Living with Colorectal Cancer? Acupuncture can support you in living well.

Living with Colorectal Cancer? Acupuncture can support you in living well.


Living with Colorectal Cancer? Acupuncture can support you in living well.

By Rachel Brumberger


As a budding acupuncturist, the most popular question I receive after the initial shock that I stick needles in people is, “Does acupuncture help with X?” My answer is always, “YES, it does!”


Today, let’s make patient X someone who is living with CRC (Colorectal Cancer).  Note: I said “living with” and not “diagnosed with” or even “a CRC patient.” I’m very aware that there are many ways to discuss this and label the circumstances. I’m clear that when someone hears the words, “You have cancer” a cascade of thoughts and fears arise immediately (or even post denial). These thoughts can consume an individual’s consciousness, challenging EVERYTHING that they once knew about themselves, who they are and how their life will look now.



Despite this new challenge you are facing - you are still a whole and complete person who is now living with CRC - you are not CRC itself.


And in short, this is where I come in, and this is how I hold my responsibility as part of your healthcare team. When you come into my treatment room, I want to know who you are, what you love to do, what inspires you and what ails you. We talk about everything from what you eat, to how you poop, how it was growing up for you and what you are experiencing now as you redefine your life in conjunction with your CRC.


When I first began school one of the first key lessons from my beloved teachers was this: disease = “dis-ease.” Simply, the body is no longer in a state of ease. When I work with patients, I am looking for what impacts their experience of ease or dis-ease. We learn together how you work and how your body responds to life. This is a large part of how I choose where to put the needles, and how to partner with you in empowering your wellness. It’s all about being able to operate in the world as your fullest self.


With all of that said, here are some of the ways that acupuncture can support someone living with CRC:

  • Chemotherapy: Causes nausea/vomiting, intense cold, pain, weakness, “chemo-brain,” and neuropathy (to name a few). Acupuncture can help calm nausea, warm the body, ease the pain, revitalize one’s energy, clear up the foggy-thinking, and increase the sensation in fingers and toes.
  • Radiation: Causes burns to the skin and mucous membranes, fatigue, and traps heat inside of the body. Acupuncture helps the body use its internal fluids to cool and heal the burns, maximizes the body systems to build, conserve and utilize energy, and releases excess heat trapped inside of the body.
  • Sleep: Many people experience sleep disturbances (before and during their life with CRC). Acupuncture treatment helps promote peaceful, restful and undisturbed sleep, which is critical for the body to heal.
  • Digestion: The colorectal aspects of the body need all of the support they can get when living with CRC, no matter which “parts” you do or do not have. Acupuncture along with Chinese nutritional therapy harmonizes digestive functions.
  • Scars: Acupuncture can be used to re-establish the proper flow of energy (Qi) that scar tissue may have disturbed to support proper healing.
  • Emotions: Emotions prior to diagnosis and those which follow can be difficult to process and can cause greater upset to the body’s systems. Acupuncture treatment supports the smooth flow of all emotions, whether it be anger, grief, or sadness or as frequently is the case, all three. Wherever there is a stuck emotion, there is “stuckness” in the body too.


Bottom line, you are a unique manifestation of a human being as we all are. Your disease process is unique to you, despite what you share in a diagnosis category with others who are also living with CRC. Acupuncture supports the unique person who is living with CRC so that they can be more comfortable, more vital, and more at ease in themselves as they continue on their individual journey - hopefully for many years to come.

Rachel L. C. Brumberger

Are you at Risk For Colorectal Cancer?

  • 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined
  • Colonoscopies not only discover cancer, but can also stop cancer
  • 50% of Americans still do not get colonoscopy reimbursement
  • Colon cancer research is still vastly under-funded

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