From a traditional perspective the lymph fluid described by Western medicine is not specifically defined in Asian medicine. The quality, function and nature of lymph is categorized differently. The lymph is an aspect of “fluid” and “blood”, controlled by a number of different systems. The three major systems controlling lymph are the Spleen, Liver and San Jiao. The Spleen and Liver are organ systems with individual functions and relational functions. The San Jiao, on the other hand, is not an organ but a mechanism of water movement and metabolism controlled by the Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys. A major concern with lymphedema is the possibility of infection, especially when the affected tissue is traumatized. The advantage of acupuncture, due to the relationships described above, local treatment is unnecessary. Acupuncture is able to affect the fluid, blood and organ systems of the body, distally.
“I started experiencing lymphedema after breast cancer surgery. My right arm became swollen and painful, I was very uncomfortable. I went through conventional care and got some positive results, but I was nowhere near 100%. A friend recommended Dr. Derek and although I had never tried acupuncture I thought I would give it a shot. Dr. Derek was pleasant and very knowledgeable. He answered all my questions and made me feel at ease. I highly recommend acupuncture and Dr. Derek to all my friends”
Acupuncture for lymphedema
In a recent study, acupuncture was shown to benefit women experiencing lymphedema secondary to breast cancer treatment. The study was looking at arm circumferences and trying to determine whether or not acupuncture could help decrease the size of the affected arm. This pilot study sets the way for further studies.