Treating Fibromyalgia Syndrome with Chinese Medicine


by Shaozi Li, Ph.D.

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness and a number of other symptoms. The root cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, and there is controversy in the medical field regarding this mysterious syndrome.

The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek words for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Fibromyalgia is seen in about 2 percent of the general population, and scientists estimate that it affects 5 million Americans age 18 and older. For unknown reasons, between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. Most people are diagnosed during middle age, although the symptoms often become present earlier in life.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, fibromyalgia syndrome is most likely due to a wind-colddampness attack from outside the body. It is also due to a deficiency of the internal organs, weakness of the genuine-qi, and an internal imbalance between yin and yang, which blocks the meridians, leading to widespread pain and diffuse tenderness of the muscles. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the windcold-dampness, invigorate the blood, unblock the meridians, enhance the genuine-qi and stop the pain. Chinese herbs, acupuncture and cupping are often used to treat patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.

A Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment plan for fibromyalgia syndrome is often based on the location of the pain. There are several specific acupuncture points for the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, femur, knee, ankle and back/lumbar region. There are also specific herbal formulas for different fibromyalgia syndrome symptoms. After a consultation, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners are able to provide a customized treatment plan to target the patient’s unique issues.

Cupping is a therapeutic method in which a jar is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material or suction. It is very effective method for patients with fibromyalgia. If you are suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome, consider a different treatment approach and consult a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.

THSUShaozi Li, Ph.D. is a specialist in Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis who teaches at Texas Health and Science University. Li has taught Traditional Chinese Medicine for more than 18 years in China, the U.S. and Russia. He served as deputy director at Hunan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, visiting scholar at Michigan State University and associate chair at Hunan College in China. To learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine and Texas Health and Science University, visit


Texas Health and Science University is opening a new professional acupuncture clinic in San Antonio this month, and you’re invited to an open house on May 3. The Austin-based university begins offering classes this month in San Antonio toward a master’s/ bachelor’s degree in acupuncture and
Traditional Chinese Medicine. The new acupuncture clinic, located at 9240 Guilbeau Road, Suite 102, will be staffed by licensed acupuncturists who will treat a variety of medical issues including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, sciatica, chronic headaches and pain, to name a few.
If you are unable to attend the May 3 Open House, stop by the new
clinic anytime in May for a brief tour. To learn more about the clinic and about Texas Health and Science University, visit


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