Acupuncture as a Holistic and Integrative Therapy

Holistic and Integrative Practices in Healthcare have always existed side by side with Western medicine but not till the 20th Century did these other methods start to make an impact and entry into Western society.  Many of these methods when utilized under the care of a healthcare professional can be very beneficial and can sometimes work in unison with Western medication.  Various therapies that were once not mainstream such as chiro, massage therapy, hypnosis and acupuncture have no taken important roles in health and wellness within Western society.

Acupuncture is a type of holistic and integrative healthcare therapy that is an alternative to many pain pills


Acupuncture is one such therapy that can help one with a list of maladies and issues from physical pain to mental stress.  Utilizing a concept on various points of the body, the healthcare professional looks to alleviate pressure at certain points to manipulate negative energy.  Of course, the concept is tied to deep spiritual concepts found in Eastern religions, but the concepts also from a physiological standpoint also bear merit in how the body reacts to acupuncture.

The article, “Acupuncture Explained: What is It & How Can It Help You” by  Sophie Steiner and Dr. Evan Pinto looks closer at acupuncture.  Within the article, they detail what acupuncture it is, its history and what is used to treat.  While it may not be for everyone, the authors of the article are confident in its abilities to treat a broad range of maladies with many benefits.  The authors state,

“Acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine and core component of TCM, is a welcome antidote to the prescription meds and quick-fix interventions typical of Western biomedical culture. By strategically inserting hair-thin, stainless steel needles into specific pressure points, acupuncture helps relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions by shifting the body from attack mode to a more balanced, restful state. Acupuncture helps balance out one’s Qi, or energy center, leading to a calmer, healthier person.”

“Acupuncture Explained: What is It & How Can It Help You”.  Sophie Steiner and Dr. Evan Pinto.  March 17th, 2023. Thats

To review the entire article, please click here


Acupuncture is an alternative therapy utilized by a variety of Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialists to treat a variety of pain and stress disorders


Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. These needles are typically made of stainless steel and are about as thick as a human hair. Acupuncture is based on the belief that the body has energy pathways, or meridians, that can become blocked or disrupted, leading to illness or pain. By inserting needles into these specific points, acupuncturists aim to unblock the energy flow and restore balance to the body.

The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years and is believed to have originated in the Neolithic era. The earliest written records of acupuncture date back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), and the practice has been continuously used and refined ever since. In the 1970s, acupuncture gained popularity in the West, as practitioners sought out new approaches to healthcare that were less reliant on drugs and surgery.

How Acupuncture Works

The exact mechanism by which acupuncture works is not fully understood, but there are several theories. One theory is that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Another theory is that acupuncture triggers the release of neurotransmitters, which can help to regulate the body’s nervous system. There is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture can help to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to certain areas of the body.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and infertility. One of the main benefits of acupuncture is that it is a natural and non-invasive form of treatment, which can be used to complement or replace traditional medical approaches. Unlike drugs or surgery, acupuncture has few side effects and is generally very safe when performed by a qualified practitioner.

Acupuncture and Holistic Medicine

Acupuncture points correlate with spiritual energy points that allow the movement of negative energy and promote healing


Acupuncture is an integral part of holistic medicine, which focuses on treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a specific condition. Holistic practitioners believe that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, and that any imbalance in one area can lead to health problems in another. Acupuncture can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other holistic approaches, such as nutrition, exercise, and meditation.

Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a broader approach that combines traditional medical treatments with complementary therapies, such as acupuncture. Integrative medicine practitioners believe that a patient’s overall health can be improved by addressing all aspects of their health, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Acupuncture is often used as part of an integrative approach to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to cancer-related symptoms.

Acupuncture and Pain Management

Acupuncture is perhaps best known for its ability to relieve pain. Studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for a variety of pain conditions, including back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, and by reducing inflammation in the affected area. For patients seeking a natural alternative to drugs or surgery, acupuncture can be an effective and safe option.

Acupuncture and Mental Health

Acupuncture can also be an effective treatment for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to regulate the body’s nervous system, which can lead to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Acupuncture can also be used to treat insomnia, which is often a symptom of mental health problems. For patients seeking a natural and non-invasive approach to mental health treatment, acupuncture can be a valuable option.

Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for infertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve blood flow to the uterus, which can increase the chances of conception. Acupuncture can also be used to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be a barrier to conception. For couples struggling with infertility, acupuncture can be a safe and effective complement to traditional fertility treatments.

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment

During an acupuncture treatment, the practitioner will insert thin needles into specific points on the body. The needles are typically left in place for 20-30 minutes, during which time the patient may feel a slight tingling or numbness. The practitioner may also use other techniques, such as cupping or moxibustion, to enhance the effects of the treatment. Patients should wear loose, comfortable clothing and should avoid eating a large meal before the treatment.

Finding an Acupuncture Practitioner

When seeking out an acupuncture practitioner, it is important to choose someone who is qualified and experienced. In many states, acupuncturists are required to be licensed, so be sure to check their credentials before making an appointment. It is also a good idea to ask for referrals from friends or family members who have had acupuncture treatments. Many health insurance plans now cover acupuncture, so be sure to check with your insurer to see if your treatment will be covered.  Many Holistic and Integrative Specialists can also help one find someone trained and qualified to perform acupuncture.

Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

  • Is acupuncture painful?
  • Is acupuncture safe?
  • How many acupuncture treatments will I need?
  • What conditions can acupuncture treat?
  • How long do the effects of acupuncture last?


Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals


Acupuncture is a safe and effective form of alternative medicine that can be used to treat a variety of health conditions. Whether you are seeking relief from chronic pain, mental health issues, or infertility, acupuncture can be a valuable part of a holistic or integrative treatment plan. By working with a qualified practitioner, you can experience the many benefits of acupuncture and take control of your health naturally.  Contact your healthcare professional or a holistic and integrative specialist to find a qualified practitioner in acupuncture.

AIHCP offers a Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program for qualified healthcare professionals, especially in nursing, who look to utilize both Eastern and Western medicine in helping patients.  It is important to have a qualified and trained professional in guidance of many of the alternative therapies.  Holistic Nurses and other Holistic and Integrative professionals can safely guide individuals in utilizing these types of alternative therapies.  Please review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Additional Resources

“The Benefits and Side Effects of Acupuncture”. Cathy Wong.  June 29th, 2022. VeryWellHealth. Access here

Acupuncture. Mayo Clinic Staff.  Mayo Clinic.  Access here

Acupuncture. October 14th, 2020. Cleveland Clinic. Access here

“Is Acupuncture the Miracle Remedy for Everything?”. Danielle Sinay. September 18th, 2018.  Healthline.  Access here

Holistic Approach to Treating Cancer and Its Side Effects

Physiotherapist doing accupuncture

Written by Fay Smith


Traditional holistic approaches focus on multidimensional wellness aspects involving movement, meditation, and using food, supplements, herbs, essential oils, and homeopathic remedies as medicine.

People may consider these holistic approaches as alternative remedies to help with cancer treatment. But while these alternatives don’t play a direct role in curing cancer, they may help you cope with the signs and symptoms of this disease.

Some cancers like lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancer are more prevalent than others. There are also types of cancer, like mesothelioma, which is directly linked to asbestos exposure.

The Mesothelioma Group’s site provides an informative resource on the stages of mesothelioma, its diagnosis, and treatment options for its symptoms.

What holistic approaches may help manage cancer and its side effects? Are there any benefits to using such methods in addressing the side effects of rare cancers?

This article explores the various ways to manage cancer holistically. Additionally, the article discusses the advantages of managing the disease’s side effects using the holistic approach.


Holistic Ways to Help Manage or Treat Cancer and its Side Effects

People often use the term holistic approach or alternative medicine to refer to methods healthcare providers don’t usually offer.

However, researchers continue to study these alternative remedies to help gather evidence to determine whether healthcare professionals can use these methods alongside standard treatments.

When used with standard medical therapies, these evidence-based integrative medicine methods may help relieve various symptoms related to cancer and its treatment.

However, these alternative or integrative treatments generally aren’t potent enough to replace standard medicine completely. So if you or someone you know has cancer, discuss your options with your healthcare provider to find the right mix of alternative and standard treatments.

Holistic and alternative methods that can aid in treating cancer and its side effects include:

  • Acupuncture: This method involves inserting tiny needles into your skin at specific points.

Studies suggest acupuncture may help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. Acupuncture may also help relieve pain in people with cancer.

If you wish to try acupuncture, ensure that a licensed practitioner performs this technique using sterile needles.

Acupuncture isn’t recommended if you have a low blood count or if you’re taking blood thinners. So it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before you proceed with this procedure.

Another related method is acupressure, in which a practitioner applies mild pressure instead of needles to various areas of your body to help relieve nausea.

  • Aromatherapy: This technique uses fragrant essential oils for various therapeutic benefits like relieving stress, managing anxiety, and promoting sleep.

You can add oils infused with scents like lavender, chamomile, citrus, and peppermint to your bath water or apply these oils to your skin during a massage. You can also heat the fragrant oils to release their scents into the air.

Aromatherapy may help relieve cancer symptoms like nausea, pain, and stress.

While you can perform aromatherapy on your own or with a practitioner with relative safety, some oils applied to the skin can cause allergies. Talk to a medical provider to determine which oils are best for you.

  • Massage: Massages comprise different techniques that involve kneading your skin, tendons, and muscles to promote relaxation and help relieve stress and muscle tension.

Research shows that massage therapy can be a part of supportive care for cancer patients who are interested in trying this method.

Clinical practice guidelines recommend massage as one approach to help with anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression, and quality of life.

Some cancer centers have massage therapists among their staff. Your healthcare provider can also refer you to a therapist who regularly works with individuals with cancer.

If you decide to have a massage, ask your therapist to avoid tumors, surgical scars, or radiation treatment areas. Meanwhile, if you have bone cancer or other related diseases like osteoporosis, tell your massage therapist to use light pressure.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This method is a form of talk therapy wherein a mental health counselor works to help you see challenging situations better so you can respond to these events more effectively.

CBT may help individuals with cancer manage their sleep problems by identifying and replacing behaviors and thoughts that are causing or worsening their sleep issues, promoting sound sleep.

One study noted that oncology practitioners can consider integrating CBT in various ways to allow nonpharmacologic treatments to aid in cancer symptom management.


Benefits of the Holistic Approach in Helping Treat the Side Effects of Rare Cancers

Holistic health is a life approach that encourages individuals to acknowledge the whole person through physical, emotional, mental, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects. These alternative methods may help individuals deal with various health conditions, including cancer.

Although alternative treatments can’t cure your cancer, they may provide some relief from the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Cancers, including rare ones, can cause numerous side effects, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, stress, and sleep problems. Holistic treatment methods may help manage these adverse effects.

For example, if you’re experiencing anxiety, try massage, meditation, relaxation techniques, or music therapy to help relieve this symptom.

Meanwhile, if you’re stressed, go for aromatherapy, yoga, or exercise. For pain, consider acupuncture, massage, or hypnosis.

These alternative methods aren’t meant to replace standard cancer treatments, so you must consult a doctor or oncologist about how you can incorporate these remedies to help you cope with cancer and its symptoms.

To learn more about alternative medicine or the holistic approach to help with cancer, contact the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-422-6237 or visit

If you are interested in more information visit AIHCP’s Holistic & Integrative Health Care Practice Certification Program Here


What is Holistic Health?

Alternative cancer treatments: 11 options to consider

Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work?

Massage Therapy for Health : What the Science Says

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Patients With Cancer

What is Holistic Health?



Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program Article on Tea

Tea has many benefits.  Some are acute while others help with chronic conditions.  Knowing which tea is best for what can help alleviate some symptoms while sick or in need of a particular benefit.

Tea has many benefits health wise. Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Health Care Program


The article, “5 Buzzy Wellness Teas To Try For Major Health Benefits” by Ashley Tibbits looks at some benefits of tea for purposes of health and wellness.  She states,

“There’s nothing new about sipping herbal teas for various benefits. In fact, mint or ginger tea for digestion and chamomile for winding down have been used in different cultures for centuries. That said, the latest — and most buzzworthy — teas are blending different trendy ingredients in with the tried-and-true ones to aid in various health issues or make them even more super powered.”

To review the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified healthcare professionals seeking a certification in Holistic Healthcare.