An acupuncturist will demonstrate how acupuncture and related therapies can help cancer patients improve their physical health and mental harmony at a Northern Virginia hospital this week.

Kathe Ana, a licensed acupuncturist, will discuss how restoring the body's flow of energy along 12 paths -- known in Chinese medicine as meridians -- helps the body begin to heal itself at a presentation sponsored by the Virginia Hospital Center's Cancer Resource Center.

Acupuncture restores the flow when very thin needles are inserted into the skin, while other meridian-based therapies such as acupressure, the Jaffe-Mellor technique and neuromodulation don't use needles, she says.

These complementary therapies can be used in conjunction with traditional medical care to help cancer patients with severe pain, the side effects of cancer drugs and the stress that often accompanies a life-threatening illness. They may also help patients heal more quickly after having surgery, Ana says.

Meridian-Based Therapy for Cancer Patients, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington, John T. Hazel Conference Center, 1701 N. George Mason Dr., Arlington. Call 703-558-0913 to register.

-- Diane Knich

Acupuncture can help treat pain and the side effects of cancer drugs.