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Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. There is also fatigue, along with tender areas in the body where slight pressure causes intense pain. Many people who have fibromyalgia also find it difficult to sleep, which makes the fatigue and pain worse, as the body is unable to recover at night. Fibromyalgia was once diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), but it is now known that these diseases have different diagnoses.
Fibromyalgia affects one in 50 Americans, and occurs more frequently in women than in men (according to the American College of Rheumatology). I recently spoke to a friend who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia several years ago. She told me that reflexology was the best thing she had tried so far, but since her insurance wasn't going to cover it anymore, she wanted to look into acupuncture. Her question for me was: "what can acupuncture do for me, and is it going to hurt more that I already do?"
Acupuncture is a great treatment for individuals with fibromyalgia. Practitioners are able to access the painful areas in the body without having to needle the place where there is pain. We are able to manage pain by using points in the wrist and hand, ankles and feet. There are points we can use in the scalp to help with pain management and auricular acupressure. I often incorporate some Shiatsu massage techniques into my treatments to help with the pain and even reiki can help gently move and balance the energy of the body.