Discover The Proven Acupuncture Success In Treating Fibromyalgia!
You have probably heard about acupuncture, and maybe even know the basics of how it works. But did you know that Fibromyalgia acupuncture is a proven way to treat your FM symptoms?
Studies have confirmed that gentle acupuncture for Fibromyalgia can be highly effective in relieving several FMS issues including:
- Numbness & Tingling
- Muscle Stiffness
- Sleep Disturbances
- Abdominal Bloating & Constipation
That’s quite reassuring, especially if you feel you are at a point where you need to try something different to control your Fibro symptoms. And if you haven’t tried an energy therapy before, then Fibromyalgia acupuncture is a good place to start.
But like everything that comes with Fibromyalgia, unfortunately it does not work for everyone. So let’s take a look to see what it’s all about, how it may give you relief, and what you can do to improve the chances of it benefitting you.
What FMS Means In Chinese Medicine & How Acupuncture Works
Fibromyalgia in Chinese medicine, is seen as an inactivity or slump of Qi, (or energy ) in the body. Or a disorder in nerves that blocks the flow of energy.
Qi, (pronounced chee) also known as life force energy, is what flows through the body’s meridians, or energy pathways. Meridians are connected points across the anatomy, which affect specific organs and other parts of the body.
Energy that streams freely through the meridians, sustains and nourishes the body. Blocked or restricted energy, whether it be too much or too little, is believed to create imbalances in the body that leads to illness.
Acupuncture is used to correct these imbalances and to stabilise healthy body function by restoring the natural circulation of energy around the body.
It works by placing the needles into precise acupuncture points that match the meridians. The needles then stimulate nerve endings under the skin, that send impulses to the brain that unblock stagnant energy. This in turn releases pain-easing endorphins and other hormones, that can provide instant pain relief, and over a series of treatments can also help to lift feelings such as anxiety and depression.
What Can You Expect From A Session?
A Request Of Your Medical History
An acupuncture session will start just like any other medical treatment. You will be asked your full medical history and what prescriptions medications, or supplements you may be taking. It’s important to be specific and forthcoming with this information so your acupuncturist can give you the best possible treatment.
You will then be asked to lay down on the table, where your pulse is usually taken and they also may ask to look at your tongue, and or possibly palpate specific areas of the body.
Lots Of Needles
Once the acupuncturist has decided on a treatment plan, they will begin to insert the needles. Acupuncture needles come in individual sterilised packs that are disposable. You will feel the acupuncturist firstly sterilise the area of the body where the needle is to be inserted and then you will hear them opening each packet. For the most part acupuncture is pain free and you will usually only feel a slight tap as each needle is inserted in to the body.
You can expect between 30 – 40 needles to be inserted all over your body, or where you have expressed you are feeling pain the most. This can include the head, neck, shoulders, back, legs and even the feet. Your acupuncturist will insert the needles into the necessary acupuncture points and along their meridians.
An Hour To Relax
An acupuncture session usually lasts between 60 – 90 minutes in total. However, the needles are only left in the body between 30 – 40 minutes. In this time, the acupuncturist may play soothing music, leave the room, or occasionally twist the needles to further assist with the release of muscle knots.
Your acupuncturist may also use electro acupuncture. This is where a small electronic current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. They are like mini jumper leads that are used to restart the battery in your car. But in this case, the electric current is used to penetrate deep within the muscle and tissue providing further pain relief than just the needles alone.
Electro acupuncture often provides a much deeper sense of relaxation. And is like turning up the notch on pain relief. If you have tried acupuncture before but have not experienced electro acupuncture, it is well worth requesting it as pat of your treatment.
A Follow Up Treatment Plan
After the session, the acupuncturist will advise a treatment program which may be from anything between 4 – 8 weeks. They may also suggest the use of Chinese medicinal herbal patches to be placed on your most troublesome areas. These patches are similar to applying a topical cream. It provides warmth to the affected areas, and can also feel as if it is offering additional support.
Is Fibromyalgia Acupuncture Painful?
One of the benefits of acupuncture for Fibromyalgia is just how gentle it is. Some people are naturally very weary when it comes to needles, but for the most part it is actually pain free.
Acupuncture needles are only about the width of a hair, and you should only feel a slight tap as the needles are inserted between a quarter of an inch to an inch, just under the surface of the skin. Occasionally you might feel a slight stinging sensation at the point of insertion but usually this will soon subside, as the skin adjusts to the sensation of the needle.
Also, once the needles are inserted, usually you can no longer feel them. Sometimes however, you may feel a muscle begin to spasm, or twitch. This sensation is a little uncomfortable but is not usually painful. If it does occur, alert the acupuncturist who will adjust the needle accordingly until the muscle stops spasming, or they remove it and place it in a different area.
A very important note about acupuncture is that you must remain still once the needles are inserted. Any movement will affect the needle position and will cause pain. Therefore, it’s always best to ensure that you choose a position that you know you will be comfortable in for up to 40 minutes.
What Sort Of Relief Can You Expect To Feel?
During a session, if your body responds well to Fibromyalgia acupuncture, gradually you will feel a release of tension, and a sensation of drifting off to a calm, relaxing and peaceful state. It can also feel like a pleasurable sense of relief as your muscles begin to unwind and your body is transformed from an intense state of high alert to a more soothed and tranquil condition.
As a result, directly after the needles have been removed, you may feel:
- Stiff Muscles Are Significantly More Relaxed
- An Increase In Muscle Functionality
- Headaches May Be Reduced Or Gone Altogether
- Numbness & Or Tingling May Have Subsided
- A Strong Desire To Sleep
As fibromyalgia acupuncture can potentially put you in to such a relaxed state, a lot of people like to go home immediately after and have a nap. Therefore, if you have never had Fibromyalgia acupuncture before, it’s advisable to leave any time after your session free, in case you have the strong desire to sleep.
How Long Might The Effects Last?
This is the thing with acupuncture and Fibromyalgia in general. You may leave feeling on top of the world, but by that evening you may have reverted to how you were feeling before. Or it may last for a few days, or about a week.
In successful and proven cases though, Fibromyalgia acupuncture has shown to reduce the symptoms of FM by up to 7 months,( after partaking in an extended treatment program of up to 8 weeks), while others may not receive any benefit from it at all.
However there are a few important measures you can take to ensure you get the most out of your Fibromyalgia acupuncture session.
What Can You Do To Get The Most Out Of A Session?
- Don’t disregard acupuncture after one session if you don’t feel any results. Although frustrating, it may take up to 4 sessions before it starts to work. Remember, when embarking on any new Fibromyalgia treatment, you need to commit. Also keep in mind that there are other treatments for Fibromyalgia such as Prolo Therapy, myofasical release or even trigger point injection therapy that can take a few sessions before they ‘kick in’.
- Even if you do feel the effects straight away, don’t stop after 2 or 3 sessions. Any treatment for Fibromyalgia is on going but if you have been advised by your acupuncturist to try an 8 week program then try to commit to the 8 weeks.
- Try to stay positive. In western societies, not everyone particularly resonates well with words like energy flow, Qi (pronounced Chi) and meridians. But guess what? We are all made up of energy! And even if it doesn’t makes sense to you, doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Why Does Acupuncture Work For Some & Not For Others?
There is no definitive answer as to why Fibromyalgia acupuncture works well for some and not for others. A possible reason however, is that some people naturally respond more positively to energy treatments than others.
Energy therapy is any type of treatment that manipulates the energy circuits in our physical or subtle bodies. What that means is that energy therapies move energy around the body to rebalance and facilitate the body’s innate healing mechanisms. People who respond well to energy therapy can have great success in breaking muscle knots down and relieving aches and pains while enduring less stress on the body, to get these results.
Therefore if you have had success with Fibromyalgia acupuncture, you may also benefit from other types of alternative medicine involving energy work, such as Reiki, Reflexology, Kinesiology or Chakra balancing.
Similarly if you have not had success with Fibromyalgia acupuncture, then it could indicate that you might respond better to more traditional types of treatment for Fibromyalgia such as massage, Chiropractic or Osteopathic treatments.
Was Fibromyalgia Acupuncture Beneficial For You?
Tell us your experience with acupuncture. Did you have regular or electro acupuncture? Did your acupuncturist use massage?
Share it, and help others decide if acupuncture is a viable option for them too!