Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) often feel so tired that they are unable to do even half of their normal daily activities -- and the feeling doesn't go away, even with more rest. Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. It may last a month, a couple of years, or many years.

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, but a virus or an immune system reaction may be responsible. Risk factors include extreme stress or anxiety, flu-like illness that doesn't completely go away, and poor eating habits.

Several studies in China have indicated acupuncture may help treat chronic fatigue syndrome. And some Western studies have found that acupuncture may help conditions with similar symptoms such as fibromyalgia, depression, headache, and irritable bowel syndrome. Some evidence also suggests that acupuncture may help boost your immune system. It may also help people with CFS get a more restful night's sleep, which is often key to turning the condition around.

Acupuncturists treat people with chronic fatigue syndrome based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. In the case of CFS, a qi deficiency is usually detected in the spleen or kidney meridians, but a deficiency may also be found in the lung or liver meridians.

Acupuncturists may use moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort is burned over specific acupuncture points) in addition to needling therapy, as it is thought moxibustion helps to provide a deeper and stronger treatment. Practitioners with herbal training may recommend specific herbal remedies as well as dietary changes.

Source: University of Maryland Medical Center

NCCAOM - National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine