What is Fibromyalgia?
Quite simply, fibromyalgia syndrome is a disease that is currently unexplainable by modern medicine though it affects over two percent of the United State’s population. Treatment for this syndrome is a complex process because so little is known about it. Doctors will prescribe a variation of medications depending on the symptoms you have (listed below) to attempt to figure out what works. The best bet would be to look into using alternative medicines rather than test medications with harmful side effects on your body. Acupuncture is the number one alternative method people use, which is because it has been found to be much more effective than any other type of treatment.
This syndrome causes chronic pain throughout the body, as well as exhaustion, depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness of fingers, poor blood circulation which can lead to Raynaud’s phenomenon, lack of focus, restless leg syndrome, painful menstrual cycles, migraines, pain in the jaw, stiffness of joints, dry mouth, dry eyes, dry nasal passages, incontinence, and hypersensitivity to sounds or bright lights.
In order for a doctor to diagnose a person with fibromyalgia, they must have a history of chronic pain in all four area of the body for at least three to four months. As of now there are not any tests that can verify that one actually has this syndrome, so a diagnosis is simply a highly educated guess. The symptoms of fibromyalgia typically show after some sort of physical or mental trauma, but no one can be certain that is the main cause. It has been discovered that women have a higher chance of developing this syndrome compared to men.
From the perspective of oriental medicine, any type of pain or disease results when there is an imbalance of Qi, or life energy, somewhere in the body. They have found that disruptions in the spleen, cardiovascular system, liver, and kidney can cause fibromyalgia syndrome to occur.
How Acupuncture Helps
Since fibromyalgia has such a wide range of symptoms, there are many variations of alternate treatments one could get. Each ways is customized for a person, so it will always be effective, especially compared to doctor prescribed medications. Alternative treatments may include methods such as different types of herbs, dietary recommendations, specific exercises, psychological therapies, and acupuncture.
An acupuncture session will not treat fibromyalgia as a whole. Instead it treats it by dividing up the symptoms that a person has. Each person is different, as is their emotional state, type of pain, sleeping patterns, general health, age, and the specific symptoms they have. Each person treated with acupuncture will have their own treatment designed specifically for them.
There are a few lifestyle changes one can make to help treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. These changes can be seen below.
Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Help Treat Fibromyalgia
Change #1: Stop drinking beverages filled with sugar, such as soda. Soda contains a mass amount of chemicals and ingredients that are bad for your body.
Change #2: Reduce the amount of stress you have in your life. Stress can completely ruin a person, especially if it is prolonged. Find a way to manage it before anything serious arises. Relaxation tapes may be a good idea.
Change #3: Stop eating processed and refined foods like white bread and pasta. Products like those contain no nutrition in the slightest and can cause obesity if eaten often.
Change #4: Start exercising! Exercise can prevent all sorts of illnesses and diseases, so it is important to get at least three hours of it per week. Exercises that can get the blood pumping can be activities like tennis, swimming, running, weight lifting, or yoga. At the very least be sure to walk a little bit every day.
Change #5: Consume foods that contain protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and complex carbohydrates.
Change #6: Change any bad patterns or habits you may partake in. Replace that habit with a hobby you can really focus on.
Change #7: Look into performing a Chinese self-massage every morning. This will stimulate your acupuncture points, which improves the flow of one’s Qi. Doing so will help your body defend against any oddities, as well as fibromyalgia.
A Study on How Acupuncture Affects Fibromyalgia
Mayo Clinic recently performed a study on if acupuncture actually does help treat fibromyalgia, which they did find that acupuncture is indeed a reliable treatment for the syndrome and the symptoms that develop because of it. The patients who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia reported that acupuncture treatments helped them overcome their fatigue, depression, anxiety, as well as any other symptoms they had.
The study required two groups of people with the first group consisted of twenty-five people who were to receive acupuncture, while the second group contained twenty-five people who received mock acupuncture treatments. The group that received the treatment reported a significant improvement in their health after one month.
Dr. David Martin, the lead doctor of this study, reported that this study had proven acupuncture to be a helpful treatment as well as proved that studies on acupuncture can be efficiently performed. There has been an increase in the amount of studies there is on acupuncture which can help doctors figure out which conditions are best treated with an acupuncture session. It was also reported that the study only used those who had severe conditions, which made the entire process more controlled. Dr. Martin suggests that more doctors should perform more studies on how acupuncture affects those with fibromyalgia.
Exercise – While even basic movements may be painful exercise helps restore strength and endurance. Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga are great for easy stretches, careful strengthening, deep breathing, along with relaxation techniques. The gentle stretching will clear tension that builds when muscles tighten and tense and improve overall circulation. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Meditate – The practice of meditation is a proven stress reducer that helps the body create a sense of calm and a continuing sense of well being. While 15 minutes is recommended, even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.
Restorative Sleep – Get at least 8 hours of restorative sleep. Maintain a routine sleep schedule and make your bedroom a sanctuary from every day stress. Practicing good sleep hygiene will give your body an opportunity to get stronger and heal.