Can Acupuncture Help Chronic Fatigue?

Breeze Academy June 1, 2023
Women in bed sleeping

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a condition with unknown causes and that has no cure. As such it can be difficult to treat with western medication and therapies. But, how do alternative therapies such as Acupuncture fare? In this blog, we look into the effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

So, can Acupuncture help Chronic Fatigue? Yes, Acupuncture can help to manage the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, it’s important to recognise that it does not offer a cure. Acupuncture helps to relieve symptoms such as extreme tiredness, headaches, pain, depression and insomnia. 

Read on to learn more about Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue, how it helps and the Acupuncture points recommended for this treatment.

Can Acupuncture Help With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

It is commonly known that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is hard to treat. However, a growing body of research suggests that Acupuncture may be able to treat some of its symptoms. It does not offer a cure, and may not offer complete relief from symptoms, but research suggests that Acupuncture may be an effective way of managing symptoms and improving quality of life. 

Likewise, Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture (TCM Acupuncture) believes that the treatment is well suited to Chronic Fatigue, specifically in relation to:

  • Spleen Qi deficiency
  • Liver Qi stagnation
  • Kidney deficiency
  • Yin deficiency
  • Heat toxicity
  • Phlegm obstruction/dampness

Studies of TCM Acupuncture and Chronic Fatigue are largely positive, with one reporting improvements after four weeks of treatment. Another systematic review of studies found that Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome showed a reduction in the severity of fatigue. A further study reported a 90% effective rate, with half of patients claiming that they felt “cured”.

A final study reported that treatment became more and more effective as treatment continued past the 10th treatment, particularly when combined with other TCM treatments, such as Moxibustion.

How it Helps

Several studies suggest that Acupuncture may be able to help treat both mental and physical symptoms of Chronic Fatigue. It may also be effective in improving:

  • Health-related quality of life
  • Mental health
  • Physiological function
  • Social function
  • Pain sensation

Acupuncture may also be effective in improving the following secondary symptoms/conditions:

  • Anorexia
  • Energy
  • Insomnia
  • Amnesia
  • Diarrhoea
  • General pain and discomfort

Acupuncture Points for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Based on a systematic review, the following Acupuncture points were recommended for treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

  • ST36 - Zusanli - located on the lower leg and typically used to treat pain, hypertension and other physical disorders.
  • SP6 - Sanyinjiao - located on the lower leg and typically used in TCM to strengthen the spleen and restore balance to the Yin, blood, liver and kidneys.
  • GV20 - Baihui - located on the highest place on the head where the yang meridians meet. This is used to treat headaches, dizziness and anxiety.
  • BL23 - Shenshu - located on the back and typically used to strengthen the core and reduce back pain.
  • CV4 - Guan Yuan - located about a hand’s width below the belly button, this Acupuncture point is generally used in TCM for deficiencies of Yin, Yan, Qi and blood.

Acupuncture Vs Western Treatments for Chronic Fatigue

There is no definitive western treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as there is still not much known about its cause. There are, however, medicines that can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms, such as painkillers and antidepressants. Various therapies may also be recommended alongside reducing stress, eating a healthy diet and attending support groups. NICE recommends that treatments be tailored to the individual symptoms.

Acupuncture works similarly in that it isn’t a complete cure. It treats, or relieves, symptoms. However, with Acupuncture, patients may not need to rely on a number of medications to treat the various symptoms and may find that the treatment offers a more rounded improvement to their wellbeing and quality of life.

Final Thoughts

Research suggests that Acupuncture offers an effective treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, it’s important to note that it does not offer a cure. Treatment simply helps to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. This may be a great option for those that don’t want to rely on western medication to manage symptoms. 

If you’re interested in offering Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Breeze Academy runs a number of foundation-level Acupuncture courses at all major cities across the UK. We provide you with everything you need to safely and confidently practise Acupuncture in your clinic. We also offer a number of CPD Acupuncture courses for more advanced students. Take a look at our courses online today or get in touch for more information.


What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, is a long-term condition that causes extreme tiredness alongside a number of other wide-ranging symptoms including:

  • Feeling extremely tired all the time - people with CFS may find it hard to complete daily activities such as work, cooking and cleaning.
  • Still feeling tired after resting or sleeping.
  • Taking a long time to recover after physical activity.
  • Problems sleeping.
  • Cognitive problems such as memory and concentration.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat.
  • Flu-like symptoms.
  • Dizziness.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

It is unknown what causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it may be possible that the condition has more than one cause. In some cases, patients may have multiple triggers. Potential causes of CFS include:

  • Infection
  • Immune system changes
  • Stress
  • Changes in the body’s energy production
  • Genetic factors

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