Acupuncture and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Acupuncture to Boost Immunity, Coronavirus

As the pandemic continues, more reports are emerging of a new phenomenon – the so-called ‘long Covid’. From an alternative health perspective this isn’t a new phenomenon at all. It’s another manifestation of something I see many patients with already in my acupuncture clinic: post viral fatigue syndrome.

What is Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome?

Following a viral infection of any kind it is not unusual to feel more tired than normal for a few weeks whilst your system recovers. Post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) is a collection of life-limiting symptoms that last for months, even years, after an initial viral infection. Common symptoms include:

  • Sever and persistent fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Sleep disturbances

There’s a large crossover of both symptoms and medical diagnoses between PVFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), with many healthcare specialists using the names interchangeably.

Why does Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome develop?

The answer to this is still a mystery; we don’t know why some people develop PVFS after an infection and others don’t. Many doctors now think an immune system imbalance is a likely cause, and that the immune system doesn’t reset itself properly following a viral infection. Immune messengers called ‘cytokines’ that promote inflammation may over-react, and the lymphatic system (our internal waste management system that clears up cellular wastes) struggles to cope. This leads to chronic low-grade inflammation, cell damage, and lack of energy.

How does Acupuncture help Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome?

Each patient I see with PVFS has a unique health history, diet, and lifestyle, and the treatments are always tailored to suit the individual.
Research shows that Acupuncture can help manage they symptoms of PVFS by:

  • Stimulating nerves in muscles and other tissues to release pain-relieving endorphins
  • Promoting the release of immune-modulating chemicals to rebalance the inflammatory response
  • Increasing microcirculation in muscles and joints to relieve pain and swelling
  • Promote the release of neurotransmitters to support a balanced sleep/wake cycle

It is also important to consider other aspects of health alongside using Acupuncture. Nutrition, gentle movement, stress management techniques, and herbs all play an important part in helping patients recover from PVFS.

Nutrition and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome

Choosing foods and nutrients that support the immune system and help manage inflammation can make a significant difference to PVFS. These include:

  • Brightly coloured vegetables and fruits – aim to include 5 different vegetables and 2 fruits each day. Anti-inflammatory plant compounds called ‘phytonutrients’ give fruits and veggies their different colours, which is why it’s helpful to eat a rainbow! For inspiration try using this chart from Functional Medicine GP Dr Rangan Chatterjee to keep track of what you’ve eaten.
  • Oily fish, ground flaxseeds, flax oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds are all good sources of Omega-3, an anti-inflammatory essential fat.
  • Add herbs and spices to meals and drinks: turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon are delicious, warming, anti-inflammatory spices.
  • Include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and natural yoghurt regularly to support the balance of beneficial gut bacteria. These bugs play a vital role in immune function.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement between October and April. Here in the UK the sunlight isn’t strong enough during winter to make vitamin D in our skin, so supplementation is essential.

If you’d like to find out more about how TCM Acupuncture could support your recovery from post-viral fatigue syndrome, call me TODAY on 07788 633292 or email at

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