Chronic fatigue syndrome is defined as an illness characterized by severe disabling fatigue lasting for at least six months that is worsened by minimal physical or mental exertion. In the sphere of biomedicine, no definitive etiology has been identified. There are no key features or typical symptoms, but a sore throat, depression, and myalgia may all be present.
The biomedical etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) remains unclear. However, it has been suggested that psychological and social factors, viral loads, and immune system dysfunction may contribute to the condition. Previous studies find that CFS may be associated with a bias towards a Th2 type of response in Th1/Th2 immune balances. Acupuncture’s ability to balance Th1 and Th2 may be one mechanism responsible for its effective action in the treatment of CFS.
Major causes of suffering include pain, paralysis, mental illness, nausea, immune system imbalances, and fatigue. CFS and other clinical scenarios involving severe fatigue are a significant source of suffering and may be as severe as any other form of illness or complication. One concern is that since there is no clearly defined etiology within hospital medicine for CFS, patients may be marginalized or receive incomplete care.
There are instances in which patients are given psychiatric medications without addressing the biophysical sources of CFS. This focus on treating only the symptom and not the root cause of CFS potentially leads to prolonged suffering. Given the results of the research data, acupuncture with moxibustion is a reasonable treatment option, referable by primary healthcare physicians.
The study involved 133 voluntary patients from the Beijing Chaoyang Fatou Community Health Service Center. All were diagnosed with CFS. Inclusion criteria were established based on the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) criteria for CFS and included the following:
- Experienced unexplained persistent or relapsing chronic fatigue for more than six months, which is not substantially alleviated by rest, and results in substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities. 
In addition, the aforementioned is concurrent with four or more of the following symptoms:
- Substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
- Sore throat
- Tender lymph nodes
- Muscle pain
- Multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
- Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours
The acupoints selected for the acupuncture and acupuncture plus moxibustion groups were the following:
- GV20 (Baihui)
- CV17 (Danzhong)
- CV6 (Qihai)
- CV4 (Guanyuan)
- ST36 (Zusanli)
- SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
- LI4, LV3 (Siguan: Hegu plus Taichong)
The results indicate that warm needling acupuncture or standard acupuncture is more effective than sham acupuncture. The study by Lu et al., mentioned in this report, demonstrates that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Important features of TCM protocols are that they produce a high total effective rate without any significant adverse effects.
original article —— Healthcare Medicine Institute