleen, and kidney. The patient received three acupuncture treatments in the first week, two in the second week, and once weekly from the third week on. Chinese herbal tea and tablets were also taken for the purposes of “Strengthening the Spleen”, “Tonify the Qi ”, “Invigorating the Meridians”, and “Dissolving the Mass”.  The patient felt more relaxed and pain free after each acupuncture treatment. One month after he began treatment, his intake of pain medication gradually reduced. Six months into the treatment, there was major reduction in his pain and fatigue. The patient cooperated extremely well with his acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments, adhering to them for three years even though he was informed that he had three months to live. He remained optimistic and strong-willed, and even kept on with his work. The patient lost touch due to relocation to another state after more than three years of treatment.

Dr. Luo's long-term clinical practice has assisted a number of patients with various cancers including gastric, liver, lung, colon, breast, and ovarian in reducing their pain, enhancing their body's resistance, stabilizing their emotions, and prolonging their life. In his experience, the unique theory and long history of Traditional Chinese medicine, including Chinese herbs and acupuncture, has a great effect in cancer prevention and treatment. If you have questions or comments, regarding Support for Cancer Treatment through Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, reduce the side effects from mainstream cancer treatments, and increase patients' immune system, please feel free to contact our Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Cancer support office in Atlanta GA (404)255-2558 or Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Cancer support office in Canton GA (770)720-1398.

 

*Using the blood-activating and sludge-eliminating drugs to dissolve the stagnant blood and to maintain the blood circulation

 

Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation.

 

Atlanta Location:4651 Roswell Rd Suite I-801 Atlanta, Georgia 30342 Tel:(404)255-2558 Fax:(404)255-2557
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