COVID Syndrome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Acupuncture

Some survivors of acute bouts of Covid-19 experience a range of persistent medical issues, some lasting for weeks or even months including:

  • profound exhaustion
  • trouble thinking or remembering
  • muscle pain
  • headaches
  • and more

Many have described it as feeling “hit by a truck.”

Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, acknowledged this month that the symptoms in many of these unrecovered patients are “highly suggestive” of myalgic encephalomyelitis, the disabling illness also commonly called chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS. “This is something we really need to seriously look at,” said Fauci.

post covid syndrome chronic fatigue syndrome and acupuncture

Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Myalgic Encephalitis

Chronic Fatigue symptom is an umbrella term for several “knotty diseases” that de-harmonize the nervous system, causing fatigue.  I believe fatigue is a result of the added load on the brain trying to manage a nervous system sending constant imbalanced feedback and recognizing that it is not successful at doing so.

Acupuncture acts as a neuromodulator, synchronizing brain activity.

Possible Biomechanism

Acupuncture’s ability to balance T helper cells, Th1 and Th2, may be one mechanism responsible for its effective action in the treatment of CFS. Th1 (T helper 1) and Th2 (T helper 2) cells are types of T cells that play important roles in the adaptive immune system. Th1 cells secrete IL-2, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Th2 cells produce IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-13. In a Th2 immune response, IL-4 production by T cells is predominant overIFN-γ. Researchers Wang et al. note, “Acupuncturing at bilateral GV20 (Baihui), CV4 (Guanyuan), and ST36 (Zusanli) could elevate the serum IFN-γ concentration and the ratio of IFN-γ/IL-4 and regulate Th1/Th2 immune balance.” This finding indicates that acupuncture may be of benefit to CFS patients with T cell imbalances.

This is particularly interesting since these symptoms arise post-infection by COVID 19, indicating a significant stress to the immune system. Its like playing golf again after a significant back injury.

Acupuncture Found Effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Further Research

In a systemic review via meta-analysis from 2014, 23 RCTs involving 1776 participants were identified. The results of meta-analyses and several individual studies showed that TCM alone or in combination with other interventions significantly alleviated fatigue symptoms as measured by Chalder’s fatigue scale, fatigue severity scale, fatigue assessment instrument by Joseph E. Schwartz and Bell’s fatigue scale. Unfortunately, some or many of the studies may have been biased. In conclusion, TCM appears to be effective to alleviate the fatigue symptom for people with CFS.


Though COVID is new and we are ALL trying to understand its repercussions in the medical field, its after-effects do align with known entities that have demonstrably benefitted from acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.  If you or a loved one is struggling with post-Covid symptomology they may benefit from acupuncture and TCM. Dr Josh has treated several hundred cases of chronic fatigue successfully over his 20 year experience out of Minnetonka, MN.