There are a couple definitions that we must begin with before clarity can be brought to the muddled health issue that is fibromyalgia. First, let me describe “natural medicine.”
Then, I’d like to explain fibromyalgia from the natural medicine perspective and what it means to those suffering from the symptom profile that is called fibromyalgia.
As I am trained in Chinese Medicine, but do not Practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it is communicated and practiced by so many fresh out of acupuncture school, I think it’s important to specify one over the other. TCM is a system of medicine. It has a theoretical construct: All disease stems from stagnant qi/blood. Now, the construct is far more complicated than this, but as this isn’t the platform for elaborating on the depths of it, I’ll move on.
There is Chiropractic, which has different schools of thought depending on the Chiropractor and what school they attended. One is that all disease comes from subluxations/nerve disturbance that can be removed by manual manipulation or mobilization of the spine. Naturopaths must be mentioned here as they are, by definition, Practitioners of Natural Medicine and are the MDs of the Natural Medicine world. So, in a nutshell, Natural Medicine is that which uses natural remedies, and hopefully those that address the roots/causes, to treat health problems. The tools aren’t as important as addressing said causes, appropriately. If the cause is a nutritional deficiency then, obviously, food/diet need to be utilized as part of an effective treatment plan.
Fibromyalgia is defined and diagnosed as painful areas in major muscle-bellies or motor points (the action-potential point of a muscle, or where the electrical impulse is greatest in said muscle) in muscle tissue that are over-reactive. The question that needs to be asked is WHY does this happen? The false assumption that people who have the diagnosis and people who give the diagnosis both make is that they assume that the underlying cause (Western/Allopathic Medicine says the etiology is unknown…we say differently) is the same in everyone who is diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This is flat-out wrong. My 21 years experience as an Acupuncturist successfully treating people diagnosed with fibromyalgia has proven that to me, as well as the people I’ve helped.
Let’s simplify this by saying that pain occurs when there is a lack of movement. Another way of saying this is that there is a lack of flow of toxicity out of an area and/or a lack of oxygen and nutrients to said area. The key is identifying what is causing said blockage. In the case of so many with Fibromyalgia, it is a metabolic issue (the process of breaking things down, transporting nutrients to needed areas and getting rid of subsequent waste from the production of energy and rebuilding cells/tissues/fluids in the body). By identifying what substances are insulting to that person’s system and removing them, and/or by discovering what nutrients are deficient and by adding them to the diet, results are produced. There are adjunctive therapies that are often needed to help promote movement and retraining of tissue; massage, exercise/kinesiology, counseling and more.
The answer is not in a pharmaceutical. The answer to true healing; to not having to live with the disease, anymore, is to identify and treat the underlying roots and those roots lie in behaviors/thoughts that the Patient is either doing, doing too much of, or not doing, or not doing enough of.
Acupuncture helps alleviate the stasis or “stuck energy and/or fluids” that cause pain via a few different ways: 1) release of endorphins which help relax the nervous, soft and connective tissue. 2) direct release of a muscle via distraction and/or fatiguing an over-active firing of said muscle which releases the muscle tension allowing flow of normal impulses and nutrient flow in and out of the tissue. 3) Facilitating optimal communication between the CNS (central nervous system) and the PNS (peripheral nervous system) or simpler put, getting your brain to talk properly with the organs, glands and tissues in your body.
By helping a Patient relax and focus on behaviors/thoughts that will address the problem, said problem can be put behind that Patient, assuming they are willing to do the work. The modern day Physician has erred greatly by taking the power and responsibility away from the Patient. Health is not found in a Pharmaceutical (yes, they are necessary, at times, as are a number of other intermediary options that help in the healing or comforting process). Please consider this when choosing where you go for answers, especially when dealing with a chronic health issue.