If you always feel tired no matter how much sleep you get, have been suffering with stress over a long periods of time, and are feeling generally run down and low, then you might be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue, or Adrenal Exhaustion, describes a state of chronic fatigue, with various other ‘non-specific’ symptoms such as body aches, weakened immunity, nervousness, sleep disturbances and food cravings
It is believed to be caused when your adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the demands of long term stress which causes you to be permanently in ‘fight or flight’ mode.
It’s not a medical diagnosis, and your doctor won’t use this term, nor is there any blood test for it. Instead, it’s a syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that often come together.
How Can Chinese Medicine Treat Adrenal Fatigue?
Chinese medicine also doesn’t recognise the term ‘adrenal fatigue’, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be treated. The Chinese approach is to view the person as a whole, and take note of every symptom and every area of your life where you’re experiencing difficulties of under-functioning. It’s like taking a snapshot of your current state of health and well-being on all levels.
Once this full body-and-mind diagnosis has been carried out, you’ll be given a Chinese diagnosis that describes any imbalance or dysfunction in your system, and that’s then used to come up with a treatment plan.
So whether you’ve been given an exact diagnosis or not doesn’t matter to me as a Chinese medicine practitioner – I will make my own Chinese diagnosis based on your overall pattern of symptoms and health concerns. Every person is different, and receives a treatment tailored to their individual signs and symptoms.
Adrenal Fatigue in Chinese Medicine
Although each case is different, it’s possible to generalise about some of the imbalances that might well be present in someone suffering with Adrenal Fatigue symptoms.
This describes a state of tiredness and under-functioning. There will be low energy levels, and probably digestive upsets and/or breathing difficulties. This is pretty much a given for adrenal fatigue.
Jing is a deeper level of energy than Qi, and when you have Jing deficiency you feel not just tired but completely exhausted. It can be divided into two types, depending on whether there is more Yang or Yin deficiency. Yang deficiency comes with feelings of coldness and low motivation and drive, while Yin deficiency has more anxiety, restlessness and feelings of being hot or flushed. You can also have a mixture of these 2.
Dampness describes a feeling of heavy sluggishness. With Dampness it’s hard to get up in the morning, and there may be a feeling of a muzzy head or ‘brain fog’. It’s very common in chronic conditions.
Putting It All Together – Treating Adrenal Fatigue
One of the strengths of Chinese medicine is treating complex multi-symptom conditions such as Adrenal Fatigue. While your doctor might not have much to offer, your Chinese medicine practitioner will. The unique person-centered diagnosis offered by Chinese medicine can lead to a treatment that is tailored to your exact situation.
Chinese herbs and acupuncture will likely be the main treatments involved. In my clinic I also like to discuss diet and nutrition, and other things that people can do at home for themselves such as breathing or relaxation techniques or self-acupressure.
So if you know anyone who has been suffering for exhaustion and stress, and is ‘under the weather’, give Chinese medicine a go!