acupuncture fibromyalgia

How Acupuncture Fibromyalgia Treatments Help Patients Cope

Wunian Chen, MD, LAc, September 16, 2014

Acupuncture fibromyalgia treatments have been used and recommended for decades. In fact, well-respected sources of medical information such as the Mayo Clinic and WebMD report that acupuncture can be an effective complementary treatment for those suffering from fibromyalgia. As explained by WebMD, acupuncture works because the needles stimulate certain points that lead to the release of endorphins (the “feel good” hormones). These in turn help fight pain, reduce stress, and produce an overall feeling of well-being.

Acupuncture is believed to help “unblock” the flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”) through the body. This is believed to restore the natural energy of the organism, helping it to heal itself.

What the Experts Say

In an article published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, experts looked at the benefits of using acupuncture to treat fibromyalgia. After looking at nine different studies and 395 participants, the Review pointed out that acupuncture provided a significant reduction in pain in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

In other studies, patients undergoing acupuncture for fibromyalgia reported sleeping better. They also reported an improved sense of well-being and feeling less fatigued. In one of the studies, patients receiving acupuncture experienced less pain just one month after starting treatment – this was faster than those using standard therapy without acupuncture to deal with symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Other studies have shown similar results. For example, a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal looked at the direct benefits of acupuncture on the treatment of fibromyalgia. The study found that patients who received acupuncture experienced improvement not only in their pain levels, but also suffered less fatigue and anxiety. These benefits lasted even after the treatment had ended. In fact, when patients returned seven months after the end of the study, the positive acupuncture benefits were still there.

Something to Keep in Mind

The United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) Center for Reviews and Dissemination: Effective HealthCare on Acupuncture review pointed out that there’s enough evidence to support the use of acupuncture in the management of patients who are not responding to conventional fibromyalgia treatment or as an addition to other forms of treatment currently in use. The NHS also pointed out that acupuncture could be a good alternative for people who can’t tolerate medication prescribed for their pain and are in need of an option to deal with fibromyalgia symptoms.

While there haven’t been enough large-scale randomized controlled trials to recommend the use of acupuncture as a sole treatment for fibromyalgia, experts agree that there is enough evidence about acupuncture’s effectiveness and safety to encourage patients with fibromyalgia to include acupuncture as part of the health care plan.



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