Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice that has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of illnesses. Many people with fibromyalgia have utilized acupuncture to relieve pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Acupuncture is not a cure for fibromyalgia.
What does it involve?
During an acupuncture treatment, you will lie still on a table. A trained acupuncturist or TCM practitioner will insert a number of fine needles into the skin or connective tissue just beneath the skin. The needles are left in the skin for up to 30 minutes. Different regions of the skin are targeted during acupuncture depending on the condition being treated. The practitioner may gently twist or move the needles. Heat or electricity may be applied to the needles. Acupuncture is usually painless.
In TCM, acupuncture is believed to work by balancing and correcting the flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”), throughout the body. Some Western researchers have proposed that acupuncture works by stimulating nerves and increasing blood flow.
The goal of acupuncture as a treatment for fibromyalgia is to reduce pain, stiffness, fatigue, and anxiety and help you feel your best.
The results of studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture for fibromyalgia are mixed and inconclusive. Some studies have found that real acupuncture is more effective for fibromyalgia than sham acupuncture. However, other studies found that sham acupuncture was equally as effective as real acupuncture.
One 2006 study of 50 people with fibromyalgia found that real acupuncture significantly improved fibromyalgia symptoms, especially fatigue and anxiety, compared with those who received sham acupuncture.
More research is needed to determine the potential benefits of acupuncture for people with fibromyalgia.
Some insurers will cover acupuncture, but others may not. Out-of-pocket costs for acupuncture may be expensive.
Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find or travel to an acupuncture provider.