Fatigue and Chinese Medicine

by Nancy Grossman, L.Ac.

Fatigue and Chinese Medicine

Fatigue and Chinese medicine

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be an excellent treatment for fatigue and general malaise. The acupuncturist might first determine the health of the “Spleen,” which, in East Asian medicine, refers more to the process of digestion than to the spleen organ. The Spleen controls how well we take in food and fluids, transform them into substances usable by the body, and transport them throughout the body. A Spleen that is under-functioning can give rise to symptoms of indigestion, bloating, low energy, or sinus congestion, to name a few. Building up the health of the Spleen typically leads to feelings of increased energy along with improved digestion.

The practitioner will also consider lifestyle influences or other concurrent health problems that might contribute to fatigue, such as poor sleep, lack of rest, and diet. A diet high in sugar is depleting to the energy of the Spleen, as is excessive sitting or studying. Clearly, insomnia can lead to fatigue, so, if the fatigue is primarily related to poor sleep, we would also treat the sleep problem. And a lifestyle of being on the go all day long without a break can lead to both poor sleep and fatigue, so we might counsel taking a rest break, even if only for a minute or two, at some point during the work day.

As to general malaise, or “just not feeling quite right,” acupuncture can be very helpful in re-balancing the body’s energy and leading to greater feelings of balance and well-being. As with any health condition, the practitioner will first assess where the body’s energy is imbalanced and then choose a treatment based on restoring the missing balance. Follow-up treatments will reinforce the effect.

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