Fatigue can be described as being tired or lacking in energy or motivation. Most people choose to combat fatigue by indulging in coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks. Sugar is also a popular remedy for fatigue. Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” can often result in increased lethargy and can actually be destructive to the body.
A lot of people also trick themselves into thinking that 5 or 6 hours of sleep is adequate. This is not true. The human body needs at least 8 hours of sleep every night. If you do not get the sleep you need every night, your body will have to catch up somehow. This is how people end up falling asleep at the wheel, sleeping through their alarm or lacking the motivation to do every day things. Their bodies simply aren’t getting enough rest.
Chronic fatigue can be caused by a number of different illnesses. Western medicine will usually treat fatigue symptomatically with medication. Medication might be accompanied by harsh side effects, which may actually include fatigue.
While we are not against Western treatment, we are different in our approach to the treatment. Chinese medicine does not treat fatigue like another symptom. We look for the underlying cause behind the fatigue and will treat that instead. Fatigue is caused by a blockage of life force energy in the body, called qi. If you are suffering from fatigue, chances are your body isn’t functioning the way it should. You might experience difficulty sleeping, digesting foods, eliminating toxins or getting the proper amount of oxygen. Different symptoms, besides fatigue, coordinate with different places where the qi could be blocked. People who are kidney qi deficient may experience low back pain, low libido, internal cold and frequent urination. Heart qi deficiency may showcase symptoms of restless sleep, worry, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. If the qi is blocked in the lungs, people may experience chronic cough, weak immunity, allergies, shortness of breath and asthma. People who are spleen qi deficient will experience diarrhea, loose stools, bloating, bruising, slow speech or slow mental thought process and internal cold.
Acupuncture can help by bringing balance to the body. It will open the blocked channels of energy and allow the qi to flow freely through the body as it was meant to do. The body is an amazing thing; it was actually made to heal itself. Acupuncture will help re-train the body to heal itself. Herbs might also be used in conjunction with acupuncture to further balance the body and promote wellness.
Some of the things that the patient can do for themselves to help fatigue are to take B-complex supplements, change their diet, or try to exercise on a regular basis. Exercising does not have to be extreme; it can be as simple as 20-30 min. of light exercise, such as walking or using hand weights. Exercise will stimulate the body, move qi and help build a supply of qi – resulting in more energy.
I had a patient who suffered from severe fatigue. He also suffered from depression, digestive disorders, and food and pollen allergies. He was sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day and still felt like he had no energy. He had difficulty working, thinking and having a positive attitude towards life. We started treating him with acupuncture and herbs and slowly he became well again. His energy came back and his sleep and digestion improved. After about 30 treatments, he built up a good supply of energy. He started sleeping about eight hours and was much more energetic. He had a much better view on life too. With the help of acupuncture and herbs, everything became easier for him and he could live his life much happier than before.
The decision to get acupuncture shouldn’t be one that makes you lose sleep. Acupuncture has successfully treated fatigue-associated illnesses and will be able to help. Take comfort in knowing that if you do decide to try acupuncture you are one step closer to a balanced body and finding relief.