Asian medical practitioners can be very useful before, during and after surgery. As both a preventative and curative practice, Asian medicine seeks to heal disease states at any level of acuity. With proper treatment using acupuncture and Asian pharmacology, many conditions would never make it to the operating room. Prevention can be the best cure and eliminate the need for some invasive procedures.
There are some conditions that require surgery, in which case, the goal is to minimize discomfort and maximize healing before, during and after the procedure. Dr. Sun Pei-Lin’s recent book, “The Management of Post-Operative Pain With Acupuncture, lists many advantages to using acupuncture for postoperative pain:
to completely relieve pain, or provide as much relief as possible;
to improve the ability to deal with pain;
to control local tissue swelling;
to shorten the resolution of hematoma;
to assist emotions;
to regulate appetite;
to strengthen energy;
to minimize the side effects of anesthesia;
to diminish reliance on painkillers;
to minimize the use of other medications associated with pain and their side effects; and
to stimulate the rapid return to functional activities.
The NIH consensus statement about acupuncture, written in 1997, agrees: “Promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in post-operative dental pain.”