Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia – A Natural Alternative Treatment

What is Fibromyalgia?

fibromyalgiaQuite simply, fibromyalgia syndrome is a disease that is currently unexplainable by modern medicine though it affects over two percent of the population of the United States. 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. Many look into using alternative medicines rather than test medications with potentially harmful side effects. Acupuncture is the number one alternative method people use because it has been found to be much more effective than any other type of treatment.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia 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.

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

In order for a doctor to diagnose a person with fibromyalgia, they must have a history of chronic pain in all four quadrants 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 Treat Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain ReliefAn acupuncture session will not treat fibromyalgia as a whole. Instead it treats it by dividing up the symptoms that the patient has and treating the imbalances related to those symptoms. The diagnosis looks at their emotional state, type of pain, sleeping patterns, general health, age, and the specific symptoms they have. There is no standard acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia.  Each treatment will be unique to each patient.

Lifestyle change is necessary when dealing with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Implement the following tips for best results:

7 Lifestyle Changes That Help Fibromyalgia

1: Drop sugar. Stop drinking beverages filled with sugar, such as soda. Sugar increases inflammation and raises blood sugar which later crashes.  Watch out for so called “natural” beverages too that are loaded with sugar.  Refined sugar in any form is not your friend.

2: Reduce stress.  This is a tough one, as life comes with stress.  You can deal with it by taking up meditation (below), any kind of activity or exercise, a daily nap, going to the beach, listening to relaxation tapes, even seeing a therapist or hypnotist.  Prolonged stress can significantly damage the body and mind.  It could be that a radical change may be necessary such as changing jobs or the like.  Finding a way to manage stress is essential.

3: Meditate. This is a form of stress reduction.  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.

4: Eat clean. Stop eating processed and refined foods like white bread and pasta.  They raise blood sugar which increases inflammation.  Inflammation causes discomfort and pain.  Slow burning carbohydrates like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, beans and potatoes do not.

5: Start exercising!  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.

6: Protein power. Consume foods that contain protein like lean meats and fish.  Also eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and complex carbohydrates.

7: Sleep.  The body requires 8 hours of restorative sleep per day for optimum health.  Lack of sleep increases inflammation, cortisol, lack of energy and more.  Maintain a routine sleep schedule and make your bedroom a sanctuary from every day stress. Practicing good sleep habits will give your body an opportunity to get stronger and heal.

8: Blood flow.  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.

Mayo Clinic Study – How Acupuncture Affects Fibromyalgia

The Mayo Clinic recently performed a study on if acupuncture actually does help treat fibromyalgia. 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 many 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 real treatments 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 scientific studies on the efficacy of acupuncture.  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.

 

Naturally Treating Irritability and Moodiness with Acupuncture

Treating Irritability and Moodiness with Acupuncture

irritabilityEverybody suffers from a mood swing every now and then, but if you are constantly moody and irritable then it may be a wise idea to look into receiving an acupuncture treatment. In most cases, a short temper can be the result of a high and consistent stress level. If the stress level continues to remain constant, then this can lead to more severe mental conditions such as depression or anxiety and can even cause physical symptoms like insomnia, weakened immune system, and digestive problems.

As far as Traditional Oriental Medicine is concerned, stress and the conditions that result from it are all caused by an imbalance of Qi (life energy), in the liver. When the liver Qi becomes stagnant, this can cause an energy blockage, leading to conditions like irritability and stress.

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation

Liver Qi Stagnation is the most common type of imbalance today. Prolonged stagnation of the Liver Qi can also lead to pain around the ribs, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), nausea, belching, sour regurgitation, diarrhea, painful menstrual cycles, abdominal distention, and congestion in the chest. This condition can often occur in women experiencing PMS.

Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture work exceedingly well in countering Liver Qi Stagnation.  When the liver is functioning normally again, you will notice that your mental and physical health will greatly improve. Besides acupuncture there are lifestyle changes that can be done as well to help boost the flow of Qi in the liver.

Eating clean can be a good first step is revitalizing the body. Vegetables and fruits can improve the basic functions of the liver as well as the flow of Qi throughout the body. Sour fruits like lemons are also helpful in the stimulation of Liver Qi.Vegetables and fruits

Besides water, milk thistle tea will also benefit the body by moving liver Qi and protecting the liver from toxins such as alcohol or NSAIDs.

stretchingStretching exercises like Tai Qi or yoga can improve the flexibility of the tendons.

Exercises for the eyes also help since the liver is directly responsible for eye health. Make sure to take a break from the computer if you are staring at it for a long period of time. Here are some eye exercises you could do while taking a break.

Lastly, seasonal acupuncture treatments will not only help the flow of Liver Qi, but will improve the body in its entirety.

With the above lifestyle changes and acupuncture treatments, you need not feel constantly stressed or moody. To set up an acupuncture appointment call or send an email today!

In This Post

 

  • Treating Irritability and Moodiness with Acupuncture
  • Move Your Qi!
  • The Four Gates Treatment for Moving Qi
  • Signs and Symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation

 

The Four Gates Treatment for Moving Qi

4 gates acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture for Skin Conditions

Acupuncture Treats Common Skin Conditions

skinOur skin is a good indication of the current condition of our body, how the current environment affects our body, and the specific imbalances of our Qi. Qi means life energy, and when that energy is disrupted it can lead to several skin disorders. Our Qi can be disrupted by our emotions or our lifestyle as well as by environmental conditions like humidity, wind, heat, and dryness in the air. Oriental medicine and acupuncture can be extremely effective for treating any kind of skin condition by relieving the symptoms associated with the specific disorder. Skin disorders generally include eczema, acne, shingles, pruritus, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea, and hives.

Oriental medicine treats skin problems specific to the symptoms rather than the particular condition itself.  This means that if several different people have the same condition, they would each have their own customized treatment plan using a variety of techniques. The techniques that are involved typically include herbal medications, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, dietary changes, specific exercises for balance restoration, and acupuncture.

Treating Hives with Acupuncture

Hives, also known as urticaria, is a condition that twenty percent of the United States popular will experience at least once in their lifetime. Typically hives is treated with a corticosteroid drug or antihistamines, but more people are discovering that oriental medicine and acupuncture address the condition and symptoms more effectively than any medication on the market. These methods will fix any imbalances in the body to relieve the symptoms and prevent it from reoccurring.

Red or swollen welts on the skin is defined as what is known as hives. The most common symptom of this condition is constant itching of the welts. Quite a number of people have reported a burning or stinging feeling as well. This condition can affect any part of the body such as the throat, legs, arms, hands, lips, ears, or face. The trigger of hives is usually caused by an allergic hypersensitive response to a chemical. Although this reaction can occur from certain medications, additives, food, sunlight, and environmental condition, three-fourths of the time the exact cause is unknown.

The length of time hives lasts can vary greatly. It can last as little as several minutes to more than a few months. It rarely causes a life-threatening state, but it still is possible if the condition shocks the body too much. Standard treatments are usually aimed at relieving itching, which involve taking antihistamines or by soothing the affected areas with a cool compressor.

Research has proven time and time again that acupuncture and oriental medicine are best for treating any skin condition. These methods date back all the way to the first century and are still used today. Specific herbs and needles were used to comfort pain caused by conditions like hives.

Common Acupuncture Points for Hives

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain ReliefThe Easterners saw hives as “wind invading the skin.” They used terms and phrases such as this to diagnose the specific problems a person had and which acupuncture points need to be targeted as well as what lifestyle changes need to be made. The treatments used will target both the main condition and the symptoms that are caused from it. Acupuncture will restore balance to the body which will not only heal it from any condition, but improve it overall.

There are over three hundred acupuncture points on the body. Those who specialize in acupuncture will know which to target based on a person’s health condition and symptoms. The two points that are used to treat hives include the LI 11 and SP 10. LI 11, or Large Intestine 11, is located on the outside of the elbow which can be best exposed when the arm is at a ninety degree angle. The LI 11 helps remove any heat from the body which will reduce inflammation caused by hives. SP 10, or Spleen 10, is found right above the kneecap and can best be accessed when the knee is bent. This point is considered a significant point on the body and is used for many conditions including hives.

Study: Acupuncture and Hives

Recently a study was conducted by the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences that aimed to research how acupuncture affected those with a chronic hives condition. The study required two groups, the first half received acupuncture while the other group was treated with a mock version of acupuncture.

After roughly three weeks, results revealed that acupuncture does reduce the duration of hives by twenty-five percent as well as decreases the chances of it reoccurring. After the treatment was finished only a few had their symptoms reemerge, but at a much weaker strength than they were originally. This concluded that acupuncture is more efficient each time one receives it.

In This Issue

  • Treating Common Skin Conditions
  • Treating Hives with Acupuncture
  • Common Acupuncture Points for Hives
  • Study: Acupuncture and Hives