Acupuncture Found Effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

chronic-fatigue-symptoms

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. [6]

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

 

 

Why and How does Acupuncture help to reduce stress

Acupuncture photo

The acupuncturist inserts fine needles into certain identified acupuncture points on “meridians” which run throughout the body and correspond to certain organs. Meridians can be thought of as a highway of energy, or “qi” in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture works by getting rid of the roadblocks on this energy superhighway.

When there is congestion on the highway, energy gets backed up. When the meridians are clear (no roadblocks), the qi flows freely. Each meridian “homes” to an organ and each organ has certain associations, such as emotions, body parts, organs etc. For example, the emotion of the liver in Chinese medicine is anger. When the qi is blocked it can cause liver qi stagnation, which can result in anger. It goes both ways, though — when you’re angry a lot, you can block the flow of liver qi.

Western medicine has shown that acupuncture releases endorphins, and activates natural pain killers. Now we see that it affects other biological functions as well. Chinese medicine sees acupuncture as improving functioning by correcting blockages or imbalances in the organs. To read more, please click here.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that “Evidence for the use of acupuncture — the Chinese practice of inserting needles into the body at specific points to manipulates the body’s flow of energy — to treat anxiety disorders is becoming stronger.”  To read more, please click here.

In 2011, an article was published on dailymail.co.uk, it says “Acupuncture really can reduce stress levels, scientists claim after alternative therapy experiment.” To read more, please click here.

  • Acupuncture ‘reduces’ levels of protein linked to stress.
  • Scientists believe this explains the sense of well-being patients receive from ancient Chinese therapy”

According to NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) which is part of the United States National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. Some doctors did a clinical review – Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review. The conclusion is, with respect to six reviewed studies, there is high-level evidence to support the use of acupuncture for treating major depressive disorder in pregnancy. To read more, please click here.

A 2013 article in the Journal of Endocrinology presented the results of a series of animal studies done at Georgetown University Medical Center. These results indicate that Electrioacupuncture stomach 36 (EA St36) blocks the chronic stress-induced elevations in the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (*HPA) axis and the sympathetic Neuropeptide Y (**NPY) pathway, which may be a mechanism for its specific stress-allaying effects. To read the origianl article, please click here.

*HPA axis controls reactions to stress and regulates processes like the immune system, digestion, emotions and moods and sexuality, etc.

**NPY is a peptide secreted during a “fight or flight” response.

With the hectic pace of life, sometimes it’s difficult to recognize that you’re experiencing stress or anxiety. There are some Hidden Signs of Stress and Anxiety.

Hidden Signs of Stress and Anxiety

3D Character with head in hands, sitting on the word Stress

After reading many articles, we found this one written by Dr Amy Przeworski is very useful and completely agreed by us. We would like to share it here. To read the original article, please click here

With the hectic pace of life, sometimes it’s difficult to recognize that you’re experiencing stress or anxiety. Here are some common physical symptoms of stress or anxiety that you may not realize are psychological in origin:

  • Frequent headaches. Clenching your jaw; tensing your facial, neck, or shoulder muscles; or grinding your teeth are physical responses to stress that could cause head pain.
  • Body aches or tension. When you are exposed to stress, your sympathetic nervous system activates the fight-or-flight response. Blood is then sent to major muscle groups that increase muscle tension and prepare you to fight or flee a situation. If you do not take any action, however, muscles may stay tight and become sore or painful.
  • Restlessness, tapping your foot or hand. Stress or anxiety can cause this common nervous habit.
  • Gastrointestinal distress. For some people, the gut may be a barometer of extreme stress, leading to diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or upset stomach.
  • Acne. Stress increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increased cortisol can contribute to acne.
  • Eczema. Stress and anxiety increase inflammation of the skin, which can trigger or worsen eczema.
  • Increased sweating. We sweat when stressed, thanks to hormones such as adrenaline, which is involved in the fight-or-flight reaction.
  • Insomnia, nightmares, sleepwalking, or disturbed sleep. Chronic stress increases rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and decreases slow-wave or deep sleep, disrupting cell and body maintenance and repair.
  • Frequent illnesses. Stress promotes overproduction of hormones that regulate your immune system and affects your ability to produce the white blood cells that fight infection, weakening immunity and increasing susceptibility to illness.
  • Decreased interest in sex, sexual arousal problems, reduced fertility. Stress inhibits gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), the body’s main sex hormone, which can lead to reduced sperm count, ovulation, and sexual activity.
  • Panic attacks. Stress causes your baseline arousal level to be higher than typical — closer to the level at which people begin to experience panic attacks — which may increase your likelihood of experiencing a panic attack.

Stress or anxiety also can affect your mood and make it more difficult to regulate emotions, causing irritability or mood swings. People who are stressed or anxious may have difficulties with concentration, decision-making, and memory, as well.

In the previous post, we have shared Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress which are recommended by Harvard Medical Publications. In the next post, we will discuss why and how acupuncture helps to reduce stress

Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress

relaxationtechniques_dreamstime_m_27832677

Practicing even a few minutes per day can provide a reserve of inner calm.

1. Breath focus. In this simple, powerful technique, you take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing). As you breathe, you gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations. Breath focus can be especially helpful for people with eating disorders to help them focus on their bodies in a more positive way. However, this technique may not be appropriate for those with health problems that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory ailments or heart failure.

2. Body scan. This technique blends breath focus with progressive muscle relaxation. After a few minutes of deep breathing, you focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time and mentally releasing any physical tension you feel there. A body scan can help boost your awareness of the mind-body connection. If you have had a recent surgery that affects your body image or other difficulties with body image, this technique may be less helpful for you.

3. Guided imagery. For this technique, you conjure up soothing scenes, places, or experiences in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of calming scenes—just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance. Guided imagery may help you reinforce a positive vision of yourself, but it can be difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts or find it hard to conjure up mental images.

4. Mindfulness meditation. This practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment without drifting into concerns about the past or the future. This form of meditation has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. Research suggests it may be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and pain.

5. Yoga, tai chi, and qigong. These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or flowing movements. The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help distract you from racing thoughts. They can also enhance your flexibility and balance. But if you are not normally active, have health problems, or a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques might be too challenging. Check with your doctor before starting them.

6. Repetitive prayer. For this technique, you silently repeat a short prayer or phrase from a prayer while practicing breath focus. This method may be especially appealing if religion or spirituality is meaningful to you.

To read more, please click here.

In addition to these tips, acupuncture is also a good way to relax your mind and reduce stress, to find out more, please click here to get in touch.