Acupuncture Soothed My Fibromyalgia Symptoms


  This article was originally published by FibromyalgiaNewsToday.com.

I was a little skeptical about acupuncture. I’m not a fan of needles and I didn’t have a lot of faith in the process. I thought it odd. How could treating a person like a human pin cushion do any good?

This ancient Chinese therapy is based on the premise that all living creatures have an energy known as chi, or qi, that flows through their bodies. The chi circulates through 12 meridians, which are associated with different organ systems. Acupuncture is supposed to restore the balance of flow of your chi. It is believed that when the chi is disrupted, disease begins.

Fibromyalgia is just one of many conditions that is often treated with acupuncture. Asthma, insomnia, addictions, depression and headaches are just a few of the many ailments that may benefit from the complimentary use of acupuncture.

My first appointment started with routine questions regarding my general health, as well as what I was hoping to achieve. The acupuncturist was very familiar with fibromyalgia and he was confident that I would get relief from my symptoms. He thought I needed two treatments per week for a few months, and after that hopefully we would be able to reduce the visits to once a week. Eventually the plan was a treatment every few months to maintain the flow of my chi.

I didn’t mind going so often, but frequent acupuncture appointments can be a little expensive. Some health insurance plans cover acupuncture providers, but you still have a copay. That can get a little spendy over time, especially with frequent treatments. Make sure to check with your health insurance provider about your acupuncture coverage. There may be a limit to how many many appointments you can have. Some cap it at 12 visits per calendar year. Some plans also have deductibles on certain treatments that are different from your plan deductible. My plan deductible is $3,000, but for acupuncture, there is a different deductible of $1,000 for in-network providers and $2,000 if out-of-network. I must reach this amount before the plan will cover any treatments. There also may be a cap on the amount they will pay for coverage. Usually the amount is fairly small, like $500 per calendar year for my plan. It is important to do your homework before you start any treatment plan.

I had no idea what to expect when it came to treatment itself. I didn’t have to get undressed, but I did have to expose my stomach by pulling up my shirt a little. You may have to change into a robe depending on where they need to place the needles. The doctor proceeded to place what seemed like a large number of needles into my legs, feet, forehead, arms and stomach. The needles did not hurt, but I felt a little squeamish when the acupuncturist got to my head. But again, no discomfort at all. Just a strange sensation but no pain. After he was done placing the needles, he turned the lights down, turned on some very soothing oriental music, and left me alone for about 30 minutes.

When he came back in he woke me up. I was so relaxed I actually fell asleep! I felt slightly embarrassed as I have been known to snore on occasion. The doctor removed the needles and asked me how I felt. I was tingly all over. That was my chi, he explained. I was told not to shower or have anything cold to drink the rest of the day. Apparently that can disrupt your chi.

After just one treatment, I noticed my night sweats and hot flashes were less severe. My headaches weren’t as severe. I continued to have acupuncture treatments for six months. Eventually the cost became an issue when my insurance company increased my copay. I had to discontinue the treatment plan, although I hope to restart treatments soon.

Overall, acupuncture was beneficial in helping me manage some of my fibromyalgia symptoms and helped soothe my chronic pain. I am glad I overcame my fear of needles and gave it a try.

Learn more about Acupuncture in Toronto