Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine is not one disease, but one of, or a combination of, several possible disease patterns. Western doctors, unaware of these patterns, diagnose them all as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed when no other condition, such as arthritis, bursitis, or tendonitis can be positively identified by tests or X-Rays. Its symptoms are pain which may appear in several or many areas of the body. Other common symptoms are exhaustion or overwhelming fatigue, and stiff muscles upon awakening in the morning.
A study done by the Mayo Clinic on acupuncture on fibromyalgia concluded that fibromyalgia symptoms were relieved by acupuncture. 50 patients were divided into two groups: one received acupuncture while the other was given simulated acupuncture. Both groups had six sessions over 2-3 weeks.
The researchers found that improvements were found in fatigue and anxiety levels on par with medications, such as anti-depressants and acetaminophen. On the other hand, several other studies found no statistical improvements from acupuncture treatment.
Many acupuncturists believe that standardized research is not helpful or revealing in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as the techniques and the points used are very different from one person to another. This is especially true in a condition such as fibromyalgia, which can consist of many varying diagnoses to an acupuncturist.
What Causes Pain?
Where there's pain, there is no flow.
Pain is caused by the stagnation of energy or fluids. When flow is restrained or interrupted, pain occurs, alerting us to the problem. Three causes of pain are:
1. Obstruction (blocked flow - due to injury, swelling, oversupply or engorgement of qi or blood )
2. Constraint (restrained flow - due to emotional, psychic, or mental constraint),
3. Deficiency (weak flow - due to deficiency of qi or blood)
To treat fibromyalgia, the acupuncturist must diagnose the underlying conditions of the pain. Since fibromyalgia can appear in muscles and tendons all over the body, it is widely understood to be a systemic disease involving the regulation of flow. This is attributed to an organ system known to acupuncturists as "The Liver". This is not the same as what Western medicine calls the liver and in no way implies liver disease.
Diagnosis for this condition can be difficult, and successful treatment usually requires consultation with a skilled acupuncturist or Chinese herbologist. However the symptoms accompanying the pain can provide several clues. For example, the presence of fatigue, often implies that at least one root of this disease is a deficiency. More discrimination is needed to know if this is a deficiency of qi or blood or yin or yang energy. If stress causes a worsening of symptoms, constraint is a suspected cause. If muscle weakness or digestive complaints are present, Spleen deficiencies may also play a part. Accompanying sleep problems could suggest a Heart Blood deficiency.
Chinese Herbal Medicines for Fibromyalgia
A FEW ACUPUNCTURE POINTS FOR FIBROMYALGIA TREATMENT
GB34 • Yang Ling Quan • Gall Bladder 34 Yang Mound Spring. Hui Point for Tendons and Muscles. He Sea Point on Gall Bladder Channel.
Location: On the lateral side of the leg, in the depression anterior and inferior to the head of the fibula.
LR3 • Tai Chong • Liver 3 Great Surge. Shu Stream Point on the Liver Channel. Yuan Source Point on the Liver Channel.
Location: On the dorsum of the foot, between the first and second metatarsal bones, approximately 2 cun superior to the web margin.
LI4 • He Gu • Large Intestine 4 Union Valley. Yuan Source Point on the Large Intestine Channel.
Location: On the dorsum of the hand, approximately at the midpoint of the second metacarpal bone.
Contraindication: Do Not Needle If Pregnancy is known or suspected.