Acupuncture is one of the most popular therapies of all time. This form of treatment uses needles to help treat a condition. Acupuncture is based on the idea that the reason for an illness is congestion in energy flow. Energy or Qi congestion is analogous to a storm dumping debris on a creek and clogging it. As a result the debris prevents flow of water going down the creek. The answer to the blockage of energy in the body is acupuncture, the treatment clears out the blockage in the channels of energy (known as meridians) enabling qi to circulate freely once more throughout the body leading to resolution of illness and pain..
Acupuncture has been a frontline treatment for more than 5000 years in China. It has a lot to offer even for people suffering from fibromyalgia. Several studies show acupuncture’s effectiveness in resolving pain and fatigue disorders. However, ambiguous results in some studies have made it difficult to truly understand the therapy since the western scientific method traditionally uses the same protocol when it comes to studying treatment approaches. Acupuncturists do not address a condition using a universal approach since Chinese medicine sees each person as unique. A condition that may be similar for two patients may not necessarily mean that both patients will get the same treatment. Western physicians often prescribe the same medications for all patients suffering from a similar illness. Acupuncturists, however, need to evaluate each patient in terms of their own peculiar energetic imbalance. Therefore, a dozen people that are suffering from fibromyalgia will each receive different diagnoses. This means then different and customized forms of treatment for their condition.
In the United States, more than 6 million people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, each year. Western medicine has really no effective treatment for this condition and so a lot of people are slowly turning to alternative forms of treatment for the resolution of their problem. When it comes to alternative therapies for fibromyalgia, several forms of treatment are touted as very effective modalities; few of them however, have been scientifically proven to work.
In the journal Alternative Therapies published in 2006 (March & April editions), it was seen that acupuncture has a therapeutic effect on the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Moreover, the study also observed that arthritis and other chronic pain disorders respond very well to acupuncture as well.
Because of the many different diagnoses (resulting in many possible treatment approaches) that may come out of one condition, it is hard to verify the effectiveness of acupuncture due to the limited and rigid nature of clinical research. Clinical research involves uniform subject selection, criteria and therapy administration. The study posted by Alternative Therapies was designed to meet the stringent expectations of Western medical research.
Another study done in Southern California involved treatments given twice a week for a couple months for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Uniform acupuncture points were used on all patients (all suffering from fibromyalgia). The diagnosis used, however was derived from western medicine procedures and not based on acupuncture’s energetic diagnosis. Nevertheless, the outcomes still showed significant results improvement in pain along the tender points of the body without any side effects.
No matter how painful their condition is, a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers are reluctant in trying out acupuncture because of the needles. The truth is the issue of pain generated by acupuncture needles is grossly exaggerated.
People assume that needles equals pain because they associate them to the administration of injections or the drawing of blood. The needles used in acupuncture are extremely thin and depending on the skill of your acupuncturist may generate at the most a numbing or tingling sensation when inserted into the body.
Pain often causes the muscles to tighten. In the case of acupuncture needles, the muscles actually relax when the effect of the treatment kicks in. The reason energy or qi slows down in the body (which causes physical pain and illness) is that muscles tighten up. Acupuncture, on the other hand, does the opposite effect, it relaxers muscles causing blood and energy to flow freely once more thus eliminating pain and illness.
Therefore, before an acupuncture session, acupuncturists will see to it that their patients are all relaxed and comfortable. These professionals are trained to make first time patients and people having a phobia of needles extremely calm and relaxed. These are very important factors when it comes to the success of the treatment.
Based on the feedback of a lot of former acupuncture patients, the treatment is painless and very relaxing.
If you are considering going for treatment for the first time, you need to ask the acupuncturist there questions:
-Are you nationally certified or state licensed?
-Do you have considerable experience when it comes to treating fibromyalgia?
-How long have you been performing acupuncture?
-What kind of needles do you use? Needles that are extremely thin and silicone-coated are preferred for painless acupuncture
-Do have any issues treating needle-phobic and first-time patients?
One other thing to consider when looking for an acupuncturist is the practitioner’s ability to communicate very well with his/her patients.
Once you understand that acupuncture is a painless form of treatment and that it is extremely effective and has no side effects, there is really no reason any more for you not to try it out. It may be the treatment that will once and for all break the painful cycle of your fibromyalgia.
Ivelisse DeJongh is a Miami acupuncturist and the medical director at DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic.