Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months, and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body. In addition to musculoskeletal pain, patients with fibromyalgia can suffer fatigue, sleep disturbance, memory loss, mood swings and digestive problems.
5 Tools for Fibromyalgia Symptom Relief
Although fibromyalgia is a disorder that can be disabling for many due to chronic widespread pain and fatigue there are some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
Learn and Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Chronic stress can lead to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments. When under stress your muscles contract and tense affecting nerves, blood vessels, organs, skin and bones. Chronically tense muscles can result in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and disorders including muscle spasms and pain.
While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time for yourself and cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more effectively.
Eat a Well Balanced Diet
Managing your diet may seem time-consuming but the benefits it offers make it worthwhile. Many fibromyalgia sufferers find relief through a properly managed diet. A list of basic nutrients to combat nerve sensitivities, improve cognition, boost the immune system, and reduce swelling is included in this newsletter.
While even basic movements may be painful, exercise helps restore strength and endurance. Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga are great for easy stretches, careful strengthening, deep breathing, along with relaxation techniques.
Gentle stretching will clear tension that builds when muscles tighten, and will improve overall circulation. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
The practice of meditation is a proven stress reducer that helps the body create a sense of calm and a continuing sense of well being. While 15 minutes daily is recommended, even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.
Get at least eight hours of restorative sleep. Maintain a routine sleep schedule and make your bedroom a sanctuary from every day stress. Practicing good sleep hygiene will give your body an opportunity to get stronger and heal.
In This Issue
Fight Fibromyalgia with Nutrient Dense Foods
The National Fibromyalgia Association recommends a balanced diet containing nutrient dense foods free of artificial additives and sweeteners to help your body fight fibromyalgia syndrome. Some key nutrients to include are:
Found in whole grains, beans, nuts, chicken, fish and eggs; B complex vitamins directly influence the nervous system’s proper functioning and combat nerve problems such as tingling and tenderness.
Found in nuts, grains, beans, fish, meat and dark green vegetables magnesium is needed for muscle flexibility and bone, protein and fatty acid formation. Magnesium is also integral in making new cells, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, aiding in calcium absorption and activating B vitamins.
Directly affecting cellular function, this fatty acid found in fish minimizes nerve sensitivity and improves cognition.
Helps combat stress, builds the immune system and reduces swelling. Vitamin C is found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, green vegetables, tomatoes and berries.
Increases circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and helps to eliminate waste.
A study from the Mayo Clinic found acupuncture helpful in treating the fatigue and anxiety commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients.
In the trial, patients who received acupuncture to counter their fibromyalgia symptoms reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal side effects.
Those who received acupuncture treatments reported less fatigue and anxiety one month following treatment than the group that did not.
According to David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist, the study “affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients.”
Dr. Martin performed the study with co-authors Ines Berger, M.D.; Christopher Sletten, Ph.D.; and Brent Williams. The study only examined patients who reported more severe symptoms, offering better experimental control.