Spotlight: Acupuncture for Cancer Patients

November 6, 2019 Dr. Gregory Rudolf, M.D. and Stevie Moran, Health Education Intern

Dr. Gregory Rudolf at Swedish Pain Services has partnered with the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) to offer oncology patients treatment with medical acupuncture. Dr. Rudolf is an MD who is board certified in pain medicine, addiction medicine, medical acupuncture, and family medicine. After years of training, fellowships, and work experience in a pain-focused practice at Swedish Pain Services, he became especially intrigued by acupuncture as a form of pain management treatment. In 2007 he sought training through a program affiliated with Stanford University Medical School. Acupuncture has been a major component of his daily patient care ever since.

Sometimes cancer itself will cause distinct physical symptoms, but often times the physical and psychological challenges associated with cancer are related to side effects of the cancer treatment. Examples of such challenges include pain of any type, nausea, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and/or low energy. Use of prescription medication is a common way to help mediate these symptoms. However, medications themselves can have their own adverse effects, and are not always effective. Almost any patient being treated for cancer at SCI is eligible to be treated with acupuncture, as it is extremely safe and there are very few factors that serve as reasons to withhold the treatment.

 Acupuncture utilizes very thin needles to gently stimulate specific parts of the body known as acupoints, which release the body’s own chemical and energy messages to the local tissue and the central nervous system. This can help modulate pain felt in the body, as well as induce a feeling of relaxation and well-being. There are various ways to approach a given set of symptoms with acupuncture. The design of any single treatment is selected based on optimizing comfort and relaxation during the treatment, while addressing the patient’s main concerns.

Dr. Rudolf spends time with new patients getting to know their medical history, current symptoms, unique background and their goals and priorities for acupuncture treatment. Dr. Rudolf is aware that patients new to acupuncture often have natural and normal apprehensive feelings regarding what the needles will feel like. Because of this, he makes patient comfort the single biggest goal, because he cannot help a patient who chooses not to stay with treatment. He firmly believes that prioritizing the physical and emotional comfort of the patient is crucial, and aims to provide care that is warm and welcoming, gentle, and ultimately effective.

To learn more about Swedish Pain Services or to schedule a consultation and treatment, please call 206-386-2013.

Swedish Pain Services, First Hill

600 Broadway, Suite 530

Seattle, WA 98122

 

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