How Chinese Medicine Understands Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Are you pouring that third cup of coffee wondering why you’re still tired? Even after getting a good nights rest several nights in row, you can’t seem to stop yawning.

While napping may give you a boost in energy there could be something else to consider. According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million US Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, but most of them have not been diagnosed (published in 2015).

What is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder with symptoms of extreme fatigue, tiredness, or lack of energy that just won’t go away even with a full-nights rest.

One of the most common patient complains in an acupuncture clinic is feeling fatigue. In western or conventional medicine generally it can’t be explained or understood through any underlying medical conditions.

How does Chinese medicine understand CFS?

Chinese medicine has been treating these kinds of fatigue complaints for about 2000 years and it’s for this reason Chinese medicine continues to provide effective treatment.

In Chinese medicine, fatigue is categorized as either Excess or Deficient.

If Excess fatigue is in the body then either too much water (fluid retention or edema) or too much heat (inflammation) is present. This can also be seen as restriction or stagnation of blood. Your acupuncturist will recommend Chinese herbal medicine and a series of acupuncture sessions to clear out the blood and reduce fatigue.

If there’s actually a Deficiency there are several organ categories to be familiar with:

  • Deficiency of lung 
  • Deficiency of heart 
  • Deficiency of liver
  • Deficiency of kidney

Watch the video below to listen to Robert Doane, Founder of Acupuncture and Wellness Center, explain the details of each organ.

How can your acupuncturist determine you type of fatigue?

A well trained acupuncturist will feel your radial pulse. The radial pulse very clearly delineates if it’s in Excess or Deficient fatigue. For example, if the pulse is strong and pounding – it’s an Excess.  If the pulse is thin and weak, it’s a Deficiency pattern.

What type of herbal medicine is provided?

Treating chronic Deficiencies with Traditional Chinese Medicine usually involves the use of two herbs. The first is Astragalus (Huang Qi). This herb has been shown to improve the immune system by stimulating T-cell growth and activity. The second is Ginseng which has been used for thousands of years to strengthen the overall functioning of the physiology.


Treating chronic Excess conditions with Traditional Chinese Medicine involves the use of heat (inflammation) clearing herbs such as: Dandelion (Pu gong ying), Goldenseal (Bai mao liang), Hawthorn (Shan Zha), Red Clover (Hsan Tsao), and Chasteberry (Man Jing Zi).

Turn your burnout around

If you answered yes to the first question, then give acupuncture a try! Begin to re-energize your life to live a healthier and more fulfilled life. Check out what our past clients have said and reach out to us when you’re ready!



Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

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