Dr. Bella Fooksman, D.Ac., L.Ac.  -
Chinese Medicine Offers Relief for Fibromyalgia

There are a thousand ways to heal, and most of my fibromyalgia patients have tried almost all of them without great success by the time they begin Oriental medical therapies. The symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) include pain in the muscles and joints, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, and digestive imbalances. This is a disease process that takes many forms of expressing itself and is tenacious in nature. Because Chinese medical therapies treat energetic imbalances in the body, fibromyalgia responds extremely well to this type of treatment.

Typically, FMS patients look healthy. Hence, no one can imagine that they are quite ill and in a great deal of pain. As a result, FMS sufferers receive little empathy from family, friends, or even health care practitioners. Western medical practitioners often avoid billing using a fibromyalgia code fearing reprisals from insurance companies that are still debating whether or not fibromyalgia even exists. FMS patients also run into misinformed health practitioners who treat fibromyalgia patients as drug seekers. This is because FMS does not respond well to pain medications and patients, especially those with severe pain, are looking for solutions where they may not exist.
There is a great deal of mystery surrounding the origins of FMS. Western medicine has yet to determine the cause of FMS. However, according to the ancient theories of Chinese medicine, fibromyalgia follows patterns of imbalance associated with Qi (vital energy loosely), organs and energetic qualities of the body leading to pain syndromes. Some of the patterns are as follows:

1) Latent Pathogens
According to Chinese medicine, a cold or flu is treated by releasing the pathogen to the exterior. Part of this process includes opening the pours by causing a sweat. If an exterior pathogen is not treated properly, it can become lodged in the interior of the body. This unresolved virus can lodge itself in the muscle tissue, or more seriously, in the organs of the body. Interestingly, antibiotics are very cold in nature and cold causes contraction. When antibiotics are used in the presence of an exterior pathogen, the pathogen cannot move to the exterior. Environment toxins are also pathogenic factors that can become stuck in the muscle tissue.

2) Liver Qi Constraints
The Liver is dynamic in its ability to move Qi in all directions in the body. When the Liver function becomes constrained, there is a tendency for the Liver to become heated. Not only does the Liver function become impaired, but the Liver overacts on other systems. It can affect the Heart function causing insomnia and the Spleen and Large Intestine functions causing digestive difficulties. With Liver Qi constraints there is typically an emotional imbalance causing frustration, easy anger and even depression.

3) Dampness
Imagine a sticky substance like phlegm adhering to every cell in your body. Most of us think of phlegm as something that is restricted to the respiratory system. However, given the right conditions, phlegm can turn up throughout the body. In the case of FMS, it is often lodged in the muscle tissue causing stagnation and pain. This is one of the factors that make FMS so difficult to treat. Western medicine has no way of recognizing or clearing dampness from the tissues.

4) Qi Deficiency
Patients suffering with FMS typically experience bouts of severe lethargy. Their energy is often so depleted that they cannot hold down a job or care for their families on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, tonifying Qi with herbs, heat therapy and acupuncture often strengthens the latent pathogen and worsens the condition. On the other hand, if the body does not have adequate Qi, there is not enough strength to expel the pathogen. The Chinese have a saying that loosely goes, “don’t feed the thief while he is robbing your house.” This is why FMS patients cannot use typical supplements that build energy and
vitality in the body.

The patterns listed here are the main underlying patterns seen in FMS patients. The only way for a patient to regain health in this situation is to release the pathogen and resolve the dampness...

...While there are no quick fixes in the treatment of FMS, there is great hope and promise using Oriental medical approaches. These specific herbs offers great hope in restoring health in patients who might otherwise suffer needlessly for years.

source:  Acupuncture.com, by Catherine Browne, L.Ac.
If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your specific needs, please contact Bella at 410-916-2292
or via e-mail at info@bfacupuncture.com.