Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complicated and debilitating condition that affects a person’s energy level throughout their life. There is no specific cause known, and it affects approximately 0.4% and 2.5% of the population.
Generally speaking, people with CFS suffer from extreme fatigue that is typically not recoverable with rest. They feel they need more sleep, even though they have just woken up. In some cases, they may experience symptoms that mimic returning from a big night out.
Patients with this condition tend to have difficulties feeling fully refreshed, and their mood and energy levels are ongoingly diminished. Simple tasks, like just getting out of bed, can be difficult and at times, even impossible.
Other symptoms include:
- Poor memory/brain fog
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
- Weight loss.
Often, patients experience a wide range of symptoms, while others may only deal with one or two; every individual is different.
Unfortunately, there is no singular test that can diagnose CFS. Many GPs make an educated diagnosis based on the history of the patient, description of the symptoms and how long they have been going on for.
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Identifying the root cause of CFS can be difficult due to there being no test. However, several theories link this condition to:
- Bacterial/viral infections
- Environmental toxins
- Low vitamin D levels
- Hormonal imbalance
When you visit your regular GP for a diagnosis, they will assess your history with all of these potential underlying conditions and illnesses. From there, they will determine whether CFS is likely, or whether there is something else at play.
Can Acupuncture Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used in China for thousands of years and is becoming increasingly popular in the ‘Western World’. It is based on balancing your life energies aka “Qi” (pronounced ‘Chee’). When the Qi in your body is disrupted, it is thought to cause disruptions and illness. TCM focuses on addressing these disruptions to Qi.
In Chinese Medicine, CFS is caused by the long term imbalance of the ‘Yin and Yang’, along with ‘liver stagnation’ and ‘damp heat’.
Therefore, acupuncture and chronic fatigue go hand in hand, balancing the Qi through Yin and Yang, helping to relieve associated symptoms. It also can assist with alleviating joint/muscle pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances.
Does acupuncture really ‘work’?
Results vary. Some studies have shown possible positive effects of acupuncture in regard to chronic fatigue, however, these are only preliminary findings and further research is needed. In the study linked above, patients who had ongoing treatment reported no longer need to nap during the day, and they were able to work more frequently without crashing. They also reported fewer days where they felt like they could not cope. However, it’s important to note that these results are not generalisable, and different people respond differently. At Eastern Therapies, we’ll be able to speak with you and find out more about your specific case before deciding whether acupuncture is appropriate for you. We are here to help—you are not alone.