Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a holistic approach to addressing breast cancer complications and related symptoms. We, as TCM practitioners, are of the belief that breast cancer is caused by a disruption in the body’s natural balance of energy or Qi and that restoring this balance can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall health. At our acupuncture clinic, we have a team of licensed and experienced practitioners who prioritise your health and treat your ailments.

Our goal is to provide support to patients during and after their Western medical treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be effective in minimising the negative side effects of these cancer-related treatments and promoting the healing process. Additionally, our women’s clinic can help address various issues such as pain, poor appetite, sleep disorders, anxiety, and stress.

Research Studies Show Positive Impact Acupuncture Has On Breast Cancer Patients

Several research studies have shown the positive impact acupuncture has on breast cancer patients, to help alleviate side effects and other symptoms often associated with the illness itself and treatment.

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema

Acupuncture has been recognized as a modality which can help in managing and addressing symptoms and some effects of treatment for breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL).

Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers investigated the effects of acupuncture on BCRL patients in a randomised controlled clinical trial. This clinical study finds that acupuncture effectively reduces upper arm circumference, improves shoulder range of motion, and patients’ self-reported overall quality of life improvements.

The results of this study are summarized in an article published by the Healthcare Medicine Institute in 2017.

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What is Lymphedema and What Happens As A Result?

Lymphedema occurs when excess lymph (a fluid that circulates throughout the body that removes bacteria, wastes, etc.) accumulates in specific areas. BCRL is a potential side effect of breast cancer surgery and often occurs in the upper arms. Breast cancer surgical procedures often involve a lymph node biopsy or removal of lymph nodes from the underarm area. Surgery and radiation therapy may damage vessels and prevent lymph circulation thereby resulting in fluid accumulation in tissues.

Breast Cancer in TCM’s view

Acupuncture, in the real world, is widely used by breast cancer patients to improve symptoms such as pain, insomnia, joint pain, and flushing related to hormone therapy.

TCM uses acupuncture to correspond to regulating meridian energy (chi/qi) and the blood to balance people’s bodies.

BCRL includes arm swelling or stiffness, and skin thickening or roughness. Many breast cancer survivors develop BCRL and current treatment methods are limited, with the treatment mainly involving physical therapy, compression sleeves, and manual and mechanical lymph drainage. In both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Traditional Korean Medicine (TKM), BCRL is classified as edema and is considered a result of qi and blood stagnation combined with deficiency.

Acupuncture can be used to help address breast cancer-related lymphedema by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes and improving lymphatic circulation. Along with these, Chinese herbs are also often used in conjunction to treat breast cancer complications. These herbal formulas may be tailored to an individual’s specific symptoms and health status.


Here are some ways acupuncture may be used to treat breast cancer-related lymphedema:

By stimulating the lymphatic flow in your body

Acupuncture treatment has been proven to help stimulate lymphatic flow and reduce fluid retention in the affected area. This may involve inserting needles into specific points known as acupuncture points on the body that correspond to the lymphatic system or using a technique called cupping, which involves placing suction cups on the skin to improve circulation.

By reducing the inflammation in the affected area

TCM employs acupuncture to help reduce inflammation in the affected area, which may contribute to lymphedema. This involves targeting specific points on the body that correspond to your immune system, such as the spleen or thymus.

By relieving the pain and improving your energy with cancer treatments

Acupuncture is also proven to be effective in reducing pain associated with breast cancer-related lymphedema  in some patients. The needles stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving mechanisms, such as the release of endorphins, to help alleviate discomfort.

Moreover, fatigue is reported as a debilitating side effect by 80-90% of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Clinical studies have shown that Chinese herbal medicines can help to reduce chemotherapy-related fatigue. This could help increase patients’ energy levels, providing them with more motivation to fight against cancer.

By reducing your stress and anxiety

Acupuncture is recognized for its ability to promote balance in the body, mind, and spirit for many patients. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, which may contribute to lymphedema by impairing lymphatic flow. Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation or relaxation, can also be combined with acupuncture to potentially enhance the overall treatment.

On the overall, our treatments are aimed at helping you create a long-term change. Reach out to us to know more details about healing yourself naturally and to book your appointments.

Ponsonby Wellness Centre
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Phone: 021 2159963
57 Sussex St, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021

Opening Hours

Tue- Fri: 10am- 7pm

Sat: 9am-3pm

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