Chronic Fatigue


 

Etiology

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disorder that is characterized by extreme exhaustion that cannot be explained by another concurrent medical condition. The fatigue can be made worse with physical or mental activity, however it is not made better with rest. There are many theories regarding the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Western Allopathic Medicine, however no known cause has been accepted for the disorder. Theories range from unresolved viral or bacterial infections to large amounts of psycho-social stress. Many medical professionals believe that the disorder might develop from a number of factors in combination. In Chinese Medicine, it is shown to be caused by a deficiency of qi and yang with stagnation of qi and blood. When the body has a blockage in the chest, the heart organ has insufficient qi and blood to nourish the rest of the body which depletes blood supply to the brain, as well as the other tissues of the body. This presents as extreme fatigue, often combined with a feeling of heaviness or weakness, and in some cases pain. With aggressive treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, circulation can be restored to the heart, and therefore the brain and other tissues. When circulation is increased, the tissues and organs have enough nutrition to function normally and energy will be restored.

Clinical Features

There is no single test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but rather it is diagnosed via elimination of other possible causes for the fatigue (IE adrenal fatigue, depression, etc.).

o        Extreme Fatigue that may be worse with physical or mental activity, but does NOT get better with rest or sleep.

o        Other diagnoses have been eliminated such as: anemia, depression, adrenal fatigue, etc. 

o        A change in sleep pattern - insomnia or hypersomnia.

o        Generalized Weakness in the body.

o        Can be accompanied with reproductive and/or respiratory deficiencies. 

o        A change in psychomotor activity-motor - agitation or   retardation.

o       Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions.


Traditional Chinese Medicine differentiates Chronic Fatigue Syndrome into four types:

o        Qi Deficiency

o        Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang Deficiency

o        Lung and Kidney Qi Deficiency

o        Heart and Kidney Qi Deficiency


Differentiation

o      Adrenal Insufficiency.  

o     Chronic Fatigue with generalized weakness. 

o     Chronic Fatigue with respiratory and/or reproductive deficiencies. 


Treatment

o     Acupuncture: Points from SP meridian and ST meridians are chosen as the main points to restore digestive function and to nourish the post-heavenly qi. Then, points from the DU and HT meridians are chosen to increase mental clarity and to restore circulation to the heart and brain. Mostly we apply needles with even method. In case of severe deficiency, the tonifying method may be employed.

      Prescription: ST 36, SP 6, SP 10, LI 10, DU 20, DU 26, HT 7, SJ 5, KD 3, KD 4. 

     Explanation: ST 36, SP 6, SP 10, and LI 10 are effective for tonifying post-heavenly qi and helping the digestive system to use nutrients to create and utilize energy in the body. DU26 and DU 20 are effective for regaining mental clarity. The rest of the points are to nourish qi and blood, and to restore overall body circulation. 

o   Ear Acupuncture: Sympathetic Nerve, Ear-Shenmen, Heart, Kidney, Endocrine, and Stomach.

o   Infrared or moxibustion: I prefer to apply infrared or moxa on REN 12  when there are significant amount of deficiency signs in the digestive and respiratory systems.  

o   Tuina: I found that most of the Chronic Fatigue cases have neck and shoulder tension. Neck release treatment usually helps with energy a lot.

o   A Chronic Fatigue Herbal Formula is designed to nourish post-heavenly qi, increase circulation to the heart, and build blood. 

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