Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic condition that often involves long-term, widespread pain throughout the body most often focused in the muscles and nerves. Often experienced with Fibromyalgia are symptoms such as distinct fatigue, insomnia/sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a condition where the diagnosis primarily refers to the severe and prolonged tiredness or exhaustion that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions. Secondary symptoms for chronic fatigue often include body aches, headaches and depression.
The similar nature of these conditions has these two diagnoses often going hand in hand and/or are often interchanged depending on the pattern of manifesting symptoms. This often makes it challenging to effectively treat, which in turn is understandably frustrating for client. So, when we get asked if acupuncture can help with either Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue we confidently say yes but with the caveat that a holistic program should be the base of any program whether it includes acupuncture or not.
Like so many chronic conditions these conditions are not a simple one-to-one, cause and effect situation. To effectively address the personalized symptoms one may be experiencing we must look at the whole picture and then determine the appropriate strategy for optimal long-term quality of life. As a part of a holistic program based on personalized diagnosis acupuncture can be a great resource for those suffering from Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue and, besides many personal case results, the research supporting this conclusion becomes more and more prevalent every day. (See references below).
The challenge in any holistic program is that it often takes time to provide optimal results. Conditions like these require a layered approach often including many integrated therapies. Therapies require consistency and time to provide optimal long-term results. This is mostly because we do not want to just address the symptoms we want to dissolve the condition as a whole. Effective personalized diagnosis leading to the appropriate treatment program plus a consistent time frame leads to the best possible results.
There may be times where acupuncture is not appropriate and so you want a practitioner who can substitute and integrate therapies to provide the optimal treatment each time you visit your practitioner. At the same time focus should be on developing a lifestyle that supports each individual in his or her own experience. This is where success rates go up, as our ability to incorporate a program within an individual’s lifestyle improves so do the results.
Understandably, this can be a challenge for the client in the beginning so having the ability to customize the program for each client and as best as one is able support them through the initial stages until there is traction on the condition is crucial. The benefit of this approach is that success won’t only be measured by management of the symptoms but slow and gradual improvement across one’s lifestyle.
Many individuals ask about herbs or supplements they have found via various advisory resources and the truth of the matter is that supplements will likely prove to be the primary source of a long-term solution. However, the most common mistake across the board is people taking supplements because someone mentioned it might be good. The truth is that with the appropriate diagnosis the precise supplements for each client’s specific condition can be identified which reduces the risk of side effects, regression or relapses, wasteful spending and most importantly dramatically improves outcomes. All supplements have a time and a place and we will always improve our investment when we have the right supplement for the appropriate condition.
It is important that we understand that no one can guarantee specific results. However, by customizing treatments, whether it include therapies like acupuncture, dietary therapy, supplements or lifestyle practices, if they are based on a sound diagnostic protocol we dramatically increase the chances of improved quality of life.
Excerpt from Fibromyalgia Research Article
“CONCLUSIONS: The limited amount of high-quality evidence suggests that real acupuncture is more effective than sham acupuncture for improving symptoms of patients with FMS. However, because this conclusion is based on a single high-quality study, further high-quality randomized trials are needed to provide more robust data on effectiveness.” Source: UK PubMed
Medical acupuncture is acupuncture that has been adapted from traditional sources for use within conventional health practices. Traditional acupuncture practice originates within many of the whole system traditions in Asia such as Chinese medicine and even some evidence suggests historic European sources. Today acupuncture is practiced in both traditional, integrative and CAM related forms in almost every major health care system in the world.
Medical acupuncture is the classification of the acupuncture for use within the conventional medical construct. The foundation of medical acupuncture is the therapeutic insertion of solid needles in various combinations and patterns. The patterns can be based on traditional principles, modern anatomical concepts or both.
While Everspring Health is a full supporter of any therapy that is applied appropriately for the benefit of the individual and the individual's quality of life. It is equally important to note potential challenges of medical acupuncture so that the client can understand how to use this resource most effectively. Medical acupuncture can be used by licensed practitioners (MD, DO, DC) with as little as 100 hours of training, which can make it difficult to qualify the practitioner's full scope of training with this therapy. Compare this training to a fully licensed and nationally board certified acupuncturist where the practitioner has approximately 1000 hours just on acupuncture, plus clinic application experience.
Again this does not discount the opportunity for benefit via medical acupuncture but one must note that if one is not getting results from medical acupuncture or any source of acupuncture no matter the training one should not discount acupuncture therapy as a whole. Like any therapy, any service for that matter, experience does matter and we should seek the appropriate support for our specific needs.
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Integrative medicine combines conventional and CAM treatments for which there is evidence of safety and effectiveness.
Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12 - NCCAM/NIH
Functional medicine focuses on prevention and understanding a person's core clinical imbalances that underlie various disease conditions. Functional medicine seeks prevention as the key component for the cultivation of health especially with regards to chronic disease. By targeting the underlying cause of disease versus focusing on just accommodating symptoms functional medicine seeks to improve outcomes by targeting one objective, the disease, to accomplish multiple benefits, reducing the symptoms. In the cases of chronic disease with the goal of understanding each individual's physiological, environmental, and psychosocial contexts becomes a necessary part of the diagnostic process.
While functional medicine is perspective of more recent terminology the historical systems of healing (e.g. Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Tibetan medicine, etc.) have utilized the holistic view as a means of approaching disease. All of the healing systems mentioned above seek to target the disease to reduce symptoms in concert with constitutional/personal diagnosis all of which Everspring Health embraces and offers as a part of our service offerings.
Integrative medicine is a healthcare resource that combines conventional, complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for which there is evidence of safety and effectiveness.
In the clinic setting integrated medicine means that all effective medical resources are considered to address the chief complaint, identify the most accessible options to obtain the chief objective and to consider options for preventing concerns that may be predicted to arise in the future. The benefit of integrative medicine where the whole picture is considered we observe and note a more complete picture of one's life thus taking a diagnosis further and extending a healing program as far as possible towards the cultivation of quality of life.
Integrative health is a somewhat evolving terminology with a definition that is equally still evolving. However, Everspring Health suggests that integrative health is a metric that we can use to gain perspective of our health as a whole and in turn use that information for our benefit. The perspective of integrative health requires us to consider all intersecting aspects of an individual's life and lifestyle before a final diagnosis is made and subsequent plan is implemented.
Through the use of integrated protocols (see Integrative Medicine) we make note of a web of symptoms or experiences where the final diagnosis is based on the value of the intersecting points and the relation of all possible factors within one's experience. We finalize this process by asking how do these experiences relate to one's overall quality of life. The diagnosis in relation to one's quality of life becomes our chief objective for developing a plan for integrative health, namely quality of life.
To benefit from this perspective the client needs to find a practitioner who is well trained to determine which intersecting points are valid to the diagnosis and most importantly which are valid to the client's quality of life. Quality of life is our mission and integrative health is the service we strive to provide at Everspring Health.