Patient Help Sheet: Fatigue
As the days get shorter, it is common to feel your overall energy level decrease. This is a natural response, but if it starts negatively affecting your days, there may be an energy imbalance contributing to your tiredness. Here is a patient help sheet for fatigue.
To treat fatigue, traditional Chinese medicine uses several modalities, including acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal formulas and nutrition. To determine the right treatment, a diagnosis must be made first. Diagnosing in TCM is quite different from conventional medicine. TCM looks at the patient holistically, considering all aspects, including the mind, the body and the environment of the person.
Acupuncture for Fatigue:
Acupuncture is used to balance the energy within the body. Specifically, acupuncture is used to remove excess that may be creating blockages and to improve blood circulation and oxygenation to the cells, all of which can be contributing factors to fatigue. Studies show acupuncture also increases serotonin levels, which help with sleep. Acupuncture improves mood, lessens pain and boosts the immune system, all of which are factors that can affect a person’s energy levels.
Acupuncture Points for Fatigue:
· Yin Tang – Yin Tang is located directly between the inner edges of the eyebrows. It is a reflex point of the pituitary gland. Yin Tang calms the mind and relaxes the body by helping control hormone secretions, which can aid in more peaceful sleep.
· Kidney 1 – Kidney 1 is located on the bottom of the foot, at the junction of the anterior one third and posterior two thirds of the line connecting the base of the second and third toes and the heel. Kidney 1 can sedate and calm the mind, while also regulating blood flow throughout the body.
· Stomach 36 – This point is located bilaterally on the outer side of the lower leg, about 4 finger-widths from the lower border of the patella or kneecap. This point is considered an overall energy and immune-boosting point.
Chinese Herbs for Fatigue:
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is often prescribed for fatigue. This formula is particularly helpful at increasing energy within the kidney and liver energetic pathways. Another popular formula for fatigue is Si Jun Zi Tang. This formula helps increase energy by clearing out excess phlegm and dampness in the body.
Nutrition for Fatigue:
When it comes to fatigue, nutrition for the spleen, liver and kidneys is particularly crucial. The kidneys are the source of our vital essence. The liver and spleen help produce blood and vital energy that sustains the body. Foods like black beans, kidney beans, asparagus, plums, blueberries and blackberries are all beneficial for strengthening the kidneys. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are good for building blood and energy via the liver and spleen. Sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, quinoa and oats are all good for tonifying the spleen. Also, healthy oils and fats such as avocado, salmon and coconut oil can be very beneficial.