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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) can be a very debilitating disorder which can have a very negative impact on a person’s life. Here at Merge Health, we specialise in chronic fatigue treatment, and I would like to give you three different practices that could make life better for those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Yoga and Qi-Gong:

A study involving 15 patients practising isometric Yoga for 2 months where there was no improvement in 6 months of conventional therapy, showed marked improvement in terms of fatigue and depression. Markers include increased vagal nerve function and changed blood biomarkers in a pattern that suggested anti-stress and anti-inflammatory effects; and dopaminergic nervous system activation(3,4).

64 patients that took Qi Gong therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome showed improvement in both the symptoms of fatigue in and also in their depression levels, with telomerase activity increase (5). Another study involving 137 participants divided into active and control group received 10 sessions of Qi-Gong training twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks, followed by home-based practice for 12 weeks. The results showed improvement in physical and mental fatigue, as well as depressive markers in the active group (6).

Meditation:

A 1 year follow up study in meditation and chronic fatigue syndrome showed significant positive changes in fatigue and physical functioning for 80% of the patients after the intervention, with the changes being sustained through 1 year after the program, without any drop out from the participants and with a high satisfaction rate reported by patients (1).

Another study was done following a group of 50 women divided into intervention and control groups. It involved a 10-week protocol for the intervention group utilising mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and no mindfulness support for the control group. The results were significant improvement of statistical significance in MBSR group following treatment and at three-month follow-up. This involved improving psychological distress and strengthening mental and physical resiliency to disease management (2).

Acupuncture and Moxibustion:

Acupuncture can bring relief to the symptoms of fatigue and improve the general chronic fatigue syndrome picture. Please be mindful that this involves proper traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture and not other sub-standard needling practices such as dry needling.

A three-arm parallel non blinded randomized control trial was performed at 4 hospitals with 150 people. Group A received real acupuncture while the other groups received either sham acupuncture or no acupuncture at all. Group A showed the highest score in terms of reduction of fatigue symptoms (7).

The Health Care Medicine Institute claims that acupuncture is an effective treatment method for chronic fatigue syndrome (9) by citing a study of previous randomized clinical trials (10). Three groups of patients were divided by sham acupuncture, standard acupuncture and standard acupuncture combined with moxibustion therapy (warm needling). The results demonstrate that sham acupuncture does not produce significant positive patient outcomes; however, standard acupuncture and warm needling acupuncture produce significant clinical results. They concluded that acupuncture and moxibustion can be used as an alternative treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.

A comparison treatment between acupuncture and moxibustion

Both acupuncture and moxibustion can improve fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome patients (8). Forty-five participants were recruited and randomly divided into 3 groups using a randomisation schedule. The control group and the acupuncture group were treated by manipulation acupuncture, and the moxibustion group was treated by indirect moxibustion. Both acupuncture and moxibustion improved fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome patients, but moxibustion was more effective, particularly in the long term. The mechanism responsible for this effect may involve activating the vagus nerve. Modulation of the sympathetic nervous system may be involved in moxibustion treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome as well (8).

Book an appointment at Merge Health today for chronic fatigue treatment and more through Traditional Chinese Medicine methods, such as moxibustion and acupuncture.

 

By Dr Oscar Moreno 

 

References:

(1). Stubhaug B, Lier HO, Aßmus J, Rongve A and Kvale G (2018). A 4-Day Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Program for CFS/ME. An Open Study, With 1-Year Follow-Up. Front. Psychiatry 9:720. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00720

(2). Sampalli, T., Berlasso, B., Fox, R., Petter, M. (2009). A controlled study of the effect of a mindfulness-based stress reduction technique in women with multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 2009:2 53– 59

(3). Oka, T., Tanahashi, T., Lkhagvasuren, B., Yamada, Y. (2019). The longitudinal effects of seated isometric yoga on blood biomarkers, autonomic functions, and psychological

parameters of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study. BioPsychoSocial Medicine (2019) 13:28 https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-019-0168-x

(4). Oka, T., Tanahashi, T., Lkhagvasuren, B., Yamada, Y. (2018). Changes in fatigue, autonomic functions, and blood biomarkers due to sitting isometric yoga in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. BioPsychoSocial Medicine (2018) 12:3 https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-018-0123-2

5. Rainbow T. H. Ho., et. al. (2012). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong Exercise on Fatigue Symptoms, Functioning, and Telomerase Activity in Persons with Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. ann. behav. med. (2012) 44:160–170 DOI 10.1007/ s12160-012-9381-6

6. Chan, J. S. M., et. al. (2013). Effects of Qigong Exercise on Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depressive Symptoms of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-Like Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013, Article ID 485341, 8 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/485341

7. Kim, j-E., et. al. (2015). Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic chronic fatigue: a multicenter, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial. Trials (2015) 16:314 DOI 10.1186/s13063-015-0857-0

8. Shu, Q., et. al. (2016). Acupuncture and Moxibustion have Different Effects on Fatigue by Regulating the Autonomic Nervous System: A Pilot Controlled Clinical Trial. Scientific RepoRts | 6:37846 | DOI: 10.1038/srep37846

9 Health care Medicine Institute. (2018). Acupuncture Found Effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Accessed February 8, 2020 from: https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture- Continuing-Education-News/1854-acupuncture-found-effective-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome

10 Lu, C., Yang, XJ., Hu, J. (2014). Randomised controlled clinical trials of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2014 Aug;39(4): 313-7. (Article in Chinese language).