Fatigue

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© Fernandes Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine 2012
Fatigue or low energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) occurs when the Spleen, the TCM digestive system, does not take food and fluids and transform them into the essential nutrients that give us energy.  In addition, there can be damp accumulation which causes heaviness and cloudy mind/foggy headedness when the spleen does not transform fluids properly.  Since the body is not nourished here, this leads to low energy. 

Reviving the Spleen

To revive the spleen we use acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese nutrition. 

Acupuncture
In acupuncture there are acu-points such as just below the belly button CV6 or ST 36 on the leg that strengthen the Spleen among others.  We also use heat to “spark” the digestive system/Spleen.
A classic herbal formula used for fatigue is Si Jun Zi Tang which include herbs Dang Shen, Fu Ling, Bai Zhu and Zhi Gan Cao (Licorice).  This is ideally prescribed as a decoction/tea but can also be prescribed as a pill.
Fatigue and depression often occur simultaneously or are closely related symptoms even in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  With depression, the Spleen and Liver are not working in harmony.  When the Liver becomes stagnant, symptoms of depression and irritability occur. In addition, the Liver will “attack” the Spleen, further weakening it and worsening its associated fatigue.
Depression
Associated with Liver
   
Anger: Emotion associated with Liver
   
Depression is anger turned inward
   
Related to smooth circulation of Qi or energy in the body which is regulated by the Liver
Pattern of disharmony: Liver Qi Stagnation
   
Qi: non material basis of body or energy    
   
Blood: material basis of the body or fluid
   
Liver in charge of smooth circulation
   
This stagnation of Qi causes depression, tension and irritability
Treatment principle: Regulate the Liver
   
Acu-points:
            • LV 3: strongest Liver mover/regulator
            • LV 2: if heat, more irritability
            • GB 34: Regulates Liver, paired organ
            • LV 14: Front MU of the Liver
            • BL 47: Spirit Shu of Liver
    • Chinese Herbal Medicine
            • Free and Easy Wanderer/Xiao Yao Tang:
                 • Regulates/moves the Liver to relieve depression
            • Jia Wei Xiao Yao Tang:
                 • Regulates/moves the Liver with more heat signs of irritability