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Feeling tired, low energy? Acupuncture can help


Fatigue is a very common complaint. How to boost energy and reduce fatigue with acupuncture?

Blood circulation is a key step to boost energy. Blood circulates throughout the body and brings the energy to the cells to function. If blood circulation is poor, the nutrients will not reach the cells which need energy to do the work. You will see symptoms of fatigue.

System circulation is the part of the cardiovascular system. Microcirculation is blood circulation in the smallest blood vessels which comprise arterioles, capillaries and venules. Arteriole wall is made up of smooth muscles, while there are no smooth muscles on the capillary and venule wall. Lymphatic circulation consisting of lymphatic capillaries also contributes to the microcirculation function. It carries oxygenated blood away from the heart through the arteries, capillaries to the tissues of the body. It provides the functional blood supply with oxygen and nutrients to the cells to all body tissue. It picks up carbon dioxide and waste products and returns deoxygenated blood through veins back to the heart. Circulation is the key for body function. It provides energy that body needs and detoxifies the body. If some part of the body or whole body circulation is compromised, the body will not function well and illness will occur.

Acupuncture improves blood circulation and this was proved by scientific research. For example, Sandberg et al investigated the effects of acupuncture on skin and muscle blood flow. Blood flow recordings were performed intermittently from 10 min prior to the intervention to the end of the trial. They found that skin and muscle blood flow increased after acupuncture stimulation. Another example Kuo et al also studied the effect of acupuncture on skin blood flow. After acupuncture treatment skin blood flow and skin temperature increased. By increasing blood circulation, acupuncture improves body energy flow and helps with detoxification of the body.

Acupuncture helps with chronic fatigue syndrome

Constant fatigue is the main symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS refers to severe exhaustion during and after daily activities or to a lack of energy which is prolonged for 6 or more months and resting and sleeping cannot make fatigue go. CFS affects about 1 in 300 people in the UK. It is about three times as common in women as in men. Most common age group developing CFS is 20-45 and it occurs more in women than in men. Apart from constant fatigue feeling, there are also other symptoms associated with severe fatigue, such as muscle and joint pain, headache, insomnia and poor short term memory etc. The cause is not clear but there are a few theories including: a viral infection, immune system problems, neuroendocrine dysfunction causing hormones imbalance and psychiatric problems, such as stress and emotional trauma, various inflammatory conditions, central nervous system impairments, and stress. Recently a reduced blood flow in some brain region is found. Some biochemical changes were found in the brain. The purpose of the treatment is to improve the symptoms.

Acupuncture helps improves symptoms such as reducing pain, stress and improving sleep. This will help improve quality of life in patients with CFS. Recently much research has been done to show acupuncture is helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome. For example, one study compared the effects of acupuncture, warm needle and non acupoint groups. They have shown that in comparison with pre-treatment, the scores of Chalder Fatigue Scale including physical and mental fatigue and total score were significantly decreased in both acupuncture and warm-needling groups but not in the non-acupoint group. The physical, mental and total scores of the acupuncture and warm-needling groups were significantly lower than those of the non-acupoint group.

Recently Zhang W et al studied the effect of acupuncture of Back-shu acupoints in patients with CFS. This was a randomised controlled trial involved in 120 patients with CFS. These patients were equally divided into two groups: acupuncture group and control group. General health was measured and fatigue was measured using Chalder fatigue scale. At the end of the treatment and follow up survey at 4 weeks and 3 months after the treatment, mental and physical function, pain sensation as well as Chalder fatigue scale was improved significantly in acupuncture group compared with those control group. They concluded that acupuncture is effective on chronic fatigue syndrome both on immediate and mid- term basis.

Ng SM &Yiu YM studied the effect of acupuncture on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The participants were 99 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This study was well designed with randomized, controlled and single blinded methods. These participants were divided into two groups: acupuncture group and control group with sham acupuncture. The interventions were given twice a week for 4 weeks. They found that physical and mental fatigue was significantly decreased after the treatments. Health related quality of life was improved significantly. Surprisingly there was therapeutic effect with sham acupuncture which was considered due to pressure on the acupuncture points from the sham needles in addition to normal placebo effects. However acupuncture has significantly greater effects than that for sham acupuncture.

Recently a clinical trial studied the effect of acupuncture on CFS. The Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) score, the Stress Response Inventory (SRI), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) were used to assess the effect. After 5 weeks of acupuncture treatment, FSS score, SRI and NRS were significantly lower in the treatment group compared to the control group. After 13 weeks of treatment BDI score was significantly lower in acupuncture group. Body acupuncture in addition to usual care may help improve fatigue in CFS patients.

Research studied the effect of acupuncture on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and idiopathic chronic fatigue (ICF). The result has shown that 4 weeks in addition to usual care may help improve fatigue in CFS and ICF patients.

A recent study investigated the effect of acupuncture on CFS. 68 patients participated this study. In this study 34 patients were in acupuncture roup and they received acupuncture at following acupuncture points Baihui (BL 20), Fengchi (GB 20), Pishu (BL 20), Shenshu (BL 23), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) and Taixi (KI 3). The treatments were given once a day, 5 treatments a week, with 2 days break. The consecutive treatment for 4 weeks was required. 34 pateints in control group received oryzanol and vitamin B1. Before and after treatment, the score of the fatigue scale-14 (FS-14), the score of the somatic and psychological health report (SPHERE) and the score of the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) were observed in the patients of the two groups separately. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was adopted to determine the levels of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interferon-γ (INF-γ) before and after treatment. After treatment, FS-14 scores, SPHERE scores and PSQI scores were all reduced compared to before the treatments. After treatment, the levels of IL-6 and INF-γ in the serum in the observation group were reduced. They concluded that acupuncture can improve fatigue and sleep quality. The effect mechanism is probably related to the decrease of the levels of IL-6 and INF-γ in serum.

Acupuncture helps with fatigue from IBD Fatigue is a common symptom for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)and this fatigue persists even if it is in remission. A recent study investigated the effect of acupuncture on fatigue with IBD in remission. Fifty-two patients with IBD in clinical remission and fatigue participated the study. Patients in acupuncture group received 9 treatments over four weeks. After 8 weeks fatigue score in acupuncture group is improved significantly compared with waiting list group and before acupuncture treatments. This paper suggested that acupuncture may be a treatment option for patients with IBD and fatigue. Post covid-19 fatigue with acupuncture treatment

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease (COVID-19) triggers the development of numerous pathologies and infection-linked complications and exacerbates existing pathologies in nearly all body systems. Aside from the primarily targeted respiratory organs, adverse SARS-CoV-2 effects were observed in nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal/metabolic, immune, and other systems in COVID-19 survivors. Long-term effects of this viral infection have been recently observed and represent distressing sequelae recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a distinct clinical entity defined as post-COVID-19 condition. Recent reports indicated that several months after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, some patients were still experiencing severe fatigue and other systemic symptoms described as long-COVID. Long COVID symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, cognitive dysfunction (“brain fog”), sleep disorders, fevers, gastrointestinal symptoms, anxiety, depression, and others, can persist for months and can range from mild to incapacitating.

Acupuncture can help to reduce fatigue, boost energy level and help recovery.

References

Sandberg et al Eur Appl Physiol (2003) 90:114-9

Zhang W et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2011) 36:437-41

Ng SM & Yiu YM Altern Ter Health Med 2013 19:21-6

Couilliot MF et al J Integr Med (2013) 11:26-31

Lu C et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2014) 39:313-317

Kim JE et al Trials (2015)16:314

Jung-Eun Kim et al Trials. 2015; 16: 314.

Xue YX et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2019 Feb 12;39(2):123-7. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.2019.02.003. Horta D et al Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 May 15. pii: izz091. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izz091. [Epub ahead of print]

Xin Yin etc. J Integr Med. 2021 Sep; 19(5): 460–466.


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