During a treatment, energy is believed to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. When energy is flowing freely through the meridians, it stimulates the immune system, which is thought to promote healing and balance. In contrast, pain or illness may occur when the flow of energy is disturbed or off balance. A goal of acupuncture is to restore balance and healthy energy flow through the body to control pain and other symptoms.
While it’s not fully understood how acupuncture works, research suggests that the therapy can benefit cancer patients. It’s been shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy. In addition, research has shown that it can relieve pain, possibly by triggering the body’s pain-killing chemicals and by inducing the release of chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.