Fibromyalgia is a relatively uncommon health condition, so there’s no need to worry excessively. Approximately 2 out of every 100 adults suffer from fibromyalgia, with women being more affected than men. In fact, the ratio of women to men with fibromyalgia is 9 to 1.
Moreover, if you are a woman over the age of 50, you are more prone to developing fibromyalgia. Among women aged 70 to 79, about 7.4% experience symptoms of fibromyalgia. These symptoms typically involve widespread pain that affects both sides of the body, persistent fatigue, and difficulties with concentration. Additionally, it is common for individuals with fibromyalgia to experience symptoms such as anxiety, migraines, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.
To determine if you indeed have fibromyalgia, a visit to the hospital for diagnosis is necessary. In the meantime, this article will outline the acupuncture treatment points recommended by my friend’s doctor for alleviating fibromyalgia pain.
Is acupuncture effective for fibromyalgia?
Given that fibromyalgia is primarily characterized by pain, acupuncture has demonstrated its effectiveness in providing relief. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory suggests that when there is a stagnation of energy flow (Qi), it leads to a stagnation of blood, resulting in pain. Acupuncture and cupping therapy work by regulating Qi and blood, as well as dispelling cold and eliminating dampness. This approach helps to relieve pain and enhance overall functioning.
Furthermore, a recent study supports the idea that acupuncture can be beneficial for fibromyalgia pain management. It revealed that a significant percentage of fibromyalgia patients (ranging from 66 to 99 percent) complement their medication treatments with adjunct therapies like acupuncture or massage.
Is acupuncture effective in treating fibromyalgia pain?
There is limited research supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture in alleviating fibromyalgia pain. However, over time, acupuncture has demonstrated its effectiveness in treating various types of chronic pain, prompting many individuals with fibromyalgia to give it a try.
It’s important to understand that fibromyalgia pain is challenging to treat. Therefore, you will need a combination of therapies, including acupuncture and cupping, to significantly reduce symptoms.
A recent study reviewing sixteen trials revealed that when acupuncture and cupping were combined instead of acupuncture alone or traditional medicine, better relief from fibromyalgia pain was achieved.
Can acupuncture worsen fibromyalgia pain?
Acupuncture does not lead to a worsening of fibromyalgia pain. Several studies indicate that acupuncture is a safe treatment option for fibromyalgia pain. However, there is very limited research supporting acupuncture as a treatment for fibromyalgia pain.
Alternative placebo interventions are utilized to address pain, improve sleep quality, reduce fatigue, and promote overall well-being. Emerging research supports acupuncture as a more effective adjunct to traditional medications and exercise for managing fibromyalgia pain compared to relying solely on medications and exercise.
In addition to its application in fibromyalgia treatment, acupuncture has demonstrated effectiveness in relieving various symptoms associated with fibromyalgia pain. Its therapeutic effects encompass pain reduction, enhancement of sleep patterns, and alleviation of anxiety and depression.
What are the acupressure points for fibromyalgia?
To gain a deeper understanding of the specific acupressure points for fibromyalgia pain, it is important to grasp the principles upheld by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) regarding the underlying causes of fibromyalgia. According to TCM, fibromyalgia pain stems from stagnation of liver Qi energy, deficiency in Qi and blood, stagnation of Qi and blood, or kidney deficiency. For certain individuals with fibromyalgia pain, one or more of these factors contribute to the onset of their condition.
Furthermore, fibromyalgia pain tends to manifest along the meridians of the large intestine, small intestine, stomach, gallbladder, spleen, bladder, and liver. As a result, acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia targets specific points along these meridians.
Here are some acupuncture points that are beneficial for relieving fibromyalgia pain:
- DU20, also known as Baihui in Chinese or “Hundred Meetings” in English, is an acupuncture point located on the Governing Vessel. Stimulating this point can help alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia pain. It is situated on the head, approximately 5.0 cun from the midpoint of your hairline. To locate it easily, you can trace a line from your earlobe to the center of your head.
This particular acupuncture point is effective in treating various conditions such as dizziness, insomnia, coma, and aphasia. If you are looking to promote height growth in children, GV-20 is one of the acupuncture points used to stimulate growth.
Gallbladder 20, also known as Fengchi in Chinese or “Wind Pool” in English, is an acupuncture treatment point in the Gallbladder meridian and is effective in alleviating symptoms of fibromyalgia pain. It is located on the sides of the back of the neck. You can easily locate it by tracing your finger from the ear bone to the groove where the neck muscles meet the skull.
Stimulating this Gallbladder meridian point will help relieve cold symptoms, alleviate nasal congestion, and relieve any pain in your neck. Gallbladder 20 is also one of the acupressure points for the eyes if you have strained your eyes too much.
Acupuncture Point: Gallbladder 21
Jianjing or Shoulder Well is another acupuncture point in the Gallbladder meridian that helps with fibromyalgia pain. It is located on the back part of your shoulder. It is the midpoint between the shoulder tip and the midline.
Applying downward pressure to massage this acupuncture point for five seconds will result in less dizziness and relief from neck pain. Additionally, Gallbladder 21 is effective in improving breastfeeding, alleviating headaches, and easing labor difficulties. If you are an office worker, you should also be aware of the benefits of acupuncture point DU 16.
Small Intestine 11
Small Intestine 11 is an acupuncture point in the Small Intestine meridian that serves as one of the pressure points for relieving fibromyalgia pain. In Chinese, it is referred to as Tianzong, which translates to Heavenly Gathering in English. This acupuncture treatment point is located on the back, in the middle of your shoulder, at the level of the fourth thoracic vertebra.
Stimulating this acupuncture point relaxes pain, opens the chest, and enhances breast benefits. For this reason, SI-11 is clinically used to treat arm and shoulder pain, suppress asthma, and is also one of the acupuncture points in reflexology for sweating disorders.
Colon 11 is one of the acupuncture treatment points in the Large Intestine meridian for fibromyalgia pain. It is known as Quchi in Chinese, which translates to “Pool at the Crook” in English. To locate this acupuncture point, bend your arm and the point at the end of the crease formed on the outer part of the bent elbow is LI-11.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Quchi is considered a He-Sea point in the Large Intestine meridian, which means it is highly suitable for clearing heat from the meridian, cooling the blood, and dispelling external heat. Clinically, LI-11 is used to relieve fever, sore throat, menstrual irregularities, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. If you frequently play tennis, you should also consider using acupuncture and the tennis elbow point.
Another acupuncture point in the Large Intestine meridian that should be used for alleviating fibromyalgia pain is LI-10. It is called Shousanli in Chinese and Arm Three Miles in English. You will find this acupuncture point on the outer part of your forearm, at the point where the third finger rests when you bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle and place three fingers below the elbow crease.
LI-10 helps regulate blood and Qi as well as relieve pain, which is why it is one of the acupuncture treatment points for neck pain. It is also effective in treating abdominal pain, paralysis in the upper body parts, and diarrhea. Research shows that combining LI-10 with ST-36, when stimulated together, ensures regular electrical activity of the stomach.
Acupoint 4 LI- or Hegu is another acupuncture point in the Large Intestine meridian for alleviating fibromyalgia pain. You will find 4 LI- on the muscle that bulges when you press your thumb and index finger together.
Being classified as a Yuan-source point in the Large Intestine meridian, 4 LI- is effective in treating head and facial disorders. It can easily address issues such as body pain, facial swelling, toothache, and neck pain by stimulating LI-4. It is also useful for detoxification if desired, using acupuncture point 5 Sp.
Acupuncture Point: 6 PC- Neiguan, also known as Inner Gate or 6 PC-, is an acupuncture point for fibromyalgia pain on the wrist. You can find it by directing the palm of your hand upwards and placing three fingers on your arm above the wrist crease. The point between the tendons where the third finger (index finger) rests is 6 PC-. Once located, massage the point by applying downward pressure for five seconds.
6 PC- is one of the three Heart pressure points. It is also clinically used to treat chest congestion, chest pain, epilepsy, palpitations, cough, and stroke. According to several research studies, 6 PC- relieves nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
Shenmen, or Spirit Gate, is a highly important heart acupuncture point. You can find it at the wrist crease, parallel to the base of the little finger.
According to TCM, Shenmen is classified as a Yuan-source point of the Heart meridian. This makes it function as a regulator of heart blood and a calming point for the mind. For this reason, 7 HT- is considered suitable for treating insomnia, heart pain, chest pain, and epilepsy. 7 HT- is also one of the acupuncture treatment points for hot flashes.
San Jiao 3
Zhong Zhu, or Central Islet, is an acupuncture point in the Triple Burner meridian and is effective in managing fibromyalgia pain. You will find this acupuncture point on the backside of your finger joint, in the groove formed by the tendons of your fourth and fifth fingers.
In addition to relieving fibromyalgia pain symptoms, 3 TE- is also clinically used to treat headaches, upper back pain, and shoulder pain. It is one of the acupuncture treatment points for trigger finger. According to current research, when stimulating 3 TE-, it activates the anterior, middle, and posterior hypothalamic areas.
Known as Xuehai in Chinese, it is one of the acupuncture points in the Spleen meridian that helps in treating fibromyalgia pain. To locate 10 SP-, bend your knee at a ninety-degree angle and pinpoint the point that is 2.5 cun away from the knee cap on the inner side of your thigh.
Stimulating 10 SP- increases blood circulation in the body. It also cools your blood, regulates the menstrual cycle, and improves your skin condition. For this reason, 10 SP- is clinically used to treat eczema, irregular menstruation, uterine bleeding, and acne. 10 SP- in conjunction with acupuncture point 13 LV will help resolve many digestive system problems.
Stomach 32 is one of the acupuncture points along the stomach meridian that requires knowing if you are suffering from myofascial pain. It is referred to as Futu in Chinese, which translates to “Resting Rabbit” in English. The acupuncture point is located on the outer part of the thigh, 6 cun above the knee cap.
When you stimulate Futu, it helps remove obstructions along the stomach meridian and relieves pain. That’s why this acupuncture point is clinically used to treat paralysis in the lower body, lower back pain, and knee pain.
Stomach 36 is another acupuncture point for applying pressure on the stomach channel for people suffering from myofascial pain. The acupuncture point, known as 36 ST, is located below the knee cap, precisely four fingers below the knee at the border of the leg bone.
In traditional Chinese medicine, 36 ST is classified as the He-Sea point of the stomach channel, meaning it is the appropriate acupuncture point for treating Qi disorders in the channel. Clinically, stimulating 36 ST can relieve stomach pain, treat abdominal bloating, and help manage asthma. It is also an acupuncture point used for alleviating allergies.
Spleen 6, known as Sanyinjiao in Chinese, can be located by placing four fingers above your ankle, where your little toe rests. The point around your fourth finger (index finger) is 6SP-.
Due to the classification of 6SP- as a point where the spleen, kidney, and liver intersect, it strengthens the spleen, stomach, and brings balance to the liver. Therefore, it is effective in treating abdominal bloating, muscle pain, dizziness, and edema. It is also one of the acupuncture points in the legs for fertility.
Spleen 9 is another acupuncture point along the spleen channel for treating myofascial pain. It is called Yinlingquan in Chinese, which translates to “Yin Mound Spring” in English. To locate this acupuncture point, dig your thumb into the depression above the edge of your shinbone. This depression is 9SP-.
Clinically, 9SP- is one of the acupuncture points for knee pain. It is also effective in treating urinary problems, edema, and abdominal bloating.
Gallbladder 34 is the third acupuncture point along the gallbladder channel that helps in treating myofascial pain symptoms. It is called Yanglingquan in Chinese and can be found on the lower side of your leg, in the depression preceding the head of the fibula or tibia. It is the meeting point of tendons.
For this reason, 34 GB- is essential for strengthening tendons and joints, making it one of the acupuncture points for hip pain. So when you feel weak and experience pain in the lower part of your body or have a desire to vomit, massage 34 GB-.
Weizhong, also known as Supporting, is the acupuncture point along the bladder meridian that helps with fibromyalgia. You can find this acupuncture point in the middle part of the back of your knee.
Bladder 40 BL- is classified as the He-Sea point of the urinary bladder. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is beneficial for treating problems such as lower back pain, abdominal pain, skin rashes, and itching. You can also learn how to open the Divergent Meridian using 40 BL-.
Liver 3, also known as Taichong in Chinese and Great Surge in English, is an acupuncture point along the liver meridian for treating myofascial pain. You can find Liver 3Liv- in the upper part of your foot, two fingers’ width from the intersection of your big toe and the next toe.
When you feel dizzy, experience swelling in your eyes, or have irregular menstrual cycles, Liver 3Liv- is the acupuncture point that should be stimulated. This acupuncture point is also one of the points for treating disorders of the auditory channel, specifically the Eustachian Tube.
According to recent research, when you massage Liver 3Liv- along with some other acupuncture points, it can help manage post-stroke depression.
Original article: https://tcmtips.com/18-proven-acupressure-points-for-fibromyalgia-pain-relief/
1) Basic points C7, T1, L2, S2
2) Top head and Bach of the head
3) One session
4) Counseling will help