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Phone: (0274) 837 188
Open: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm

New research confirms that acupuncture benefits the immune system and improves the psychological state for cancer patients. Blood samples prove that acupuncture increases the immune system’s NK (natural killer) cells for colorectal cancer patients. Qualitative testing also showed improved mental health scores after acupuncture. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is both “feasible and safe for CRC (colorectal cancer) patients….”

NK cells are immune cells that respond to cancer and viral infections, researchers comment that these cells are “a first line of defence against the metastatic spread of tumour cells.” Cancer patient data shows that decreases in NK cell numbers and activity correspond to the progression of cancer. NK cells are “a first line of defence against the metastatic spread of tumour cells.”

The study shows that acupuncture not only benefits NK cell numbers, but also promote positive trends on the levels of leucocytes (WBC), neutrophils (ANC) and B-cells, thereby supporting overall immune function in cancer patients to protect against secondary infections and complications of chemotherapy. “The increase on WBC and ANC resulted in approximately a 1.5x reduction in leukopenia and neutropenia rates. The acupuncture group showed a twofold increase in NK cells rate compared to the control group.”

Subjective testing revealed other psychological and physical benefits to patients receiving acupuncture. Improvements included reductions of gastrointestinal disorders, urological disorders and male sexual dysfunction. The acupuncture group also reported fewer side effects due to chemotherapy. The acupuncture study group had significantly less depression and anxiety when compared with the control group.

As a result, the research team concluded that acupuncture is “feasible and safe” warranting continued investigation into the integration of acupuncture into colorectal cancer patient care.


Pais, Irene, Nuno Correia, Isabel Pimentel, Maria José Teles, Esmeralda Neves, Júlia Vasconcelos, Judite Guimarães4 Nancy Azevedo et al. “EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE IN LEUKOPENIA, NEUTROPENIA, NK AND B CELLS IN CANCER PATIENTS UNDERGOING CHEMOTHERAPY: A RANDOMIZED PILOT STUDY.”
photo credit: Akupunkturnadeln via photopin (license)

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