Treating chronic Fatigue Syndrome

downloadChronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by severe disabling fatigue, accompanied by four of more of the following symptoms: unrefreshing sleep, exertional malaise, impaired concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, headaches and musculoskeletal pain.

The cause is not fully understood but there are various hypotheses including immunological, endocrine and viral illness. CBT and graded exercise programmes are the more common treatment approaches.

For clients who may want to avoid the use of medication, taking a proactive approach to making certain lifestyle changes combined with the use of medical acupuncture can be very effective. When treating this type of condition, trust, empathy and compassion are important in determining treatment outcomes.

The evidence for the use of acupuncture seems to be positive albeit based on studies of lower quality. When treating chronic fatigue syndrome, clinically I have achieved best results when combining 8-10 sessions of acupuncture treatment with dietary, exercise, sleep and stress management interventions.

By Simon.


1.Brurberg K et al. Exercise therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome. Cochrane database Syst Rev.2017 Apr;2017(4)

2. Chen XH et al. Randomized controlled study on acupuncture treatment for chronic fatigue. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu.2010 Jul;30 (7):533-6

3.Jung-Eun K et al. Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic fatigue: a multicentre, nonblinded randomized controlled trial.Published online 2015 Jul 26.doi:10.1186/s13963-015-0857-)

3. Hongdao et al. Cost effectiveness of chronic fatigue self-management versus usual care: a pilot randomized controlled trial. BMC Fam Pract.2014;15:184

4.Wang T et al. A systematic review of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome in China. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 2008; 36:1-24

5.Wang JJ et al. A randomized controlled study on influence of acupuncture for quality of life of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2009a; 29:780-4

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