Fibromyalgia and Tai Chi by Sara Packard
Fibromyalgia and Tai Chi by Sara Packard
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a chronic pain and fatigue condition that affects up to 1 out of 25 people. Mostly women but can affect men too. The most common symptoms are:
Pain, IBS, Brain Fog…which means not being able to focus on things
Tremors, spasms, Chronic Fatigue, Headaches, Depression
In Western Medicine FMS can be caused by some of the following: a car accident, viral infection, a stressful event or sometimes nothing at all. Within the body low levels of dopamine, serotonin and noadrenalin can be the problem (Harris) and also glutamate levels can increase but unfortunately blood tests cannot confirm whether you have FMS. It is closely linked to the rheumatoid family which means that particular diagnosing needs to take place to identify the difference. Some people can go many years without knowing that they have FMS and therefore can be a struggle both mentally and physically.
In Chinese Medicine FMS is treated with acupuncture. A consultation takes place with each client taking their case history into account, understanding what events have brought them to where they are, tongue diagnosis and pulse taking. From the diagnosis determines where the needles are placed. However, one thing that is common for all clients with FMS is that they have a problem with their QI.
What is Qi?
Qi is the vital force within the body and one of 4 vital substances. The others are: blood, essence, body fluids and mind.
The functions of Qi are:
Transforming, Transporting, Holding, Raising, Protecting and Warming.
Transforming: of food and fluids
Transporting: example: moving fluids to the skin to keep moist.
Holding: keeping fluid and blood in place
Raising: holding body structures in place.
Protecting: from an invasion of external pathogens.
Warming: the body and also helping warming
Qi can be depleted from many things but here are a few examples: posture, stress, shock, dietary lifestyle, over work, exercise, ill health and many, many more. If Qi is low we are cold, tired, have loose stools and can be breathless. If Qi is blocked and doesn’t move anywhere it then becomes stagnant. This could show as pain and it moves around and changes location. And because Qi affects organs and other substances they too will show problems. Blood stagnation can occur which will feel like a stabbing pain that is also in a fixed position. Depression can occur, if Qi cannot move it affects the mind. If you are a FMS sufferer this all may sound just like you.
So what can you do?
You have to get your Qi moving. Two great things for this:
If you are not aware already, every Tuesday I run a Fibromyalgia acupuncture clinic here at Redbridge sports and Leisure. Earlier this year I wrote a dissertation on “can acupuncture help Fibromayglia pain” and found out that yes it can. So with this information I have created a 12 week program to help your condition improve. It’s at a discounted price to allow you to commit. So please get in touch if you are interested. Want to read more, then please go the the website for more details.
Tai Chi has been around since the 13th century. It’s a form of internal martial arts with slow, gentle free-flowing movements in a meditational way.
Focusing on energising and moving your Qi around the body it has many health benefits and a very popular choice for elderly to do to help keep the body and mind supple. There are different types of Tai Chi and trials have been done to show the impact of health. One in particular “a randomized controlled trial of tai chi for fibromyalgia” by Wang showed that 66 patients took part in a 12-week program and 33 had “clinical important improvements”.
With FMS sometimes the simplest movement can be painful and normal activities difficult. I would very much encourage someone with FMS or be suffering from a chronic condition, arthritis, joint problems, and depression to try this. It’s a class that will require your full focus and without realising helping yourself at the same time. With this in mind, I am very pleased to say that Redbridge sports and leisure have placed Tai Chi on their timetable. You can attend this class every Monday evening at 7.30pm. This is great news and I hope anyone that can identify with this blog attends.
Pain is something that can affect us all at some point in our lives. There are two options above that can help you with this. Yes, you can take painkillers etc but these are natural ways to help the body reheal. Why not give them a go and see for yourself.
Sara Packard Dip.Ac, Dip, Na, Dip.sp, MBAcC, MSMA
Acupuncturist, Fascial Manipulation Therapy, Sports Massage & Naturopath.