Richard G. Petty, MD

Acupuncture, Qigong and Fibromyalgia

As we have discussed before fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, so any decent research indicating a new approach is always welcome.

Two recent studies have indicated that acupuncture may be helpful in the treatment of fibromyalgia. In the first, published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 21 patients completed the study, which consisted of 16 treatments in eight weeks. The patients all know that they were getting acupuncture, and there was no attempt to “blind” the study. The investigators used something called the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and found an improvement. One of the problems with the study was that there were so many measurements done in so few people that there’s always a worry that something positive will turn up by chance. This may explain an odd observation: sicker people did better and it didn’t matter how long they had been in treatment.

The second study was a partially blinded, controlled, randomized clinical trial of 25 patients and 25 controls done at the Mayo Clinic. Acupuncture seemed to be more effective in improving pain, fatigue and anxiety, than putting needles at ineffective points.

One of the biggest practical problems is that some people with fibromyalgia are so sensitive that they cannot tolerate even the mild discomfort of acupuncture, which is usually all but painless if done by an expert.

So I was interested to see a small pilot study from the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey, of the use of external qigong in fibromyalgia. A qigong practitioner worked to stimulate the flow of Qi in people with fibromyalgia, on the principle that in traditional Chinese medicine, pain is usually conceived as a blockage of the free flow of Qi. The results were very strongly positive, thought the trial only involved ten people.

Clearly more research is needed, but these preliminary results are all very encouraging.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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