Monday, August 23, 2010

Fibromyalgia & TCM

Fibromyalgia has become a common diagnosis in recent years to explain symptoms of fatigue, all over body pain, difficulty in concentrating and retaining new information, sleep disturbances, exercise difficulties, digestive disturbances and headaches. There are many other symptoms that are common among those with FM.

Traditional Chinese medicine views fibromyalgia as a blockage of qi and blood in the channels that circulate through the body. Blockages can occur due to stress or emotional changes affecting the liver system which has the responsibility of regulating the smooth flow of qi in the body. Therefore if the Liver system is out of balance qi and blood will not flow smoothly causing blockages. Also if there is insufficient qi or blood flowing through the meridians there won't be enough nourishment to muscles, organs, bones and brain.  Deficiency in qi and blood can result from being overworked mentally and physically, poor digestion or improper eating and sleeping habits.

Acupuncture has been shown to improve fatigue and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia.  Pain may also be reduced through acupuncture although greater improvement is associated with more frequent sessions 3/week compared to 1/week.  Cupping may also be beneficial as it stimulates the flow of qi and blood targeting specific muscle groups.

A recent study on Tai Chi reported improved sleep, mood and quality of life for those with fibromyalgia.

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