Fibromyalgia According to TCM
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The Truth about Fibromyalgia

» Fibromyalgia, According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

» TCM Causes of Fibromyalgia

» Herbal Medicines for Fibromyalgia


Western medicine diagnoses fibromyalgia by process of elimination. Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed when no other condition, such as arthritis, bursitis, or tendonitis can be positively identified by objective test or X-Rays. It’s symptoms are pain which may appear in several or many areas of the body. Other common symptoms are exhaustion or overwhelming fatigue, as well as stiff muscles upon awakening in the morning. Practitioners of Chinese medicine see fibromyalgia very differently.

What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is not one disease, but likely a combination of several disease patterns.  Western doctors, unaware of these patterns, diagnose them all as fibromyalgia.


What Causes Fibromyalgia Pain

Where there’s pain, there is no flow.

Pain is caused by the stagnation of energy or fluids. When flow is restrained or interrupted, pain occurs, alerting us to the problem. Three causes of pain are:

1. Obstruction (blocked flow – due to injury, swelling, oversupply or engorgement of qi or blood) 
2. Constraint (restrained flow – due to emotional, psychic, or mental constraint), 
3. Deficiency (weak flow – due to deficiency of qi or blood)

To treat fibromyalgia, the TCM physician must diagnose the underlying conditions of the pain. Since fibromyalgia can appear in muscles and tendons all over the body, it is widely understood to be a systemic disease involving the regulation of flow. This is attributed to an organ system known in Chinese medicine as “The Liver”. This is not the same as what Western medicine calls the liver and in no way implies liver disease.

Diagnosis for this condition can be difficult, and successful treatment usually requires consultation with a skilled acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist. However the symptoms accompanying the pain can provide several clues.

For example, the presence of fatigue, often implies that at least one root of this disease is a deficiency. More discrimination is needed to know if this is a deficiency of qi or blood or yin or yang energy. If stress causes a worsening of symptoms, constraint is a suspected cause. If muscle weakness or digestive complaints are present, Spleen deficiencies may also play a part. Accompanying sleep problems could suggest a Heart Blood deficiency.



Chinese Herbal Medicines for Fibromyalgia


(Should not be taken by pregnant women)

bai shao – 20%
qin jiao – 10%
du huo – 10%
yan hu sou – 10%
yu jin – 10%
tao ren – 10%
hong hua – 10%
mu dan pi – 10%
da zao – 5%
gan cao – 5%


Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

A study done by the Mayo Clinic on acupuncture on fibromyalgia concluded that fibromyalgia symptoms were relieved by acupuncture. 50 patients were divided into two groups: one received acupuncture while the other was given simulated acupuncture. Both groups had six sessions over 2-3 weeks.

The researchers found that improvements were found in fatigue and anxiety levels on par with medications, such as anti-depressants and acetaminophen. On the other hand, several other studies found no statistical improvements from acupuncture treatment.

Many acupuncturists believe that standardized research is not helpful or revealing in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as the techniques and the points used are very different from one person to another. This is especially true in a condition such as fibromyalgia, which can consist of various patterns to an acupuncturist.


Information on this site is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your own physician or another medical professional. We make no claim as to efficacy or safety of herbs or herbal medicine appearing on this site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.