Fibromyalgia affects approximately two percent of the U.S. population or around five million people. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome with many different symptoms that can vary from patient to patient: the primary symptom all fibromyalgia patients share is widespread, diffuse pain that persists as well as sleep disturbances. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown although many people with the condition have a history of either physical or emotional trauma.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can offer relief from fibromyalgia. A recent study done in Spain demonstrated a course of nine weekly treatments individualized acupuncture treatments gave patients a 41 percent decrease in pain, while also decreasing other fibromyalgia symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety and depression. And significantly, the results were maintained at the one-year follow up. This is one of the most promising and significant studies done to date: previous studies have not been as conclusive, possibly because treatment protocols were generic (not individualized as is standard practice in TCM). Currently only one in five fibromyalgia patients try acupuncture within two years of their diagnosis.
Stay away from sugar and all things that turn into sugar in the body such a diary, simple carbohydrates and wheat. You can still enjoy these foods but in a much more limited quantity (after a 21 day total elimination diet add one in a time, spacing the reintroduction in every three days to determine their effect on you). These are foods that in TCM nutrition create dampness in the body. Dampness can cause pain, especially pain that gets worse with changes in weather, swollen joints, inflammation, bloating and edema.
Check for Vitamin deficiencies
If your skin is very tender to the touch you may have a Vitamin D deficiency. To increase your Vitamin D levels eat more deep-sea fish or take a high quality fish oil and get some sun every day! Sun yourself two to three times per week for about five to ten minutes per day with as much skin exposed as possible. Other vitamins that play a role in pain include: calcium, potassium as well as proteins and healthy fats. Analyze your diet to figure out what’s missing. Then focus on food-based sources to use food as medicine to heal your body back to health.
Breathing Yoga Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Developing a breathing yoga practice with intentional relaxation can become an internal part of nurturing your well-being. Here’s one to try – Lie on your back with your knees bent feet up on chair or couch. Support your body if necessary, something under the legs and/or neck can help relieve pressure and make the position more comfortable. Plus, it helps if you turn your palms up to open the shoulders and relax the chest. Focus on deep breathing and unwinding your body. With each inhale your breath will guide your mind to a different part of your body, follow the sensations in your body. With each exhale, practice letting go of that part of your body. Imagine it melting, softening, unwinding, relaxing, surrendering, turning a color you associate with relaxing… find the right word or imagery that helps your body relax. The ‘right’ word or image may change from breath to breath, day to day.