Chinese medicine works with the energy of the body, which we call Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is what makes our body alive, the animating force that courses in our blood and activates our organs. When we painlessly insert the acupuncture needles, we make contact with the Qi flowing there, thereby sending messages to the brain.
Our energy weakens for a multitude of reasons. Certainly the quality of food we eat, air we breathe, sleep we get, and exercise we pursue has an enormous amount of influence on our energy level. Our emotions play a role in fatigue, as do injury or trauma.
Over time we see these influences create new patterns in the body, patterns that disrupt the natural flow of Qi, resulting in disease. The acupuncturist identifies how the Qi has been disrupted, and what systems in the body have been impacted, and creates a treatment approach specifically for each individual’s needs. Let’s look at some of the different organ systems and how their disrupted Qi evolves into fatigue:
Our lungs take in oxygen, the building block necessary for most cellular function. If the Qi of our lungs becomes weak or diseased, we experience reduced energy. Symptoms that point to weak lung function are asthma, frequent colds, sinus infections or cough, seasonal allergies, circulation problems, skin problems, or sweating problems. If you report some of these symptoms in addition to fatigue, I may deduce that lungs are the area of weakness.
Our digestive system directly impacts our energy level, beginning with our food. Whole, organic foods give us higher energy than sugary, chemical-laden foods. The stomach and spleen break down the food and convert it into usable fuel and blood. Poor quality food equals poor fuel and weak blood, which will absolutely make you tired. Also the performance of the organs themselves is essential. Problems like acid reflux, ulcers, or diarrhea show that your body is unable to extract or absorb the nutrition in your food, also leading to fatigue. The spleen and stomach control other bodily functions too, such as muscle tone and mental focus.
Common symptoms that reveal compromised digestion are bloating, loose stools, weak limbs, weight gain, easy bruising, and poor concentration. If these kinds of symptoms are going on for you in addition to fatigue, acupuncture will get your digestion performing properly.
The heart controls blood vessels such as arteries and veins and the process of circulation. Eastern medicine teaches that it also supports many mental activities, and our quality of sleep. When the heart is weak, a person will feel tired and listless. Other symptoms include chest pain, anemia, high or low blood pressure, varicose veins, insomnia, and anxiety.
Additionally, the heart is very sensitive to emotion. Heart Qi can absolutely be harmed by strong emotions, such as when we see a person have a heart attack or stroke upon learning terrible news. Daily life, too, can deliver small doses of upsetting experiences on a regular basis, and over time this will drain the heart’s energy, leading to a feeling of exhaustion.
Adrenal fatigue is a common Western diagnosis for chronic exhaustion, but in acupuncture we diagnose it as a form of kidney Qi deficiency. Kidney health is essential in maintaining high energy as well as vital sex drive, balanced hormones, strong bones, good memory, proper urine control and lustrous hair.
Symptoms that indicate your fatigue is connected to weak kidney function might include backache/sciatica, bladder problems, brittle hair, headache, poor sexual function, and kidney stones. If you have a few of these symptoms going on, it is really important to see an acupuncturist to boost your kidney function.
Our liver is our detoxifier, but can become overrun with the amount of toxins we ingest. It aids in digestion, stores our blood, regulates menstruation, and influences tendons and ligaments. When the liver becomes compromised, low energy sets in. Other symptoms will appear as well, such as abdominal bloating or pain, insomnia, constipation, migraines, floaters in the eyes, and irritability. Acupuncture and herbal therapy are a great combination to detoxify the liver and get you feeling much better.
Chronically low energy is more than just a bummer, it’s a sign that your overall health is weak. If, in addition to your fatigue, you note that you have several of the symptoms listed in this article, it may be time for you to try a new approach to your health. Acupuncture is a painless, restful way to heal your body naturally and completely. You will be amazed at how quickly it gets you feeling your best.
Call today to inquire if your healthcare plan covers acupuncture! (520) 318-5560.
Candice Thomas is a licensed acupuncturist in Tucson, specializing in chronic pain, stress relief, and prostate health. Visit her at www.LightWorksAcupuncture.com.