Fatigue is an all too common problem for many adults and seniors. In fact, research suggests that almost half of the general population experiences this lethargic condition. Fortunately, fatigue is self-limiting and may be resolved with proper rest, nutrition, or by treating the underlying medical condition that causes it (e.g., anemia).
However, there are instances where fatigue becomes so persistent to the point of causing profound debilitating effects to your health. Such a disorder is called chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis.
Read on below as our leading acupuncturist, Dr. Weiwei Guan, discusses everything you need to know about this condition and how acupuncture can help manage and treat it.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) refers to an illness characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that lasts for six months or more. It is a symptom-based condition without a distinct physical manifestation and can’t be fully explained or linked to an underlying medical condition.
Unlike normal fatigue, CFS does not improve with proper rest and nutrition. In addition, its symptoms will worsen with physical and mental activity and may even exhibit some neuropsychological effects.
According to the CDC, about 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Sadly, about 90% of them have not been diagnosed, thus preventing them from getting the treatment they need.
CFS is also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
What Are Its Symptoms?
The hallmark symptom of CFS is overwhelming fatigue or tiredness that lasts for six months or more. Typically, this lethargic feeling comes abruptly and worsens with any activity. Chronic fatigue syndrome has also been reported to cause rheumatological, neurologic, and infectious symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Problems with memory, focus, and concentration
- Dizziness and nausea
- Anorexia and night sweats
- Fever, muscle pain, inflamed lymph nodes, and sore throat
Furthermore, CFS significantly causes functional impairment due to the persistent feeling of tiredness. For example, affected individuals will experience difficulties doing normal, day-to-day tasks, such as cooking and household chores.
Additionally, studies suggest that about one-third of people with CFS won’t be able to continue their job, school duties, and social life.
How Is CFS Diagnosed and Treated?
Science has yet to point out the exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. It can be due to genetics, viral infection, stress, hormonal imbalance, or a combination of the four. Without knowing its exact cause, it would be difficult for doctors to diagnose this condition. Add to that its generic symptoms and lack of specific diagnostic and laboratory tests for CFS.
So the only diagnosing techniques would be to perform a thorough medical assessment and medical history review of the patient. They can also order specific laboratory tests to rule out other diseases, like hypothyroidism and lupus.
How Does Acupuncture Help With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue’s unknown origin also makes it impossible for doctors to prescribe a specific medication to treat it. In most cases, patients get prescribed a collection of drugs to relieve the different symptoms that CFS causes. However, there’s a downside to that.
Taking different kinds of medications will result in tons of side effects that can negatively affect your health in the long run. So health experts looked for another treatment option that can bring relief against CFS without compromising the health of patients一and that’s acupuncture.
According to studies, body acupuncture effectively alleviates overall fatigue in patients with CFS. Another research showed that it could also help eradicate other symptoms of the disease, such as:
Sleep problems or insomnia
Acupuncture improves sleep quality and prevents insomnia by stimulating the release of specific hormones that reduce stress and tiredness, thus inducing sleep. Some examples of these hormones include serotonin and GABA.
Mental and cognitive health
Acupuncture helps enhance important cognitive skills, such as focus, memory, and concentration. It can also combat mild cognitive impairment, which can sometimes come with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Muscle and general pain sensations brought by CFS can be treated through acupuncture. According to Harvard Health, the act of inserting thin needles into the nerves help stimulate a hormone called endorphins. This specific hormone is responsible for altering or suppressing pain sensations received by the brain.
Dizziness and nausea
Targeting specific acupoints can help treat dizziness, nausea, and vertigo. In fact, a study proved that acupuncture successfully treated dizziness and nausea 30 minutes after the treatment.
Furthermore, a 2014 study also stated that acupuncture and other traditional medicine effectively bring long-term relief against the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. The study also noted that combining acupuncture with other Chinese medicine (e.g., herbal medicine) provides more immediate effects against fatigue.
Acupuncture in Gainesville一the Path to Your Complete Recovery
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition that can affect your quality of life. If you want to restore your health and eliminate this disease, then you have come to the right page!
At Guan Physical Therapy & Acupuncture, we provide the highest quality of physiotherapy and Chinese medicine in Gainesville, FL. Our world-class acupuncturists specialize in restoring your mobility and normal body function so you can achieve the highest quality of life possible.
Besides fatigue and stress-related problems, we can also help treat other health conditions with acupuncture. This includes:
- Digestive problems
- Musculoskeletal diseases
- Women’s health problems
- Neurological problems
- Knee pain
- Back pain,
- Neck pain,
and many more!
Contact us now to learn more about the benefits of combining physical therapy and traditional medicine.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.