Monthly Archives: August 2014

Acupuncture for Chemotherapy Side Effects

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
One of the most studied aspects of acupuncture is its ability to decrease the severity of many of the side effects of chemotherapy. There are many different types of chemotherapy medications, and a wide range of short and long term effects, some which can become severe enough to be debilitating and dramatically decrease the patient’s quality of life. It’s become quite common these days for oncologists to recommend acupuncture as an adjunct therapy in helping patients control the side effects of their cancer treatments. Many hospitals now have Integrative Medicine centers that make acupuncture easily available to their patients (many service both inpatients and outpatients), and we see a number of people here at BCA who have been directly referred by their oncologists. The most common side effects we help treat include:

Nausea and vomiting

Diarrhea or constipation

Joint pain or and/or general body achiness


Extreme fatigue–can often last long past chemotherapy treatments ends

Peripheral neuropathy–numbness, weakness, and/or pain, typically in the hands and feet, can also last long after chemotherapy ends

Low Blood Counts-while we do provide treatments to help support immune function and keep blood counts up, we do not advise coming for treatment if your ANC is less than 500. If your ANC is over 500, but still your counts are still very low, we would recommend a mask (and have them available at the clinic should you need one).

Of all the side effects listed above the most common is nausea and vomiting, and therefore is the one most often studied in relation to acupuncture by western medicine. There have been multiple studies over the past 20 years, and the results consistently show a positive effect from acupuncture and it’s ability to decrease [...]


By Nicole Murray, L.Ac.
Migraines are intense pounding headaches that can last from hours to several days. About 12% of the US population suffers from these debilitating attacks. The pain is often on one side of the head, and there may be extreme sensitivity to light, movement and sound. In some cases, people may also suffer nausea and vomiting. This is a neurological disease, and ranked among the world’s top 20 disabling diseases.
Researchers don’t fully understand the cause of migraines, but are studying the theory that drops in serotonin levels during attacks may affect the pain response in the brain. The Mayo Clinic reports that up to 90% of people with migraines have a family history of these headaches. Women are three times more likely than men to suffer migraines.
There are numerous triggers for migraines, including:

Food and drink, e.g., caffeinated beverages, alcohol, chocolate, and MSG.

Dehydration or skipping meals.

Hormone fluctuations.



Lack of Sleep

Loud sounds, bright lights, and strong odors.



‘Classic’ migraines come with a warning sign or “aura,” such as flashing lights, colors,  partial vision loss, or muscle weakness. “Common’ migraines are not preceded by auras.
Migraine symptoms include:

Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one side of your head or both sides

Pain that worsens with physical activity

Nausea or vomiting

Changes in how you see, including blurred vision or blind spots

Being bothered by light, noise or odors

Feeling tired and/or confused

Stopped-up nose

Feeling cold or sweaty

Stiff or tender neck


Tender scalp

Conventional Treatment
Doctors typically prescribe medication to prevent the attacks and/or to relieve symptoms. Acupuncture and other stress management strategies such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and biofeedback may reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks. For overweight patients, weight loss may be helpful.
We treat migraines frequently [...]

Why Icing Injuries is No Longer Recommended

People ask us literally every day whether they should be icing their injuries, and we always advise using gentle heat instead. This causes some confusion, because many chiropractors, physical therapists, and medical doctors are still advising patients to follow “RICE” (rest/ice/compress/elevate) guidelines.
We’d love you to read an article called RICE: The End of an Ice Age, by Joshua J. Stone, MA, ATC, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS.
This article, backed up with extensive, credible research, dispels the myth that decreasing circulation to an injured area is helpful. In fact, there is evidence that following RICE delays healing.
The physician that coined the term RICE has changed his position, saying: “Coaches have used my “RICE” guideline for decades, but now it appears that both Ice and complete Rest may delay healing, instead of helping.” – Gabe Mirkin, MD, March 2014
Please take the time to read the article!

Infertility and Acupuncture

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
    Infertility is the inability to conceive a child or to carry a pregnancy to full term. The time frame when a couple is considered infertile varies based on where you live in the world. In general, and according to the World Health Organization, a couple is assumed to be infertile if, after two years of regular, contraceptive-free intercourse, the woman has not become pregnant. Primary infertility refers to a couple who has never been able to have a child, while secondary infertility refers to a couple who has not been able to conceive following a prior pregnancy. Subfertility is a term that often overlaps with secondary infertility, meaning the couple does have a chance at conceiving, but the odds are much lower than average (often due to things such as low sperm count, ovarian or uterine issues, hormonal imbalances, etc.).
    Here in the US, the guidelines in defining when a couple is considered infertile takes into account the option for specialized fertility treatments that may increase their odds at conceiving. In the US a couple is considered infertile if:

The woman is under 35 and the couple has not conceived after 12 months of regular intercourse without contraceptives

The woman is over 35 and the couple has not conceived after 6 months of regular intercourse without contraceptives

    We see many people at BCA for infertility. A great number of these people come on the referral of their OB/GYN or fertility specialist. Some are using acupuncture as their only source of treatment, and some are combining with western fertility treatments. We are happy to support you in whatever methods you are choosing. Acupuncture has been shown to be successful at complementing [...]