Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is also called chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome is a condition entailing more than one body system dysfunction. CFS is a disorder that involves the muscular systems, immune system and neurological system of the body. This disorder does not have a cause that is known, no type of test to diagnose it properly nor a medical treatment for it. There are about a million people suffering from CFS in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states and about ten million others manifest symptoms that correspond to chronic fatigue syndrome but are not quite in its full criteria. CFS affects women more; however, anyone can be potentially diagnosed with it. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture provides relief for CFS symptoms and can help as well restore the patient to a balanced and normal life.
CFS patients should manifest these types of symptoms:
1) Chronic and acute fatigue lasting for six months and have no proper diagnosis of the fatigue.
2) Manifest at the minimum four of the following conditions:
a) short-term memory problems
b) problems in concentration
c) sore throat
d) mild or slight fever
e) malaise that worsens with exertion
f) inadequate sleep
h) pain in multiple joints with no redness or inflammation
i) muscle pain
j) tender and sore lymph nodes
Some other conditions that come together with CFS symptoms, which mimic the latter symptoms, may manifest making it hard to properly diagnose CFS:
- Fibromyalgia syndrome
- Various chemical sensitivities
- Post-viral weakness
- Chronic mononucleosis
- Myalgia encephalomyelitis
In TCM perspective, CFS can be seen as an imbalance in the energy of the liver-spleen. The energy stagnation in the liver can be the result of yang deficiency or under nourishment of blood in the liver, anger or stress. The energy imbalance of the spleen may be caused by the imbalance of liver chi, lack of exercise, anxiety, overexertion or a poor diet.
Acupuncture points for the treatment of CFS symptoms are located in the legs arms and body. These points remove blockage in the liver meridian and as the liver is nourished with blood and energy, spleen chi improves as well. Herbal remedies can be effective with some of the symptoms and nutritional modifications recommendations are needed to avoid fatigue and treat the root causes of the condition. Acupuncture and TCM can also dispel the emotional conditions that go with CFS like anxiety, insomnia and depression. Acupuncture and TCM can be used in conjunction with other conventional modalities. These treatments give the patient added energy, uplift their emotional state and, with the added energy can compel the patient to exercise or do activities and restore their normal daily life.