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Fibromyalgia Treatment - Acupuncture

Using acupuncture to improve fibromyalgia symptomsAcupuncture can help improve a number of fibromyalgia symptoms including pain, sleep, irritable bowel and depression. Research has shown acupuncture to be especially effective for relieving pain.

Acupuncture is one component of the 5,000-year-old practice of Chinese medicine. According to Chinese medicine, there are energetic pathways, or channels, throughout the body that influence associated internal organs and structures. Energy from these pathways surfaces at various points on the body, identified as acupuncture points. Each of these acupuncture points serves as a tunnel, or access route, to the deeper circulatory channels within. Acupuncture stimulates a selection of specific points, thereby activating the body's natural healing abilities.

A clinical trial conducted in 2013 evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture and compared with fluoxetine [brand name Prozac] in treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Fifteen patients were treated with acupuncture and compared with a control group of patients who received fluoxetine. Total fibromyalgia symptoms were significantly improved in the acupuncture group compared with the control group during the study period (source).

A study in 2012 showed that a combination of somatic and abdominal acupuncture may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Somatic acupuncture is a specialized form of acupuncture said to work at the level of the autonomic nervous system. It utilizes both needles and a special type of talk therapy to help the body "reprogram" the triggers that result in a fight or flight response. Abdominal acupuncture is "a curative system of healing that utilizes the abdomen to regulate the function of the zangfu organs and meridians" (source).

The study aimed to combine the two different acupunctural methods in the treatment of 30 consecutive female Fibromyalgia patients and to evaluate well-being and the reduction of pain. The results showed a statistically significant reduction of the number of tender points and of pain, suggesting that the combination of the two types of acupuncture could be a useful complementary treatment in Fibromyalgia patients, not only to control pain but also to improve associated symptoms and quality of life. (source)

Another study aimed to investigate whether acupuncture at tender points could effectively manage fibromyalgia. Eight female patients, with a previous diagnosis of fibromyalgia, where given acupuncture treatments once per week at five tender points, over a 2-month period. The researchers observed a reduction in pain threshold and sensitivity, and an improvement in the areas of anxiety and depression and quality of life. (source)

For those fibromyalgia patients with reservations, acupuncture is safe and usually painless. The needles used are made from extremely fine gauge, flexible surgical stainless steel. (Five acupuncture needles fit inside the hole of one hypodermic needle.) Unlike hypodermic needles that cut the skin, acupuncture needles slide through the skin without cutting. Only sterile, single-use needles are used.

Video: Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia
New studies show that acupuncture can help with fibromyalgia. NBC17 with Carmela Mager.

Further Reading

Did 'The Princess on the Pea' suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome? The Influence on Sleep and the Effects of Acupuncture

Fibromyalgia Imaging Study Demonstrates that Chinese Acupuncture Affects Brain's Ability to Regulate Pain

Acupuncture in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia in Tertiary Care - A Case Series

Acupuncture Superior to Fluoxetine for Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Acupuncture for Treating Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture at Tender Points Effective for Managing Fibromyalgia

Two Forms of Acupuncture Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Efficacy of Acupuncture in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Systematic Review with a Meta-analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials

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