What is fatigue?
We are all familiar with the feeling of fatigue after exercise or a long period of concentration. Sometimes, however, fatigue can be felt in a way that does not seem normal. Despite resting, and a good night’s sleep, fatigue occurs after minimal effort, is prolonged and limits your usual activity. It can leave people feeling dull and finding it difficult to concentrate and recall memories.
Fatigue is very common after viral infections, such as COVID and normally it settles after 2 or 3 weeks. However, in some people it can linger for weeks or months.
What makes post COVID fatigue last a long time?
In some people, different things contribute to the fatigue and make it last a long time. Low levels of physical activity, a disturbed daily routine, poor sleep patterns, demanding work, caring responsibilities, low mood, anxiety and stress can all make fatigue worse.
When need I treatment?
- Your fatigue is getting worse rather than better.
- After 4 weeks your fatigue is unchanged.
- You are worried or have other new symptoms.
Can acupuncture help to relieve fatigue?
The most fundamental concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that of “Qi,” the life force energy that flows through the body. According to TCM, fatigue is related to the quantity and quality of Qi a person is able to maintain. Qi deficiency, then, is the primary cause of fatigue. Acupuncture is effective treatment to increase “Qi” and relieve fatigue.
One formal study showed significant improvement in both physical and mental fatigue among participants who received daily acupuncture over the course of ten days.
Another study of chronic fatigue patients who were given acupuncture as a complement to conventional treatment showed greater improvement over patients who did not receive acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which help improve sleep and mood. This means it can be an effective treatment for fatigue and depression, without the side effects and dependence that are often caused by SSRIs (antidepressants that work on serotonin levels in the brain).
Chinese herbs are used in customized combinations to address imbalances in the organ systems. TCM herbal remedies are an integral part of treatment for chronic fatigue, and should be combined with your acupuncturist’s nutritional recommendations to nourish Qi and reverse fatigue.