For all those who have already had some contact with any of the branches covered by Chinese Medicine, you will know that it is not only a tool to heal, but also to teach the patient why they have become ill, and how, through small changes in your lifestyle and with natural and harmless treatments, you can prevent them.
We consider the human body as a microcosm that must vibrate in harmony with the macrocosm where we live. Any disharmony and energy imbalance will lead to illness. Thus, we start from the fact that Chinese Medicine recognizes the person as an “individual”, that is why, when faced with two people with the same disease, the treatment to be followed will not be the same.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and is usually associated with chronic fatigue. The causes of this disease are unknown, but there are those who attribute its appearance to certain factors such as strong stress situations, viral or bacterial infections, a decrease in serotonin… Some scientists even believe that it is possible to speak of the existence of a genetic factor.
But fibromyalgia is a disease that goes far beyond pain, it involves several disorders that affect the daily life of those who suffer from it, such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, asthenia, irritable bowel,…
The conventional treatment currently offered consists of helping to relieve pain with drugs of various kinds (anti-inflammatories, anxiolytics, antidepressants, muscle relaxants,…).
As we have said, in Chinese Medicine there are no diseases, but rather syndromes which involves symptomatology, and in each syndrome there are many factors to take into account, such as the energy that we inherit from our ancestors, the climatic factors of the area where we live, the diet that we have and the way of leading our life in general.
The physical balance of the organism will depend on the Earth’s ability to transform useful energy and distribute it in a balanced way. Any alteration due to a malfunction of the Earth will reach all the organs, since they will not be nourished, producing a general weakness of the entire organism.
By Earth we mean the following: Earth element comprises the Spleen and the Stomach, because they are responsible for transforming the food we eat into energy and for producing the blood that feeds our cells. The Spleen directly influences the tone and condition of muscle tissue. Weakness in the limbs and muscular atrophy indicates that the energy of the Spleen is weak.
On the other hand, when there is pain we say that there is stagnation. In the case of fibromyalgia there is a stagnation of the of the Liver and Gall Bladder.
From the point of view of Chinese Medicine, the person who presents the symptoms that are associated with this disease are related to the Gallbladder, since for them the Gallbladder is much more than a small sac located under the Liver that stores and concentrates the gallbladder’s bile.
This viscera is like a hinge, it makes any mechanism (door, window…) open and close without difficulty. The Gallbladder is like the gear of the body, which facilitates movements. But that would be if the hinge is in good condition, because the hinges are responsible for providing mobility and elasticity to the body, and if they squeak when opening or closing, they hurt.
The same happens with the body, when the Gallbladder does not perform its functions properly, symptoms such as those associated with fibromyalgia appear. Hence, for the patient, any joint movement that they make, whether in the wrist, hip, shoulder, knee, neck…, is an ordeal.
On the other hand, the Gallbladder secretes bile, necessary to digest and metabolize fats, and collaborates with the lymphatic system to expel the toxic products of metabolism that settle in the muscles, creating pain and muscle fatigue. In Chinese Medicine, the blockage of the Gallbladder causes headache, tension in the neck and shoulders; very easy to observe by pushing with your finger through the course of this meridian: there is pain.
We cannot forget that contact with the outside world generates inner emotions. And each emotion that we generate triggers physiological reactions throughout the body, secretions of various hormones, release of neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, adjustments in breathing… When these emotional reactions are moderate they do not cause any serious damage, but when they become extreme or last over time, when we keep them and try to hide them, they end up becoming entrenched, and that is when they become something harmful to our body. I personally wish emotional intelligence would be taught in the school… as it would avoid so many related future diseases.
Anyway, the emotional stress to which we live subjected, excessive worries, anxiety, fear, feelings of guilt, sadness, together with an irregular diet, fast foods, skipping meals…, all of this leads to an energy deficiency of our organs.
Thus, emotional disorders and metabolic disorders form a vicious cycle of disease that feeds on itself.
In relation to emotions we say that the Gallbladder is linked to courage, daring, it confers the impulse for decisive action. In fact, it is often said that in ancient times the warriors who fought in the front ranks were considered very bilious people. People who have blockages in this meridian have a lack of courage, personal initiative, a touch of shyness or unjustified cowardice, they find it difficult to make decisions and endure changes.
In fibromyalgia we find a stagnation of Liver that attacks the Spleen, weakening it even more. Therefore treatment consists of treating the Spleen Qi void with herbal medicine; draining the Liver and Gall Bladder with acupuncture and treating the pain with electroacupuncture, all combined.
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Photo by Anthony Tran