From the category archives:

fibromyalgia

How Qi Gong can help with Fibromyalgia and CFS

by Ed

Getting enough sleep and exercise is crucial to the wellbeing of those suffering with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Qi gong can be very helpful in both areas. Qi gong is a Chinese form of therapeutic exercise and meditation. There are many different styles that have developed over the centuries.

According to Chinese Medicine, FM and CFS are due to a deficiency and a stagnation of the body’s vital energy. There may also be latent toxins (viruses, bacteria, etc.) in the body. Qi gong, which means energy work can increase our store of vital energy, improve it’s flow and strengthen the immune system, which can help expel the latent toxins.

The movements in most forms of qi gong are gentle and flowing like the movements of tai chi, making it easier for people with low energy reserves to do them. They provide the body with needed exercise while slowly building strength and stamina. Meditative forms of qi gong help to calm an agitated mind and body, improve sleep, and strengthen the immune system. Most practitioners also report an increased pain tolerance.

If you live near Berkeley California, check out Dr. Bingkun Hu. He is an excellent teacher of the Wild Goose style of Qi gong. Wild Goose includes both active and meditative qi gong forms. You might also want to check out Ken Cohen’s The Essential Qigong Training Course.

One of my favorite qi gong meditations is the inner smile meditation. If you would like to download a free mp3 of the inner smile meditation, mention it in your comment, below.

Stop fighting it

by Ed

One thing I have learned, especially with pain, but also other symptoms, is to not fight the symptom. If you are experiencing pain, tensing up against it, does not help, it only makes it worse. If you can completely allow the pain, accept it with your whole being, not only will you feel better, but you may have a breakthrough in your healing.

There are several things you can try, to allow the symptom in.

  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the area that has pain or another symptom. As you breathe in imagine the breath going to that area. As you breathe out allow that area to soften. On the inhale you can also try breathing in light or warmth.

  • Imagine that your resistance is a fist held tightly around the symptom. Feel the fist and slowly let go. This can be combined with the previous point.

  • Just explore the sensations. When you get curious about pain, it’s quality changes dramatically.

  • Practice surrender. I am not sure how else to put it, but sometimes, when in intense pain, I just keep surrendering to it.

I have a food allergy, and one of my reactions is that my esophagus goes into spasm. It is incredibly painful and I can’t swallow for about half an hour. I have never felt pain as bad as that. One time when that happened I practice surrender and exploring the sensations, together. It was an almost ecstatic experience. The pain went away very quickly, but I almost wished it didn’t because I was enjoying it so much. I have never had that pain, so intensely, since that experience.

Fibromyalgia

by Ed

The chronic pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia are not fun to live with, but there are things you can do to make life easier. Probably the three most important things you can do to improve quality of life and decrease symptoms, are gradually increase your exercise, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

Exercise may be the most difficult because it hurts and it is so easy to overdo it. It is important to very gradually increase your exercise program, so as not to have major setbacks. You may start out with a minute a day of walking. You want to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 3 to 6 days a week. Strength training and stretching are also helpful. You may consider tai chi or yoga, for both the exercise and the stress reduction.

One of the best methods for stresss reduction is meditation. In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients. You can try the Inner Smile meditation that I mentioned in my post yesterday. Guided visualization and self-hypnosis are very similar to, and have the same effects as meditation. Search for a technique that works for you and stick with it. The more you do it, the better it works.

Sleep. Nobody wants to get up feeling like they did not get any rest all night. Not only do you feel lousy, but it aggravates all the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Getting good sleep is very important. The stress reduction techniques mentioned above should help a lot. Changing your eating habits may help as well. Reduce or avoid caffeine and sugar. Try to finish eating early in the evening. Going to bed when you are still digesting disturbs sleep. Another lifestyle change that may help is not watching tv in the evening. Tv can be very stimulating and keep you awake. If you have tried all of these things and still have problems with your sleep, you should seek treatment. research shows that acupuncture is helpful for sleep and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Hypnotherapy is a very good method for improving sleep. I would turn to Western Medicine only as a last resort.

Finally, keep an active social life. It helps with your mood and keeps your mind off your symptoms. If you join a support group, join one that supports a more postsitive lifestyle rather than one that supports complaining about your problems. You are alive, you might as well enjoy it.