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  • Writer's pictureFour Corners Acupuncture & Wellness Center

Four Corners of Effective Treatment for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Autoimmune Disorders

Updated: Apr 23

Treating complicated conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disorders requires a multi-faceted approach. Complex health problems with a long history rarely have a single cause.

There are FOUR KEY AREAS common to people struggling with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and fatigue. Addressing these areas methodically and consistently can dramatically improve quality of life. To understand these steps and stages, imagine the body as a house. If you are suffering from chronic pain, illness, fatigue, insomnia, and inflammation, the home (your body) is in a state of disrepair.

Lymphatic Dysregulation and Immune Dysfunction

In order to repair a broken down house that has water damage, mold infestation, and rusty wiring, you have to prevent wind and rain from getting in. The first step is to seal off the roof and windows.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), physicians described how “wind” would carry invasions characterized by cold, heat, and dampness into the human body, causing symptoms like chills, fever, nasal discharge, headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain.

These symptoms correspond to infection marked by abnormal production of inflammatory cytokines, leukotrienes, histamines, chemotactic factors, and other biomarkers of heightened immune response.

While a strong immune response is important to eradicate pathogenic organisms, the immune system can attack the host itself, leading to stiffness, swelling, wandering aches and pains, swollen lymph nodes, and water retention.


The primary goal in treatment is to seal up the exterior of the body, preventing further external invasions. Using the house analogy, installing or repairing the roof and windows prevents mold, insects, and small animals from coming in and damaging the home’s structure. Treatment is characterized by herbs, breathing exercises, massage and acupuncture techniques that have a regulatory effect on the immune system.

This means using herbs with an antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal property that will not cause stress or damage to a healthy gut microbiome. Overall, a healthy immune system is neither overactive nor under-active, and is capable of maintaining an environment free of toxic pathogens and invasive microorganisms.

Gut Dysbiosis

Imagine your home is flooded and you live in a warm climate. You can picture slime, molds, noxious gases, and insects taking over! The body can also develop biofilms, fungal overgrowths, and secrete poisonous gases. This condition is called gut dysbiosis.

What happens when a healthy gut microbiome is damaged? Chinese medicine describes this damage as having the characteristics of a damp, wet, soggy swamp. Biofilms accumulate as the bacteria and viruses secrete slimy substances that enable their survival from immune system attacks. The body feels stiff, swollen, puffy, weak and soggy. Heavy pain is often reported.

Gas, bloating, irritable bowel, and heartburn reflux are a direct result of gut dysbiosis. Allergic reactions and food sensitivities are commonly experienced when substances not meant for the bloodstream enter through breaks in the intestinal lining.

Brain fog, anxiety, and emotional depression are also common with gut dysbiosis. The trillions of microorganisms in our gut are involved in neurotransmitter production and vagal nerve signaling, both of which are associated with mood disorders.


When a house is flooded we must “drain the swamp.” It's important to create a healthy microbiome by cultivating an environment for healthy bugs to flourish. Treatment at this stage involves removing water retention, dissolving biofilms, regulating intestinal movement, and increasing secretion of digestive juices.

The importance of botanical extracts in this phase of treatment is their function to protect, rather than damage, the microflora of the intestinal tract. It’s important to achieve an antibiotic effect without damaging healthy levels of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Massage, dietary changes, and acupuncture treatment are included. The primary goals are to regulate water metabolism, immune function, blood sugar, and blood fats.  If brain fog is an issue, herbs that increase memory and brain cell regeneration are used.

Elevated Cortisol, Nitrous Oxide Dysregulation, and Nerve Inflammation

Imagine turning on all the electronics in your house and running them full strength. The electricity is drained. Wires overheat and are damaged. Some may begin smoking or even catch fire. With all the noise, light, and heat, it's difficult to go to sleep. This is the body with too much inflammation and poor distribution of nitric oxide.

When there is too much stress and inflammation, we often experience an excessive fight or flight response. This can manifest in a few different ways.

Pain in the shoulders. Fight response. You can’t punch or fight your way out of the situation, a natural response, so that energy gets built up and unused. This creates long term tension in the shoulders, eventually producing chronic pain.

Pain in the lower back. This is a flight response. Your instinct is to run away from the stressful situation and you get a surge of energy in the legs, but have nowhere to run to. The tension builds from the legs into the lower back.

Nervous exhaustion. Overwhelm. Anxiety. Insomnia. Tension headaches.

Stress related inflammatory processes are epidemic in our country today!


Treatment goals in this stage include turning the power usage down to keep the nervous system from shorting out or creating a fire. We want to lower stress hormones like cortisol and melatonin, regulate nitric oxide, and improve sleep.

Addressing liver function to clean out the bodies oil filter and regulate gut inflammation is important to reduce stress induced irritable bowel syndrome.

The herbs, acupuncture, and breathing exercises used in this stage have a modulating effect on hormones and gasotransmitters to reduce the inflammatory pain over time.

Nitric oxide is a regulatory gas that influences almost all the cells of the human body. If there is too little, there is reduced energy output by cell mitochondria. We may feel weak and tired. Too much, and it can signal a cascade of inflammatory chemicals, causing pain, tension, and heat.

The botanicals at this stage down regulate, or reduce concentrated nitric oxide levels to minimize the influence of stress and reduce chronic pain.

Blood Circulation – Regulating Platelet Adhesion and Prostaglandin Dysregulation

Now imagine a home without waste disposal. The hallways are filled with garbage. The door to the cleaning supplies closet is blocked. The attic is filled with dust. Rats and cockroaches are free to take over the house. The pipes are backed up. The toilets are overflowing and sewer gases are everywhere. The floors and walls are beginning to rot. This is the body with poor blood microcirculation. Pain at this stage is often at tendon and ligament attachments. Sharp and stabbing pains are common at this stage.


To repair the body at this stage, the pipes need to be cleaned, the garbage needs to be removed, and rotting walls should be torn out and replaced.

This is done by increasing microcirculation and macrophage activity to clear out dead tissue and protect the central nervous system. We want to remove blockages that have resulted from direct trauma, faulty immune function, gut dysbiosis, and neurological inflammation.

The botanical medicines, acupuncture, and breathing techniques at this stage target microcirculation to prevent muscle atrophy, protect the central nervous system, increase new blood vessel formation, and enable the body to feed itself.

If you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and or chronic pain, think of your body as a house when considering what treatments are needed for a healthy, long lasting home that can be enjoyed for many years!


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