Facebook Pixel

Would acupuncture be helpful in treating lymphedema?

By February 13, 2011 - 2:41am
Rate This

In August of 2010 I underwent a mastectomy in my right breast. Twenty-four years earlier I had a mastectomy on the left side. I went through chemo both times. I developed lymphedema in my right arm and hand in December. I saw a physical therapist and she showed me how to do self-massage. I thought I would try this instead of going with the compression sleeve and glove. The massage doesn't do that much good. I just went a couple of days ago to get measured for the sleeve and glove. I am not looking forward to wearing the sleeve and glove at all. What do you know about acupuncture and is this a good alternative for treating lymphedema?

Add a Comment1 Comments

According to the National Lymphedema Network, "acupuncture is contraindicated in lyphedema patients, particularly in the affected limb, due to infection risks. Those few patients who have tried [acupuncture] have reported no benefit or reduction in the lymphedema.".

Source: lymphnet.org: FAQ, 1998.

Please note that this statement was from 1998, and many advances (and more information) have been realized regarding "alternative and complementary medicine".

I have read about the benefits of acupuncture for many conditions, but it does not seem to be recommended for swelling, for fear of infection at the site. If you are interested, you would need to talk with your doctor specifically about your individual treatment plan, as perhaps it could be part of your long-term management (after you use the sleeve and glove for a predetermined amount of time). Bottom line: if acupuncture is "approved" by your doctor, I have not found any information that it could take the place of the sleeve and glove, unfortunately.

Please talk with your doctor, and keep us updated!

February 13, 2011 - 9:28am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.

Breast Cancer

Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Breast Cancer Guide


Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!