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DENVER — Things are changing in the medical world.  Doctors are now including acupuncture as part of their treatment strategy for cancer patients, merging the ancient practice with powerful modern medical techniques.

The University Of Colorado Hospital is leading the way in providing a wider range of choices for patients.

Joseph VanZale is receiving acupuncture on a regular basis as part of his cancer treatment.  He says it is already helping him to cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.

He says, “My energy and my weight was going down at an incredible level.” But after weeks of acupuncture treatment by Dr. Ban Wong things have improved.

VanZale says, “I’m walking without a cane, longer distances, the other day I got on a treadmill.”

Dr. Wong, a University Of Colorado Hospital Chinese medicine specialist, says acupuncture can restore “balance” which can rejuvenate patients battling nausea and other side effects.

He says, “Studies using functional MRIs show when we do acupuncture our brain actually responds and different areas of the brain light up.”

VanZale says acupuncture is crucial to relieving stress and the interaction with Dr. Wong lifts his spirits and he also says, “We do laugh a lot. We talk about different things including Kung Fu Panda.”

Many say creating innovative medicine has been a long time coming. It’s something that gives the patient the best of both worlds.

Jordan Mann, who works in the Integrative Medicine branch of the hospital says, “Traditional ancient medicine with western current medicine are bringing people the best chance they have to get well and stay well and prevent illness in the first place.”

Joseph’s wife Monica says she can’t believe the difference in her husband of 48 years and is grateful that the University Of Colorado Hospital is “modern” enough to bring these two practices together for the good of patients.

She says, “We have a really good normal life. Our new normal is great.”

Learn more about the benefits of acupuncture