Acupuncture for Fatigue
Fatigue is defined as feeling overtired and lacking in motivation. It may be physical, mental, or a combination of the two. Fatigue may be caused by something as simple as lack of sleep, but can also be a sign of something more serious, like chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, diabetes, anemia, kidney disease, eating disorders and liver disease.
Although severity may vary from person to person, fatigue is incredibly common in the US. A study by the National Safety Council found that 43% of Americans report that they’re too tired to function at work, and it’s thought that 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep.
Treating fatigue is one thing, but looking beyond the issue to its cause is the most effective way to eliminate fatigue for good. While many people might resort to a strong cup of black coffee to improve alertness, this can only ever provide short-term effects. The most promising long-term solution is acupuncture – it restores balance in the body and treats the common causes of fatigue.
How Acupuncture for Fatigue Works
Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which causes severe fatigue, headaches, muscular pain and disturbed sleep.
During an acupuncture session, thin needles are inserted into various pressure points in the body, which stimulates the nervous system and causes it to release neurotransmitters. This can promote brain signals to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, and promote relaxation, turning off the part of the brain that causes insomnia. Acupuncture also increases blood flow, which helps blood to transport nutrients and oxygen to the body’s organs more quickly, increasing energy.
Some of the common acupuncture pressure points for fatigue include the base of the skull, the skin between the thumb and index finger, and the sole of the foot, about a third of a way down from the toes. These areas are most effective at lifting energy levels and easing insomnia and chronic exhaustion.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Fatigue
Over the years, many studies have looked into the effects of acupuncture on chronic fatigue, and all have produced promising results. One study on acupuncture for chronic fatigue found that acupuncture reduced the severity of fatigue after 5 to 13 weeks of treatment, concluding that acupuncture in addition to usual care could help improve fatigue in CFS patients.
Another study involving CFS patients at the Beijing Chaoyang Fatou Community Health Service Center determined that acupuncture warm needling effectively decreased physical, mental, and general fatigue, noting that acupuncture with moxibustion is a “reasonable treatment option” to be considered by primary healthcare physicians.
The Future of Acupuncture for Fatigue
Rather than fighting the effects of fatigue on a short-term basis, acupuncture works to regulate the body’s responses and ultimately eliminate the cause of the issue. With such positive results from clinical trials, it’s likely that acupuncture for fatigue will be considered more frequently by GPs as part of a treatment plan for patients with exhaustion or chronic fatigue syndrome.