Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies for Fibromyalgia
Traditional Chinese Medicine is known to be effective against a range of health conditions. Fibromyalgia is a long-term painful condition that affects between 2 to 5% of adults across the world. The main symptoms are chronic musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, excessive fatigue and poor quality of sleep. Troubles with concentration and memory are other symptoms of fibromyalgia, also termed as “fibro-fog”.
Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been in practice for more than two thousand years is known to be highly effective against any pathologies that involve pain. A National Institutes of Health consensus conference on acupuncture recommended the therapy for fibromyalgia. TCM believes that there is a blockage to “Qi”, the natural flow of energy that balances “yin” and “yang” forces in fibromyalgia. The imbalance of forces creates the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
A number of fibromyalgia sufferers nowadays seek the services of the best professionals in acupuncture within one to two years of diagnosis.
Causes of fibromyalgia
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, fibromyalgia is considered to be a muscle impediment or “ji bi”. The syndrome is further categorized into three patterns of xu lao marked by fatigue, yu sheng characterized by depression, and Shi mian, marked by insomnia.
TCM believes the liver-spleen disharmony to be the cause of fibromyalgia. The “jing luo” or the meridians run in a longitudinal pattern across the body and include the neurovascular system. The body’s vitality and health depends on the healthy functioning of this system.
TCM classifies organs of the body into yin and yang organs, and out of these, the liver and spleen are considered to have more responsibilities than other organs. A diet that is low in nutrition or emotions such as anger and stress can cause the liver and spleen to weaken. The consequence of this weakening is felt in the nervous system with a disruption of the normal neurotransmitter functions in the brain.
The neurotransmitter disruption leads to the typical symptoms of fibromyalgia of insomnia, fatigue, pain, depression, and anxiety.
Acupuncture for fibromyalgia
Research has shown the efficacy of acupuncture in regulating physiological and neurochemical functions.
Acupuncture, when delivered on traditional points, can regulate and improve the blood circulation, electroencephalogram patterns, and the rate of respiration. Studies have also shown that acupuncture is effective in stimulating the release of “happy hormones” including serotonin, beta-endorphin, and met-enkephalin. Acupuncture is also known to reduce levels of cortisol which is released during stress.
The best acupuncture therapists in Auckland has recommend acupuncture combined with Alpha-Stim cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). The combined therapy gives optimal and fast relief from symptoms besides also being cost-effective. Similar to acupuncture, Alpha-Stim CES is also effective in normalizing the functions in the brain.
Acupuncture and Alpha-Stim are effective in providing pain relief and eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia including depression, stress, and anxiety. One of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia is the disturbance of cognitive functions with patients facing difficulty in concentration and memory. Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies restore the cognitive functions by stimulating the nerve cells to
Evidence for acupuncture’s efficacy in fibromyalgia
A systematic review by researchers was conducted on all randomized controlled trials available in the national databases including National Research Register, PubMed, and CENTRAL. The systematic review found evidence that the acupuncture method in Traditional Chinese Medicine was effective in treating stiffness and pain in fibromyalgia. There were notable improvements in sleep quality and fatigue levels as well with electro-acupuncture.
Another randomized controlled study was conducted with 114 outpatients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A total of eighteen acupuncture treatment sessions were given in a progressive manner. One weekly session was followed by twice weekly, thrice weekly and the pain was assessed using a pain scale at the end of the sessions. More than 35% of patients reported a significant reduction in pain after the sessions.
A randomized, partially blinded controlled clinical trial involving 50 patients was conducted by the Mayo clinic. Half of the patients were given acupuncture treatment and the other half were placed in the control group. Researchers used a questionnaire and pain inventory scale to assess symptoms of fibromyalgia at baseline before treatment and immediately post-treatment. These tools were also used to assess the symptoms after one month and seven months. Researchers found significant improvement in pain, anxiety, and fatigue in the group that received acupuncture treatment.