Tiredness & Fatigue
Tired of being tired? Fatigue can be caused by a number of issues. Read on to learn more about some of the causes of tiredness and fatigue in Chinese medicine, and see if we can help get the 'wind back in your sail.'
The following causes of tiredness will be discussed; immune system issues, poor digestion, chronic imbalance and depression.
Immune System Issues
This could be tiredness triggered by a viral infection or the result of chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. In this case the immune system is working doubly hard to maintain a healthy equilibrium as it cleans up damaged or infected cells. This immune response can make an individual feel tired or lethargic.
Possible symptoms: Chronic fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, heavy eyelids, sleepiness, poor focus, sore muscles and joints.
Our daily supply of energy is heavily reliant on an efficient digestive system to absorb, process, store and distribute nutrients. TCM is not only concerned with the quality of nutrition going into the body, but the body’s capacity to utilise this nutrition and keep a healthy metabolism.
Possible symptoms: Weight issues (over or under), incomplete bowel motions, dry or loose bowel motions, heartburn, burping or farting more than usual, bloating, and poor appetite. Heavy limbs, muscle weakness or soft muscle tissue can also be symptoms.
Iron Deficiency and Anaemia
A deficiency of iron and B12 can cause tiredness. Iron is mostly stored in the Liver and absorbed through the small intestine. A blood test will be necessary to determine if this is the cause of tiredness and supplementation with iron and B12 is recommended.
Possible symptoms of iron deficiency: Shortness of breath, palpitations, pale skin, dizziness, weakness, general fatigue, tingling or crawling feeling of the legs.
According to Chinese medical theory, once an individual’s deeper reserves become taxed, certain symptoms start to appear. These symptoms are more likely to appear after a long protracted illness, years with inadequate sleep, excessive mental or physical work or a long-term stressful environment.
Possible symptoms: Lack of stamina, sleepiness, dull complexion, dark circles under the eyes, dull eyes, poor hair quality, vulnerability to injury, ear ringing, intolerance to late nights, intolerance to heat or cold.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulae can be an effective treatment to help with both the mental and physical symptoms of depression. Acupuncture is safe to take alongside conventional medications and can also be helpful for pre-clinical depression.See our page on Chinese herbal medicine to know more about herbal formula's.
Possible symptoms: Unhappiness, feeling flat, worry and sadness, decreased libido, digestive problems, sugar cravings, cloudy head and sleepiness, poor focus, poor memory and information retention.
Additional Reading & Research
Traditional Chinese medicine for chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.
Chinese herbal medicine for cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials
Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic chronic fatigue: a multicenter, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial
Acupuncture for Depression- Cochrane