Fibromyalgia – a term that strikes fear in the hearts of those who are familiar with this disorder, partly due to the fact that it can be extremely painful and because it can be a very difficult issue to effectively treat.
At this time there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, so treating the symptoms of pain is important. At times the person suffering from fibromyalgia finds that it just appears. It begins without even being triggered by a specific event or trauma. Other times it begins after some form of physical trauma, infection or stressful events in one’s life. Fibromyalgia is most commonly found in women, although there are some men who suffer from this disorder.
What Are Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia affects the patient by causing widespread muscular-skeletal pain and overall fatigue or malaise. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia and other illnesses and disorders that develop as a result of fibromyalgia may include:
- Widespread pain within the muscles and joints of the human body
- Loss of sleep
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Temporomandibular Joint disorder (TMJ)
Complementary and Alternative Medical Treatments for Fibromyalgia
There are many forms of alternative medicine that may help to relieve the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia. At this time there is no known cure for this disorder, but exercise combined with stress reduction techniques and relaxation may help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Some complimentary and alternative treatments include:
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
- Therapeutic Touch
- Massage Therapy
- Tapping Therapy
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
- Chakra Healing
- Yoga, QiGong and Tai Chi Practices
- Vibration Therapy (Sports Medicine Form)
How would these alternatives help with fibromyalgia?
Some of the techniques above such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch (TT) or Chakra Healing, are holistic practices that work within the human energy field to balance the natural flow of our bodies’ energy, referred to as Chi, Ki, or Qi (and pronounced Key or Chee).
These practices involve the practitioner transferring energy to the patient in order to improve the overall flow of the energy around and within the patient. When energy is stagnant or blocked and does not flow properly, the afflicted person may develop physical symptoms such as those associated with fibromyalgia. Correcting the flow of energy causes the person to relax and, as a result, physical pain is often decreased.
Other methods of balancing the energy fields such as Yoga, QiGong, and Tai Chi, are slow moving practices that allow for the body to receive the benefits of movement while aligning their personal energy fields. While strengthening and stretching the muscles and connective tissues, these practices are meditative in nature and result in lowering blood pressure and slowing the mind’s thought processes.
Developing a way to calm the mind and strengthen the body simultaneously can be an effective treatment. These techniques may be learned and practiced by attending a teacher led class, at home video, or cultivating the practice and doing it from the heart.
Meditation is a powerful mind relaxation tool that slows the heart rate and can allow the person to fall into a deep and relaxed state. The brain is a powerful tool in helping humans relax and therefore decrease what is perceived as pain.
Dwelling on pain often has a greater negative impact than when the mind is clear and allows for positive thoughts and affirmations to settle in while relaxed. Many fibromyalgia sufferers are not accustomed to having to live with unresolved pain, and they expect the perfectionist within should be able to overcome this disorder.
Learning to relax and allow their heart rates and blood pressure levels to lower tend to respond better overall. Meditation can help with that.
Massage Therapy is not only effective at achieving relaxed states; this very old practice also helps release stress filled muscles. Stress and anxiety are lessened and joints and muscles see increased range of motion. Releasing these muscles and joints causes the sufferer to feel relief, which again helps to relax. Relaxed beings are healthier people in general.
Acupuncture, an ancient form of Chinese medicine, causes a change in the blood flow as well as in the Qi. While the fibromyalgia sufferer rests on a massage table the acupuncturist inserts needles where needed to help release the painful sensations.
An Acupuncture treatment is safe and very hygienic. Sterilized needles are used, and side effects are limited. The tiny needles used are not painful although if discomfort is felt, the patient should tell their practitioner immediately. An acupuncturist may also help by suggesting herbs and supplements to balance the digestive and circulatory tracts and other internal organs.
Vibration Therapy has been shown to treat the pain and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia. Please note the type of vibration therapy we are discussing here is the one for sports medicine and is performed on specialized machines. We are not talking about vibration therapy done with Tibetan Singing Bowls, though this type of therapy can be used in conjunction with a Reiki massage, as discussed earlier. Check out this video on vibration therapy and fibromyalgia:
Western Medicine and Energy Healing for Fibromyalgia
The Mayo Clinic has studied the effects of alternative and complimentary treatments for fibromyalgia and has recommended that the person suffering from this disorder may find relief through the use of one or more of the techniques.
“Mind-body techniques strengthen the communication between your mind and your body. Complementary and alternative medicine practitioners say these two systems must be in harmony for you to stay healthy. Examples of mind-body connection techniques include meditation, prayer, and relaxation and art therapies.” ~ MayoClinic.com
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you may want to try any or all of the alternative practices mentioned here to find what works best for you. Different people react differently to treatments.
It may be that for one person, prescription medications combined with yoga works for them. For another, acupuncture and massage gives the most benefit. For someone else, Reiki and simple exercise combined with anti-inflammatory medication gives them the best relief from pain. Others may find a vibration therapy machine is their answer. The important thing is to find what works for you to relieve your symptoms of this painful and agonizing disorder.