Dr. Angelica Kokkalis, O.M.D L.Ac.

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Fibromyalgia Treatments Through the Chinese System of Medicine

Treating fibromyalgia in Chinese medicine focuses on ridding the body of the invading pathogens, restoring normal circulation and flow of blood and Qi, promoting emotional harmony and fortifying the Kidney/Vitality system. Effective treatments include acupuncture, warming needle therapy, point injection therapy, Qigong, moxibustion, herbal and dietary therapies, cupping, massage and  therapeutic exercise.

A. Methods of treatment by Chinese herbal medicine

There are four methods of treatment used in Chinese herb medicine.

Regulating therapy; Includes various treatments such as the dispersion of stagnated liver-energy, the coordination of the functions of the liver and spleen or of the liver and stomach.

Warming therapy; Expelling cold by warming the meridians, rejuvenating the depleted Yang, lowering fever with drugs of sweet flavor and warm nature.

Invigoration therapy;  Invigoration of vital energy, toning the blood, invigoration of Yin and Yang.

Dispelling therapy; A treatment for dispersing stagnated energy, blood stasis, phlegm-wetness, undigested foods.

The effects of herbs are usually seen after several days of regular use, rather than immediately, but once the effects are established, they often persist for a long time.  The use of acupuncture plus herbs usually provides the most dramatic results.

B. Dietary Therapy

Avoiding foods that produce dampness or mucous that may further obstruct the flow of Qi and blood in the channels, therefore exacerbating the pain.

Foods to avoid:

Cow milk products (milk, cheese, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, etc.)
Night shade vegetables  (tomato, eggplant, peppers, potato).
Deep fried and fatty foods.
Cold and raw foods (salads, fruits).
Wheat. Alcohol. Coffee. Sugar.

C. Methods of treatment by acupuncture and moxibustion

Acupuncture therapy; Application of metal needles such as filiform needle, intradermal needle and plum-blossom needle are used to stimulate certain specific superficial definite locations for the treatment of a disease. In cases of blood transmitted disease or skin lesions electro-acupuncture or laser beam acupuncture is applicable.

Acupuncture is a very safe system of health care when done by a well-trained practitioner. It feels like a needle prick but nothing like getting an injection. During the treatment the patient will experience some sensations of energy movement, but not pain. Most people fall asleep when left with the needles, and wake refreshed and relaxed.

The number of treatments varies according to the individual.  Chronic pain that exists for years may require a longer series of treatments. Treatments are usually once or twice a week.

Moxibustion therapy; A method of applying therapeutic heat produced by ignited moxa wool or roll over the well defined skin surfaces. The moxa is made by an herb called “Artemisia Bulgaris”.

D. Other methods of treatment

Massage;  a) Also called pushing and grasping; a method of prevention and treatment of diseases by applying various massage manipulation, or by passive movements of extremities. b) One of the eight manipulations of bone setting, used for relaxing the muscles, dissipating blood stasis and promoting subsidence of swelling.

Qigong (breathing exercise); A mental and physical self training for the prevention and treatment of diseases and also for health care and prolongation of life, by which life activities are self-adjusted and self-controlled with the help of the inducement of mind and the regulation of respiration and spirit.

Cupping; Is designed to vastly increase circulation to affected areas, ridding toxins and waste products that aggravate inflammation and introducing the tissues to fresh nutrients and oxygen.

Therapeutic exercises; Taiji, Gong fu, jogging five animal exercises and other exercises prevent disease and strengthen the human body.

There is no magic treatment for Fibromyalgia. In my experience of treating chronic pain for the last 17 years, a complete comprehensive evaluation is nessecary. It  is essential to determine the treatment plan for each individual. In Chinese medicine there is no ” one treatment fits all” phylosophy. Everybody has to be treated according to his or her unique characteristics.