New studies show acupuncture improves chronic fatigue symptoms

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acupuncture improves chornic fatigue

Acupuncture for fatigue

Our hectic lifestyles have caused most of us to give in to stress and other related issues. However, if you are a person who wakes up every morning feeling tired and groggy and feeling as if your body weighs much more than it does, you may be a sufferer of chronic fatigue syndrome. This may lead to improper lifestyle habits, lack of sleep, nutrient deficiencies and more. Fortunately, there is a way to increase your likelihood of feeling better along with your doctor’s recommendations.

Chinese medicine practitioners have been strong advocates of the power of chi for thousands of years. Chi, indicating life energy, is what prevents diseases and health issues when in constant flow. When there is a blockage in the chi, a person becomes more susceptible to illnesses and disease. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that seeks to restore the flow of chi in order to alleviate common body ailments.

Fortunately, you don’t have to believe in the power of chi to reap the benefits of acupuncture.

Modern researchers explain that the fine needles utilized in acupuncture stimulate nerve endings under your skin, which transmit impulses to the brain resulting in the release of feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, which lift mood and improve pain and discomfort.

Some researchers have also found through brain scans that acupuncture enhances the level of blood flow to the brain’s thalamus – which plays a role in transmitting messages associated with pain to the body.


The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health officially recognized acupuncture as an effective approach in relieving pain and discomfort.

It has also been found and confirmed that acupuncture can benefit those with headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other conditions that cause fatigue as one of the symptoms.

Acupuncture and fatigue

A study conducted in the University of Manchester discovered the breast cancer patients who experienced serious fatigue benefited from acupuncture sessions.

However, the benefits of acupuncture are not limited to emotional or physical betterment, such as improvement in mood or physical pain. Acupuncture can improve your overall quality of life too.

The trial involved 302 breast cancer patients who suffered from fatigue. 75 of these patients were assigned standard care whereas, 227 were assigned standard care as well as acupuncture.

The results indicated that after 6 weeks, the fatigue levels of the second group dropped by about 4 points on a scale of 0 to 20, thus indicating that acupuncture is an effective complementary treatment in managing cancer-related fatigue, thereby improving a patient’s quality of life.

Even though acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine, it is used around the world in cancer care for pain and fatigue reduction for patients receiving chemotherapy.

When you visit an acupuncturist

Expect the acupuncturist to have a thorough session regarding your medical history which will include your symptoms, health conditions, treatments, conditions that may interfere with treatments etc. Acupuncture is a form of complementary treatment, which means it can be employed along with other standard medical treatments for certain conditions. Other treatment measures such as meditation, dietary changes, herbal remedies etc., will not be affected by acupuncture.


  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Zhen Ci Yan Jiu.2009 Apr;34(2):120-4. [Randomized controlled clinical trials of acupuncture treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome].
  • Patient education integrated with acupuncture for relief of cancer-related fatigue randomized controlled feasibility study Michael F Johnston, Ron D Hays, [...], and Ka-Kit Hui
  • Acupunct Med.2013 Mar;31(1):9-15. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010228. Epub 2012 Nov 29. The effect of acupuncture on post-cancer fatigue and well-being for women recovering from breast cancer: a pilot randomised controlled trial.
  • Oncol Nurs Forum.2014 Nov 1;41(6):581-92. doi: 10.1188/14.ONF.581-592. Effects of acupuncture and acupressure on cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review.
  • Cancer J.2014 Sep-Oct;20(5):313-8. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000064. Nonpharmacologic approach to fatigue in patients with cancer.
  • 2014 Dec 1;120(23):3744-51. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28917. Epub 2014 Jul 30. Electroacupuncture for fatigue, sleep, and psychological distress in breast cancer patients with aromatase inhibitor-related arthralgia: A randomized trial.



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