Fibromyalgia Explained by an Expert in Chinese Medicine

woman with fibromyalgia cringing in pain waiting to be seen by an expert in Chinese Medicine

Fibromyalgia Explained by an Expert in Chinese Medicine

It’s best to have information from resources you can rely upon when it comes to making decisions about your health. Since this is the most reliable resource you’re likely to encounter, I’m sure many would appreciate having the origins of fibromyalgia explained by an expert in Chinese medicine. But first, let’s examine the perspectives on the subject.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, and depression. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. 

What patients describe as fibromyalgia symptoms is terrible!

From a patient’s perspective, fibromyalgia is often described as pain from head to toe—pain that waxes and wanes from day to day and persists regardless of medical treatment. Pain can be further described as deep muscular aching, shooting, throbbing, or pounding, and can be unbearable at times. Morning stiffness is common, as is whole-body aching, most prevalent in the morning. Repetitive movement can increase pain and lead one to refrain from exercise, which results in a lack of physical fitness that causes the symptoms to become worse. Severe fatigue is a chief complaint. Fatigue of such intensity makes it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. And hobbies, in some cases, remain employed. Some complain of having heavy arms, legs, or heads “as though weighed down by cement”. 

Unfortunately, in the medical community, there are so many combinations of symptoms that could be diagnosed as fibromyalgia that the conclusion is either drawn all too quickly or medications prescribed that often don’t do anything to help. Or… doctors put patients through batteries of tests and are not able to come up with an accurate diagnosis. So they say fibromyalgia. Why not?

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, fibromyalgia does not exist!

I’ve studied fibromyalgia for over 25 years. During that time, I’ve found that certain Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) syndromes are responsible for all the symptoms of what doctors categorize as fibromyalgia. Other symptoms may accompany any of the following patterns of imbalance. And may occur in any combination. Patterns are assessed according to tongue and pulse diagnosis in addition to input from patients.


  • Dampness: Dampness is characterized by a feeling of heaviness, particularly in the head, dizziness, poor appetite, stuffy chest, and excessive mucus. People with excessive dampness internally generally generally have generally poor health.

  • Spleen Qi Deficiency: Qi deficiency can result in fatigue, dizziness, a pale face, a weak voice, sweating with little exertion, and dull roaming aches and pains. Digestive symptoms include abdominal distension, loose stools, and a poor appetite.

  • Blood Deficiency: Dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, paleness, fatigue, fixed pains, sharp pains, dry skin, dry hair, and scanty periods are indicators of Blood Deficiency. Blood Deficiency can lead to Blood Stasis characterized by roving pains, stiffness, memory issues, vision loss, and shortness of breath.

  • Disharmony of the Heart and Spleen: People with spleen or heart deficiency tend to be forgetful, have poor concentration, feel very fatigued, and are constantly worried.

  • Disharmony of Heart and Kidney: People with kidney or heart disharmony can have ringing in the ears, dizziness, and heart palpitations. And weakness in the lower back, night sweats, mental unrest, constipation, and easy flushing.


What about the anxiety and depression commonly associated with fibromyalgia?

The Liver plays a huge role in the patterns of disharmony mentioned above and is in a state of imbalance when those patterns are exhibited. Many TCM practitioners would suggest that a Liver imbalance is ultimately the cause of fibromyalgia. Given the ease with which certain emotions can cause the deficiencies mentioned above, I contend that it is the deficiencies in other organs that lead to Liver imbalance. In turn, Liver imbalance leads to anxiety, sadness, insomnia, and/or depression.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia have been explained here. All of the associated TCM syndromes can be managed once they are identified. It’s not a mystery! If you or someone you love has been suffering from fibromyalgia symptoms, reach out to me. Nobody else has a 100% recovery rate! You’ll not find anyone else with the same level of understanding of how fibromyalgia is unique to each individual.


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