From acupuncture to chiropractic, from massage to meditation, alternative treatments are in great demand. That’s especially true for people with pain-related illnesses such as fibromyalgia. Alternative medicine, including herbal therapy and homeopathy, is a form of “drug-free” doctoring that views the mind and body as a fully integrated system.
For people with fibromyalgia, some alternative treatments work well. That’s because holistic therapies influence your total being. In that way, they may allow you to reduce your medications and increase your normal activities.
Study findings show that standard acupuncture may be effective in treating some people with fibromyalgia. Both biofeedback and electroacupuncture have also been used for relief of fibromyalgia symptoms. However, before you try alternative treatments, talk with your doctor. Check to see what limitations might apply to you. Working with your doctor, you can find an acceptable way to blend conventional medicine with alternative treatments or natural remedies. When you do, you may be able to increase restful sleep and reduce your fibromyalgia pain.
Can acupuncture treat fibromyalgia?
With acupuncture, a practitioner inserts one or more dry needles into the skin and underlying tissues at specific points. Gently twisting or otherwise manipulating the needles causes a measurable release of endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s natural opioids. In addition, according to acupuncture practitioners, energy blocks are removed. Removing them is said to restore the flow of energy along the meridians, which are specific energy channels.
Studies show that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry. It appears to do this by changing the release of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses in the brain that relay information about external stimuli and sensations such as pain. In this way, the patient’s pain tolerance is increased. One acupuncture treatment in some patients may last weeks to help alleviate chronic pain.
What is electroacupuncture?
Electroacupuncture is another way of stimulating the acupuncture points. It uses a needle hooked up to small wires connected to very slight electrical currents. Heat – moxibustion — and massage – acupressure — can also be used during this electroacupuncture process.
Laser acupuncture is yet another offshoot of this alternative therapy. It may occasionally be effective for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. While it uses the same points, there are no needles involved.
There are precautions to take if you want to try acupuncture. First, make sure you find a licensed acupuncturist who has a lot of experience. Also, make sure the acupuncturist uses only disposable needles.
There are multiple styles of acupuncture. The style used depends on where the practitioner studied. For instance, Chinese acupuncture depends on larger bore needles and the practitioner may be more aggressive with moving them. Japanese acupuncture uses thinner bore needles with a relatively gentle approach. You’ll need to find the style that suits your fibromyalgia needs.