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Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome

On this page

  1. Overview
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatment
  5. Factsheet

1. Overview

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also called CFS or CFS/ME, is a condition that causes extreme tiredness and a range of other symptoms.

2. Symptoms

Symptoms include extreme tiredness, sweating, poor memory, dizziness and sometimes pain.

3. Causes

In traditional Chinese medicine theory, chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by chronic deficiency. Treatment to rectify the deficiency can therefore take time. The use of supplements and Chinese herbs can speed up recovery time, whilst acupuncture can reduce the sense of pain and improve sleep.

4. Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME)

Systematic reviews into treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome for complementary and alternative medicine showed acupuncture was able to relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, reduce general pain and improve quality of life. Further trials of acupuncture treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome are needed.

Acupuncture research using randomized controlled trials showed that it can relieve common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome cfs such as pain, headaches, sleep problems, tiredness and depression by:

  1. Stimulating acupuncture points located in muscles and other tissues, which changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord
  2. Relieving pain
  3. Reducing inflammation
  4. Improving muscle stiffness, which can reduce pain
  5. Reducing insomnia

5. Chronic fatigue syndrome factsheet

For further information, read the acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome factsheet.


Zhang Q, Gong J, Dong H, Xu S, Wang W, Huang G. Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, 2009-01.
Yiu, Y, et al. A clinical trial of acupuncture for treating chronic fatigue syndrome in Hong Kong. Zhong xi yi jie he xue bao = Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 01 Nov 2007, 5(6):630-633.
Wang, JJ, at al. A meta analysis on randomized controlled trials of acupuncture treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Zhen ci yan jiu = Acupuncture Research, 01 Dec 2009, 34(6):421-428.
Wang, J, et al. Randomized controlled clinical trials of acupuncture treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Zhen ci yan jiu = Acupuncture Research, 01 Apr 2009, 34(2):120-124.
Ki, J, et al. Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic chronic fatigue: a multicenter, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial. Trials 16, 314 (2015) doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0857-0.