Jun Mao, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor of Family Medicine and Community Health who directs the Abramson Cancer Center's Integrative Oncology Program, is quoted in an NBCNews.com article about the increasing use of complementary and alternative therapies in cancer care. The role of acupuncture in symptom and side effect management is one of Mao's areas of research. "We don't entirely understand its mechanism," Mao says. "We do know that acupuncture can help relieve pain by bringing in endogenous opiates, which are like pain medication." Other therapies, such as yoga, help to reduce pain by reducing stress, Mao says. "They enhance centeredness and peace," he explains. "And that kind of stress reduction can reduce pain. Anxiety can lower a person's pain threshold. By helping to lower stress and anxiety, it can help with the pain."
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