It is estimated that over half of the American population experiences chronic or generalized fatigue. The most common causes are stress, insomnia and depression. Various malfunctions in the endocrine, cardiovascular and digestive body systems may also cause fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease affecting an estimated 1 million Americans. The cause of CFS remains unknown and is possibly a common endpoint of disease resulting from multiple causes. CFS is characterized by prolonged fatigue accompanied by a combination of symptoms, including musculoskeletal pain, cognitive impairment, headaches, and sleep disturbances.
There is no defined therapy or standard treatment for fatigue. Associated with depression, antidepressant medications are often prescribed for fatigue symptoms, which cause considerable side effects. Conventional therapies emphasize reduced stress, overexertion prevention, stretching, dietary modification, and nutritional supplementation.
Alternative therapies recommended for CFS and generalized fatigue include acupuncture for pain management, massage therapy and stretching/movement therapies (tai chi, yoga). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) uses a combination of acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes (diet, exercise and meditation) to treat fatigue. Acupuncture is often integrated as a complementary therapy for patients with CFS.
Acupuncture effectively treats the various symptoms associated with fatigue and can strengthen a weakened immune system, enhance vital energy, nourish blood, and increase lymph circulation. Typically, a series of weekly treatments for 4 to 6 weeks is recommended, followed by progress assessment, to balance the immune system, reduce fatigue levels and increase functional capacity. Specific Chinese herbal remedies and dietary modification may be recommended. For more information about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of fatigue contact Dr. Richard Browne.