The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines fatigue as “weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion, or stress”. The Mayo Clinic defines fatigues as “physical and/or mental exhaustion that can be triggered by stress, medication, overwork, or mental and physical illness or disease.
Western medicine recognizes that fatigue is not always related to an underlying condition. Exertion, sleep deprivation, heavy workout, stress, excess alcohol consumption, or boredom may also be causes. Western medicine treats fatigue with a handful of pharmaceuticals. Some of these are effective but possibly addictive, and some are not effective. Traditional Chinese Medicine views fatigue as having a variety of causes. These all include a deficiency: deficiency in yang, deficiency in yin, deficiency in blood, or deficiency in qi.
Massage will help restore the balance between yin and yang and therefore can be helpful in all cases of fatigue regardless of cause. Depending on the person, very light, almost energetic touch can be helpful relief. Some people prefer a more vigorous approach. Each therapist must gauge the approach to the individual.
Very hot situations such as chemotherapy-caused fatigue must be treated with a light touch. Lack of energy due to fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome may benefit from a more vigorous massage to bring out the qi. Energetically stimulating the kidney qi can help with generic fatigue.
Massage will restore the balance between yang and yin. Returning the body to balance will eliminate fatigue. Fatigue can be overwhelming, but massage is one of the many tools that can improve quality of life.
Oriental Healing Arts Center, Anchorage AK