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The acupuncture can help people with myalgic encephalopathy (ME) or so called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Dr. Emad Tukmachi Clinical Director of ACUMEDICA clinics

What is ME (or CSF)?
It is a long-term debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. The patients with CFS must often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness. In addition to these key defining characteristics, patients report various nonspecific symptoms, including weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, insomnia, and post-exertional fatigue lasting more than
People think about Me or CSF as just tiredness
This type of disease is not regarded as a simple tiredness but a disorder which can be diagnosed if the patient satisfies the following two criteria:

have severe chronic fatigue of 6 months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis; and
concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours. The symptoms must have persisted or recurred during 6 or more consecutive months of illness and must not have predated the fatigue.

What are the main clinical signs and symptoms of ME or CSF?
There are large number of signs and symptoms of this disorder including:
Self-reported impairment in short-term memory or concentration severe enough to cause substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities;
Sore throat;
Tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes;
Muscle pain;
Multi-joint pain without joint swelling or redness;
Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity;
Unrefreshing sleep; and
Postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Within these parameters, an individual with CFS can also exhibit a wide range of other manifestations, such as muscle weakness, swollen underarm (axillary) glands, sleep disturbances, visual difficulties (trouble focusing or severe photosensitivity), orthostatic intolerance (e.g., lightheadedness or increased fatigue with prolonged standing), other neurocognitive problems (e.g., difficulty comprehending and processing information), fainting, dizziness, and mental problems (e.g., secondary depression, irritability, anxiety).

How is the patient diagnosed with ME?

In western medicine ME or CFS is difficult to diagnose. There is no laboratory test or simple clinical marker for CFS. The diagnosis of CFS requires a thorough evaluation by a physician to rule out diseases and conditions with similar symptoms. This evaluation typically requires a medical history and physical examination as well as laboratory tests. Once other diseases are ruled out, the physician can determine whether the person meets the criteria for ME or CFS that are set out in the ME or CFS Case Definition.

What is the benefit of acupuncture in ME or CSF?

According to the Chinese acupuncture theories, the main causes of ME or CFS are  attributed to a breakdown in the immune system as a result of toxicity in the body: 
1 Latent heat: as a main source usually resulted following flu or other viral infection which became dormant in the body for months or even years.
2. heat: a stagnated dampness wondering in the body as a poison (such as infection, inflammation, yellow discharge) generated heat.
3.. blood deficiency or qi deficiency: the strong relationship between blood and Qi is represented by the fact that the Qi is formed from blood. Therefore, any deficiency in blood will automatically lead to Qi deficiency
In treatment of  ME or CFS , we have to treat two types of imbalance in certain internal organs (such as the heart, liver, spleen and kidney):
1. Kidney deficiency and hyperactivity of the liver-Yang: it is caused by deficiency of kidney-yin, hyperactivity of the liver-yng, and a flare-up of the heart fire. The clinical picture is presented as severe palpitation, insomnia, dizziness, tinnitus, red tongue proper and wiry, small, rapid or weak cubit pulse.
2.. Imbalance between Spleen and Liver: this is caused by maladjustment of the liver function and impairment of the spleen due to excessive anxiety. It is clinically characterized by emotional depression, irritability and easy losing temper, tightness and pain in the chest, eructation, discomfort, sense of a throat obstruction and wiry pulse.
In China many clinical research studies have indicated that acupuncture can help to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. In the west, more studies have shown that acupuncture may help ME or CSF as well as other conditions with similar symptoms such as fibromyalgia, depression, headache, and irritable bowel syndrome. The clinical evidence also suggested that acupuncture may enhance the  immune system in patients with such conditions. It may patient with ME or CFS to get a more restful night's sleep, which is often a key factor to turning the condition around. Most
Acupuncturists round the world manage chronic fatigue syndrome and their acupuncture treatment based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. In ME or CFS, a qi deficiency is usually diagnosed in the spleen or kidney meridians, but a deficiency may also be found in the lung or liver meridians.

I you need any further help or to find out more about acupuncture in ME or CSF, please visit us on www.acumedica.co.uk for more details.