This week's post on fibromyalgia is the first in a new series on how holistic therapies can help in the treatment of specific health problems.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition of fatigue and widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons (fibro = fibrous tissue; myo = muscle tissue; algia = pain). It is more common than rheumatoid arthritis and can be more painful.


The pain and fatigue can vary from day to day. People with a mild form of the disease are able to carry out normal daily tasks, but those most severely affected are unable to work or to function normally.


The cause is not fully understood, but is often linked to shock, such as the breakdown of a relationship or the death of a loved one.


Studies have shown that shiatsu can help relieve pain and insomnia, and it has been used to good effect in the treatment of fibromyalgia. In particular gentle rocking and rolling techniques are beneficial in conjunction with gentle stimulation of the appropriate meridians (energy channels).


Key to relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia is relaxation of body of mind, so the following may be beneficial:

  • Gentle exercise, such as yoga, pilates, tai chi, walking or swimming
  • Increasing magnesium intake either through ingestion of magnesium-rich foods (e.g. beetroot, dark green leafy vegetables, alfalfa sprouts, fresh and dried fruit) or through the skin by adding a dessertspoonful of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) to a hot bath.
  • A healthy diet, avoiding baked goods and refined foods to minimise the strain on the digestive and endocrine systems.
  • Good sleep hygiene.


For more information on fibromyalgia, visit the NHS Choices website.


Do get in touch if you have fibromyalgia and would like to try shiatsu to help manage your symptoms.