Fibromyalgia  – Basics

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes fatigue and muscle tenderness throughout the body. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include difficulty sleeping, painful menstrual periods, irritable bowel syndrome, memory problems and numbness in the hands or feet. There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, however the syndrome has been linked to emotionally or physically traumatic events, illness or repetitive injury. Eighty to 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia are women, and those with certain medical conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and spinal arthritis) are at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Commonly used formula: Juan Bi Wan, Ren Shen Yang Rong Wan, Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan, and Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan


Acupuncture superior to no treatment or standard care in reducing pain and stiffness; low to moderate quality evidence Acupuncture not different from sham in reducing pain, fatigue or improving sleep and global well-being; moderate quality evidence EA is probably better than manual acupuncture in reducing pain and stiffness and improving global well-being, sleep and fatigue. (Deare 2013 – Cochrane SR of 9 RCTs)(1);

Weak positive evidence; low quality evidence (Yang 2014 – SR of RCTs)(2)

Inconsistent evidence (Lauche 2015 – SR of reviews; 2 high and 2 low quality reviews)(3)


1. Deare JC, Zheng Z, Xue CC, Liu JP, Shang J, Scott SW, et al. Acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013(5):Cd007070.

2. Yang B, Yi G, Hong W, Bo C, Wang Z, Liu Y, et al. Efficacy of acupuncture on fibromyalgia syndrome: a metaanalysis. J Tradit Chin Med. 2014 Aug;34(4):381-91.

3. Lauche R, Cramer H, Hauser W, Dobos G, Langhorst J. A Systematic Overview of Reviews for Complementary and Alternative Therapies in the Treatment of the Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:610615.