Acupuncture When Blood Counts are Low

Last Modified: January 28, 2011


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Can I get acupuncture if I am neutropenic or have low platelets?


Jun Mao, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at Penn Medicine, responds:

Yes, in general it is OK. It is better to work with an acupuncturist who has experience treating cancer patients. Please tell your acupuncturist and your oncologist that you have low white blood cells/or platelets and you are going to try acupuncture. Your acupuncturist may pay particular attention for any potential sign of infection related to the needling.

Some hospitals have acupuncturists on their staff and can provide care to you. Certainly, it is the decision of your treatment medical oncologist to make the final decision in the hospital setting who to consult or not.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the entire transcript of Integrating Complementary Therapies into Your Cancer Care.