Chronic fatigue can be a somewhat elusive condition. There are many factors that may be the cause of persistent exhaustion. Fatigue that becomes extreme enough to interfere with our daily lives and functioning should be addressed immediately.
How Can Acupuncture Help With Fatigue?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views fatigue as an imbalance in the body. TCM believes that once you restore balance, the body can finally heal. So how can acupuncture in particular help with fatigue, you may ask? Let’s jump into the ins and outs of fatigue and how this ancient practice may be one of the missing keys in overcoming it.
Chronic fatigue and its symptoms
If you or a loved one has been experiencing consistent fatigue or exhaustion for longer than three to six months, it’s likely a condition called chronic fatigue. According to Art of Wellness Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, some common symptoms that accompany chronic fatigue is not feeling refreshed after adequate sleep, fogginess, joint pain or sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, and sensitivity to light, noises, and smells. What makes fatigue so elusive is its subjectivity and the “invisible” symptoms that underlie it. Researchers have not been able to fully identify the causes. However, they do believe that immune dysfunction, certain infections, nutritional deficiencies, and extreme stress may all play a role. Researchers have been able to link chronic fatigue to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unfortunately, there is currently no concrete treatment protocol for fatigue in conventional medicine. On the other hand, TCM claims to get to the root of the problem. It works on a deeper level than just avoiding potential triggers or “taking it easy”. Patients who receive acupuncture and undergo lifestyle changes really start to see improvements in their daily lives.
How can acupuncture help?
The underlying belief system of TCM is that we all contain a life force energy (“Qi”) in our bodies. Fatigue presents itself in those who are unable to maintain this energy. Acupuncture has the potential to regulate activity in our nervous system. Unbalanced Qi can show up in a myriad of ways in our bodies. It can negatively affect our adrenals, spleen, pancreas, our lungs, and our blood.
If the problem lies within the adrenals, TCM can help balance the necessary hormones. Furthermore, our spleen is linked to our digestion. If it’s “out of whack”, it may show up as bloating, loose bowels, and bouts of depression. Eating patterns may change, such as sugar cravings. Additionally, doing a lot of talking for work without proper breaks may result in weakened Qi. “The lungs do the job of extracting Qi from the air we breathe,” as Art of Wellness puts it. Emotions such as grief or sadness may also weaken the lungs.
If you are quick to get sick with colds or coughs, this may also be an indicator of an imbalance. Finally, blood deficiency may also have a strong correlation with Qi deficiency. If the blood deficiency relates to your heart, it may show up as anxiety or insomnia. On the other hand, if it relates to your liver, it can cause eye strain symptoms. During the initial consultation, an acupuncture practitioner will do a thorough examination to identify the symptoms and their potential causes. An acupuncturist places fine needles along the appropriate meridians. Furthermore, moxibustion (or warm-needling) may be used to cultivate warm energy. A particular study showed that it worked even better than your standard acupuncture when it comes to fatigue.
Acupuncture may be the solution
Even though fatigue can be notoriously hard to treat, acupuncture has been shown to cause significant improvements in those willing to try it. Transformational Acupuncture claims that their patients see progress in as little as 2-3 months. Acupuncture paired with herbal medicine and lifestyle changes has the potential to improve energy levels drastically. According to Very Well Health, studies show that acupuncture can help improve health-related quality of life, general mental health, physiological function, social function, pain sensation, and insomnia. Researchers continue to implement more studies to confirm these claims. If you’re dealing with chronic fatigue (or even just mild fatigue), acupuncture may just be the missing piece to your puzzle.
Additional Source: Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.