Fibromyalgia, is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, joint stiffness and sleep disturbance.

No cure is known and available treatments are only partially effective.

According to a research team led by Dr. David Martin, an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia patients who received acupuncture reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.

Acupuncture was also well tolerated with minimal side effects, the researchers said in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The study involved 50 fibromyalgia patients enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial to determine if acupuncture improved their symptoms. Twenty-five in the acupuncture group and 25 in the control group.

In the acupuncture group, total fibromyalgia symptoms were significantly improved compared with the control group during the study period.

Fatigue and anxiety were the most significantly improved symptoms during the follow-up period.

“We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety,” the researchers concluded.

A study, published in the journal Headache, confirmed once more that acupuncture is really effective in relieving chronic headaches.

A course of 10 acupuncture treatments over a period of six weeks had made a difference in quality of life of adult headache sufferers participating in the study.

People who received acupuncture (and standard treatment) were 3.7 times more likely to report less suffering from headaches compared with those who received standard treatment alone .

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Acupuncture also has been reported to offer long term relief from headaches in a Swedish study .

In a recent study on tension headache, researchers did ten sessions of laser acupuncture three times per week on one group and a similar placebo (dummy laser) treatment on another. The results revealed laser acupuncture to significantly relieve the symptoms of the real laser acupuncture group, while the placebo group did not improve as much.

Ebneshahidi NS, et al. Physical Therapy Dept, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.