According to the philosophy behind TCM and acupuncture, your life force, or qi, flows through your body in specific channels, much like river streams. When qi becomes blocked in certain points, it can lead to a variety of health concerns, including pain and illness. There are a variety of reasons as to why qi becomes clogged - including stress, environmental toxins, lack of rest and sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise or movement. Western medicine may also attribute fatigue to anemia, a thyroid imbalance, vitamin deficiency, physical or mental trauma, viral infection or even depression.
Fatigue goes beyond just feeling drowsy or tired because it generally doesn’t go away even after you rest or sleep. This complete absence of energy can make even basic, everyday tasks feel difficult.
Unexplained fatigue is often bundled under the term 'Chronic fatigue syndrome' and this is applied to people have fatigue for a prolonged period of time (6 months or more) and where the fatigue prevents them from working and doing everyday things such as work, caring for others, household chores, eating and bathing. Women are more likely than men to have this condition and it often affects younger to middle aged people.
Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome can vary from person to person, and the severity of symptoms can fluctuate from day to day. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Dizziness that worsens with moving from lying down or sitting to standing
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Extreme exhaustion after physical or mental exercise
How Can Acupuncture Help?
An Independent study that was conducted in 2015 and posted on the internet by PubMed Central suggest that 4 weeks of acupuncture therapy added to usual care can improve fatigue symptoms of CFS and ICF (Idiopathic Chronic Fatigue) patients. Some research suggests stimulation of acupoints might encourage nearby nerves (such as the vagus nerve) to boost bodily functions.
The important part to managing fatigue is to attempt to understand the root cause. So the Acupuncturist will look at all lifestyle and environmental aspects and make a diagnosis and lifestyle suggestions based on that information.
The number of treatments will depend on the diagnosis, age of the patient and how long the patient has had the condition.