Cancer and Traditional Chinese Medicine: Resources

By John G. McGarvey /

Cancer and Traditional Chinese Medicine: Resources

It’s been our belief since we launched DAO Labs that everyone should have an Acupuncturist as part of what we call our “wellness toolkit”.  Part of what makes this modality so special and unique is the versatility of what it can do, and where and when it can help - even in moments when the situation can be both serious and scary.  

Consider the below information a very, (very) high level resource guide for the ways that Traditional Chinese Medicine can help during cancer treatments.  To be sure, there are thousands of resources available, but as a way to further introduce Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine during these important moments, we thought the below would be helpful to encourage further research, dialogue and exploration.

None of the below are meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, but they do include links to very prestigious medical authorities.  We encourage you to consult your own physician or healthcare provider for what makes the most sense for your situation, but know that we have encouraged members of our own families to include Traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms of alternative healthcare into their personal cancer treatments.   

acupuncture for cancer

Find an Acupuncturist

With nearly 40,000 Acupuncturists and Doctors of Chinese Medicine across the United States and Canada, there is no shortage of excellent, well trained and experienced Acupuncturists to whom you could turn.  A personal referral to somebody in your community is likely easier than you think, or you could utilize this directory from the NCCAOM to find a board certified Acupuncturist in your community (please note: there are other state or regional certifying boards you can refer to as well).

Information from the National Cancer Institute

If you’re seeking more information about Acupuncture and its application for treating cancer (or to use Acupuncture to treat the side effects of cancer treatments), consider this guide from the National Cancer Institute.  There is excellent information about some of the very basic aspects like getting started and “does it hurt?”.  

chinese herbs cancer

Research on Chinese Herbs for Treating Cancer:

Could Chinese herbal therapy be part of a longer term solution?  Possibly.  In 2020, researchers at Yale University began a clinical study for the application of an herbal botanical in the treatment of cancer.  This is hopefully just the beginning.  

Medical Centers that Offer Acupuncture

As a broader endorsement to and acceptance of this modality by the larger healthcare community, it’s possible that your hospital or healthcare center already offers Acupuncture as a treatment option.  From Johns Hopkins to the Cleveland Clinic, the number of hospitals that offer Acupuncture as a treatment option continues to increase.  Consider talking with your doctor about options that might be part of your current network - it could literally be down the hall.  Note that many times, “acupuncture” will be included in your hospital’s “integrative health” center or initiative.  

A final consideration

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s role in this journey might be in helping treat the side effects of western solutions to cancer (particularly for issues related to sleep, nausea or even stress), or in helping support the caretakers as well.  Sleep can be a major factor for all parties, which Chinese Medicine can be remarkably effective in supporting.  



John G. McGarvey is a co-founder of DAO Labs and a regular contributor to The Way. A frequent visitor to China and Asia for both business and pleasure, he is an avid consumer of Chinese medicine. He can be reached at john@mydaolabs.com.

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