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Acupuncture Not Effective in Fibromyalgia?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia' started by Cort, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I know someone for whom acupuncture as a godsend in FM but this study - a metastudy that examined the results of six other studies - states its no better than placebo.

    What to make of this? It could reflect that some researchers feel the FM population is almost as subset ridden as the ME/CFS one. If that's true then the group that benefits from acupuncture could be swamped from those that do not. The test of significance in research is a high one; there has to be a less than 5% chance that the result is a result of random error. Or it could be that acupuncture really is not very effective in most FM patients.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19590596?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Has anyone tried acupuncture for FM?
  2. Michelle

    Michelle Decennial ME/CFS patient

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    Six studies doesn't sound like much of a meta-analysis as I know there have been a lot more than a mere six studies on FMS and acupuncture. As I haven't read the study (or studies), I'd also be curious how they measured changes in pain intensity.

    My experience with acupunture for fibro pain is that it tends to be short lived (a few days, at most), but the relief during those few days is substantial. Stretching, graded exercise therapy -- for those who are NOT exercise-intolerant -- and hydrotherapy are probably going to be better overall long-term treatments. But for exacerbations of fibro pain, acupuncture can be really helpful.

    Acupuncture is such a tricky one to study as it's efficacy rests so heavily on the skill of the practitioner. Plus, it tends to work better when done every day for, say, 10 days in a row but it's generally only done once a week outside of traditional (i.e. China, Taiwan) settings. And acupuncture was never developed to be a stand-alone treatment, but used in conjunction with food, herbs, moxa, and movement (QiGong). Except that most Americans are unwilling to eat and drink nasty-tasting concoctions.
  3. Michelle

    Michelle Decennial ME/CFS patient

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    Oh I remembered sometime this morning during one of the bazillion times I woke up that I forgot to mention Bob Flaws's book Curing Fibromyalgia Naturally with Chinese Medicine. Now, cure is a bit on the hyperbolic side. I think "manage" would be a better word. But it has a lot of great info if a person is interested in how Chinese Medicine treats fibromyalgia, including stuff you can do yourself.
  4. Michael Dessin

    Michael Dessin Senior Member

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    Acupuncture

    Acupuncture is an excellent treatment for Fibro and many other conditions if done correctly. It was mentioned that is depends on the skill level of the practitioner which is true.

    Acupuncture has been effective for me and I see its effectiveness everyday with others.

    These studies are generally flawed as they are usually bias in some way. Acupuncture needs to be done persistently for best results.
  5. Tony

    Tony Still working on it all..

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    I tried acupuncture with a traditional Chinese doc for over 7 months, once per week. Did nothing at all for me. Drank the foul smelling herbs as well, every day..erck. Well, I did feel slightly better for about a half hour or so, but that was likely because I was having a good lie down..:)

    I should say that I didn't have that overall FM pain, it was more muscular pain in my legs...lactic acid build up.
    Many years ago I used acupuncture for knee soreness...and it helped a little.
  6. SDD1244

    SDD1244 Guest

    Well I know that our own military has been doing acupuncture on some of our soldiers.

    "A reduction of 25 percent would be considered a success with traditional pain medications, Major Nguyen said. In one case, a patient broke into tears when the severe pain he had been suffering from for more than a year subsided within moments."

    http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,164071,00.html


    I don't know why alternative medicine (AKA: pre-western medicine) has been met with such skepticism. I don't think it is fair and I honestly believe that medical students should be required to try some of these treatments on themselves. :eek:
  7. SDD1244

    SDD1244 Guest

  8. Michelle

    Michelle Decennial ME/CFS patient

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    Medicine is one of the last disciplines to yet recognize its underlying prejudices and biases. That the way we construct the body is informed by our cultural assumptions rather than it being a mere matter of fact upon which everybody agrees. We view the body through the lens of the Greeks, Asians through the lens of the Chinese (though most these days through the lens of the Greeks as well). The idea that we view the body through our cultural background and not based on "fact" is still mostly foreign to European-based medicine.

    I have a close friends (an academic) who has complete contempt for the idea of "qi" but has no problem believing in psychic ability. Go figure.
  9. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Natelson

    Dr. Natelson is one of the rare true physician/researchers; he knows a good study when he sees one. I just noticed in his book "Your Symptoms are Real' that two of the three well controlled acupuncture studies and FM and positive results. another study on neck and shoulder pain found improvement lasting several years. He called these studies 'beautifully done'. I think I'll go with Dr. Natelson.;)
  10. KC22

    KC22 Senior Member

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    I just got home from accupuncture. I have more CFS than FM, but I feel it helps me a lot. I have a wonderful accupuncturist. He just returned home from Japan and has learned more than he already knew. I wish I could tell you what he did, but my brain fog is not allowing it to come to me.

    I think it might depend on the expertise of your accupuncturist. I believe in it!!!
  11. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    How long did it take for you to start noticing changes from your acupuncture? 1 visit, 2, 5, 10?
  12. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Skill of the acupuncturist? Placebo?

    I had what was diagnosed & treated as "tennis elbow" some years ago. Now that I've had the FM diagnosis in 2006, I suspect the total of 9 months "tennis elbow" was actually FM.

    I initially went to a sports physician in Melbourne (where I had a long term relationship for other injuries).
    I had 2 cortisone injections & physiotherapy (as instructed by the sports medicine physician) which did nothing.

    Eventually I had to take 5 weeks off work when I couldn't write at all.

    Under my own steam, I had 8 acupuncture sessions from a traditional chinese acupuncturist (to no avail either - despite the wonderful reference by a friend, & the wonderful invigorating chinese massage when I went back to him for treatment of my chronic back pain).

    Eventually I went to an Australian (herbalist/acupuncturist/healer/masseur) recommended by another friend. It was an usual session - unlike any other acupuncture treatment I had received before or since.

    He seemed to be "listening" or "intuitively sensing" not only what I was saying, but trying to tune in to my energy or aura (that's my description by the way).

    Every 10 minutes or so, he asked me how my elbow/arm was & then moved the acupuncture needles to another position. 3 times in all.

    I had 3 sessions with him & never had any more trouble for years. I also had a back massage by him - which was "electrifying" to say the least. Once again, there seemed to be some sort of energy he was transmitting.

    He is one of the few therapists I have ever experienced who I would classify as a truly gifted & intuitive healer.

    As to the word "Placebo" - well, after all these years of injuries, surgeries & chronic ill-health, I really have no issue in accepting the term PLACEBO. I don't care if he/she waves a magic wand or heals me with a sugar pill.

    In principle, if one is genuinely healed/cured/improved, isn't that the desired effect. (as long as they don't rob you of every penny/cent you possess in treating you).

    Does it really matter if the treatment is orthodox, alternative or a faith healer or the power of prayer?

    I keep an open mind these days.

    Victoria
  13. KC22

    KC22 Senior Member

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    I went to my accupuncturist once a week, then every other week and now I only see him once a month.

    I would say I noticed improvement on 5-6 visit. It seems like my body knows when a month comes up and it is time to see him. Before, I needed it more often.

    Today, after reading my body, he stated that I have more energy. My response was, "sometimes, yes, and sometimes, no." He responded with, "I feel more energy in your body." That is encouraging to me because he has usually been right.
  14. Tony

    Tony Still working on it all..

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    Brain imaging, acupuncture and FM

    http://www.prohealth.com/fibromyalgia/library/showArticle.cfm?libid=14775&B1=EM081209F

    Patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to opioid medications, since [after acupuncture, PET scans of the brain show] the receptors seem to have more binding availability.

    Acupuncture has been used in East-Asian medicine for thousands of years to treat pain, possibly by activating the body's natural painkillers. But how it works at the cellular level has been largely unknown.

    Using brain imaging, a University of Michigan study is the first to provide evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture affects the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain.
  15. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Excellent point, Victoria.

    Couldn't agree more. :)
  16. Acupuncture, ME/CFS, FM & migraines

    I have been being treated with acupuncture for almost 4 months. Since I started, my daily migrainnes with a pain level of 9-10; have decreased to tolerable a level 4. When I go in with a headache and am treated, the acupuncture has actually made my headache disapate :)

    I usually see a certain practioner, but have seen others in this group. Each acupuncturist has their own style. Now he is working on my gut issues.

    I started out going twice a week, now I generally go once a week. I have stretched it with vacation & have gone in 2x a week as necessary. I would like to get to the point of going every other week, then even once a month! I think that's a while off.

    I think acupuncture is helping me, first it did address my migraine issues. Throughout the summer, dealing with days of "over-doing", my acupuncture treatments helped. Overall, I felt a little more energized, slightly less fatigued & joint pain was decreased.
  17. Frickly

    Frickly Senior Member

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    I've never had acupuncture but....

    just had to pop in and say I really like your name WadsWorthLongFellow.:D
  18. anncavan

    anncavan

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    Acupuncture EXTREMELY effective for my FM

    Thought I'd add my 2 cents. Acupuncture has been extremely effective for my FM. My first visit was extremely eye opening and drastic right away. The practitioner identified my pain immediately. She would just (what seemed arbitrarily) press points in my body and they'd be extremely tender. She followed this by the needles. I was on the table for about 20 minutes with needles in, and the pain that followed was intense. It was as if she found every point and "pulled" the pain out. It was exhausting and extremely sore (not from needles, you dont' even feel them) with FM ache/pain. After the appointment I had to sleep for about a day. I went to see her again, and the sensation was about half it had been the first visit. And then the third even less. I have continued seeing her about 3 times a month, as I find it keeps me centered and without flare up. I rarely have FM pain anymore. If I do, it is caused by a extreme change in weather or if I'm really ill (I also have CFS, so when I have CFS crashes). At which point I use a D-Ribose/Malic Acid powder called Ribomax M, and it does the trick.
  19. Michelle

    Michelle Decennial ME/CFS patient

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    Short needle time for ME/CFS & acupuncture

    AnnCavan regarding her experience with acupuncture:

    For patients with ME/CFS who are seeking treatment with acupuncture, it is extremely important that you ask your acupuncturist to take the needles out after 10-15 minutes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is the most invasive form of treatment and uses up some of your "qi" in the process. If you have ME/CFS, you are invariably "qi-deficient" i.e. you ain't got much qi. The longer the needles stay in, the more qi it is using up. If those needles stay in for a long time, you are going to seriously crash.

    I've heard of a number of patients who have gone to get acupuncture, had the needles in for 40 minutes and ended up not being able to drive themselves home. Acupuncturists should know not to leave the needles in for a long time, but they are often not used to working on ME/CFS patients (as opposed to "chronic fatigue" clients) and need to be reminded. Particularly if they stick more than five needles in you.

    If you handle 10 minutes alright, you can have the acupuncturist increase the amount of time by 1-2 minute increments each week to see how you respond. But 15-20 minutes really is about all that most ME/CFS patients can handle. Though, as is always the case with this illness, there is a lot of variation and I'm sure somebody out there can handle 40 minutes with no problem. ;)
  20. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    Michelle,
    I agree with you on the time needles are in. Going back to my earlier post, the final "healer" in my 9 months of elbow pain changed the needle positions every ten minutes (3 times in the first session).
    I bave been to several acupuncturists over the years, but he was the first person who moved the needles during one session.
    Weird, but it worked.
    Fantastic final result. Have lost touch on where he is located now - I know he moved some years ago (but what is worse is that I can't remember his name, so can't look him up in the phone directory).
    Victoria
    ps Anne of Green Gables was on tv Sat night - thought of you & how much you & Jody would have loved that particular film version of the story - absolutely enchanting, especially the countryside & camera work. And the light shining on the apple blossoms - like fairy lights on a Christmas tree.

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