Traditional chinese medicine has evolved over thousands of years. A meta-analysis of dozens of studies of traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture and therapeutic massage, were observed to reduce gastrointestinal disruptions after surgery, and acupuncture was also found to lessen fatigue in cancer patients. The study was reported in Oncotarget.
Dr. Qiang (Quentin) Liu said, "We think this is the most comprehensive study of traditional Chinese medicine psycho-behavioral interventions and the quality of life of cancer patients published to date. Our findings will promote more investigations into how the body and mind are connected during disease development, and will facilitate better cancer treatments."
Other interventions not associated with traditional Chinese medicine, including stress management, cognitive behavioral therapy and physical training, also were found to improve quality of life in Chinese cancer patients, the researchers report.
Keith Kelly said, "The latter 16 studies did not include enough studies of tai chi and qigong to allow the researchers to come to meaningful conclusions about the specific effects of those interventions. The total number of cancer patients included in the analysis was 6,806."
The researchers said, "We were surprised by the limited number of papers on the use of traditional Chinese medicine psycho-behavioral interventions for Chinese cancer patients that qualified for entry into this meta-analysis, particularly since the TCMs originated and are mostly practiced in China."
Kelly said, "Traditional Chinese medicine has been practiced for 2,500 years in China. But what is the scientific evidence that it improves quality of life in cancer patients? This paper establishes that it does. Unfortunately, we were not able to determine what specific components of traditional Chinese medicine are the most effective. I hope the evidence that traditional Chinese medicine and other nonpharmacological interventions benefit cancer patients will prompt new interest in research aimed at understanding the physiological mechanisms at play."