Acupuncture for Addressing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Published: August 11, 2012
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In this study, 99 patients were given either real or fake acupuncture twice a week for 4 weeks. Those receiving real acupuncture had a significant improvement in both physical and mental fatigue.


A clinical trial of acupuncture for treating chronic fatigue syndrome in Hong Kong. [Article in Chinese]
Journal: Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2007 Nov;5(6):630-3.
Authors: Yiu YM, Ng SM, Tsui YL, Chan YL.
Affiliation: School of Chinese Medicine, University of Hong Kong, China; E-mail: yoyo@hku.hk.
NLM Citation: PMID: 17997936

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in Hong Kong.

Methods: A single-blinded, randomized controlled trial design was adopted. Participants meeting inclusion criteria were randomly assigned to a treatment and a control group according to 1:1 ratio, resulting in an effective sample size of 99, with 50 and 49 patients in treatment and control group respectively. The same set of acupuncture points, which were selected according to traditional Chinese medicine theories, was applied in both groups, while conventional needle acupuncture was applied in treatment group and sham acupuncture (without skin penetration) was applied in control group. Schedule of treatment was the same in both groups, i.e. twice a week for 4 weeks. Key outcome measures were Chalder's Fatigue Scale, diagnostic criteria for CFS of the US's Centre for Disease Control and SF-12 health-related quality of life (HQOL) questionnaire. Adverse events, if any, were recorded.

Results: Improvements in physical and mental fatigue and HQOL in both groups were observed, but the improvements in treatment group were significantly bigger than in control group (P<0.01 or P<0.05). No adverse events occurred.

Conclusion: Acupuncture is a safe, effective treatment for CFS.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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