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Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

The main symptom of fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain that is spread all over the body, and the experience of specific tender points. Accompanying symptoms can include: Cognitive difficulties - “fibro fog” – with difficulty focusing and paying attention, disturbed sleep caused by the pain, chronic fatigue, and mood shifts The constellation of symptoms can range from mild to severe. It can come and go in bouts, or what is called “flare ups”. People diagnosed with fibromyalgia experience debilitating pain that significantly effects their ability to work, engage with their family and social groups, participate in activities and with their overall sense of wellness.

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in 20 Globally Affected


Times more likely in Women than in Men


Quality of sleep improved by Craniosacral Therapy

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Common Comorbid Conditions With Fibromyalgia

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It is also common for people with fibromyalgia to struggle with other health difficulties. 

These include, but are not limited to,

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Migraine and other types of headaches
  • TMJ Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low Self Esteem

Mainstream medicine is stumped by Fibromyalgia and acknowledge that “the treatment of fibromyalgia is still a challenge for patients and physicians” (Boehm et. al., 2014). Meanwhile, alternative approaches that use gentle somatic movement and that support overall autonomic nervous system regulation do have a relieving effect that is based on improving the body’s natural resilience in a way that is within the capacity of the client.

Exploring naturalistic holistic approaches to fibromyalgia can present important alternatives, and/or complimentary options, to cope with the condition and reduce the compounding factors of the syndrome.

Research reviews finds reduction in: Pain intensity, Fatigue, Tender Points.

Homeopathy & Fibromyalgia
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Homeopathy is a holistic naturalistic treatment based on the principle of micro-dosing to the nth degree. Through the use of natural remedies, applied with a high degree of subtlety, homeopathy addresses mental, emotional and somatic conditions. When it comes to fibromyalgia, homeopathy can help with various aspects of the disease, from reducing inflammation and joint pain to relieving depression, alleviating anxiety and decreasing disturbance of sleep. Through the holistic lens, homeopathy can help both with the main symptoms of fibromyalgia as well as with treating comorbid conditions such as migraines and IBS.

While there are over-the-counter medications to reduce pain in the body, these are known to pose significant side-effects to the liver. It is generally preferred to adopt safer more naturalistic methods whenever possible, which is why homeopathy is a great resource for consideration in holistic healthcare. 

Sleep disturbance, "one of the key symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome" greatly affects quality of life.

Holistic Physiotherapy & Fibromyalgia
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As the main aspect of fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain, applying a body-based therapy in the treatment is important. There are many ways to approach the body, from the energetic field to the skin, fascia, muscle, and bone, using a variety of gentle touch, massage and manual therapy, somatic awareness, as well as dance and movement therapies. Ancient wisdoms like yoga and qi gong can also be used therapeutically and can significantly relieve the symptoms. 

Holistic physiotherapists and craniosacral therapists use gentle touch and gentle palpitation. They are skilled in the sensitivity required to work with fibromyalgia clients and are skilled at modifying their levels of intervention, taking into consideration the pains that a person with fibromyalgia is struggling with. 

Another key symptom of fibromyalgia is sleep impairment. One review of the research noted that “poor sleep is seen in 90% of FMS participants” (Ughreja et. Al., 2023). It is well known that even a single day of interrupted sleep will create an overall disruption in a person’s sense of wellbeing. Chronic poor sleep can be seriously detrimental in its own right. Sleep impairment effects people’s mental and physical state and significantly contributes to a deteriorating quality of life. Holistic care helps the quality of sleep by reducing pain and by improving the autonomic rhythms of the body.

A pilot study exploring the possibility of improving sleep through naturalistic alternative treatments found that craniosacral therapy significantly improved both the quality of sleep and the duration, which paralleled improvement in quality of life. The improvement was observed to continue one year after treatment. Importantly, craniosacral therapy was also found to significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety during treatment, though the latter did not maintain over one year, indicating the need for psychological support as well as somatic (Matarán-Peñarrocha et al., 2011). 

Exercise is an important part of healthy living. When it comes to chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, lifestyle medicine is the way to go, and this entails a very customized approach. While exercise is key, it is important to consider the best option for each person given the sensitivity of the body to pain flare ups. Swimming can be ideal for many, and the slow mindful movements of qi gong are also often preferred. Modified Pilates and gentle yoga, especially under guidance of a holistic physiotherapist, can provide the personalized progressive program to support increased resilience and wellness through the journey. 

It is helpful to consider holistic physiotherapy to bring relief and shifts to some of the symptoms in fibromyalgia while also combining other treatments. Psychotherapy, nutrition and homeopathy are all helpful to have on board and can address other aspects of the condition. 

People with fibromyalgia are 3.4 times more likely than others to have major depression.

Holistic Psychotherapy & Fibromyalgia
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There appears to be a correlation between experiencing emotionally stressful life events and the development of fibromyalgia. “Fibromyalgia patients tend to report more stressful life events than controls” (Stisi, Venditti, & Sarracco, 2008). However, the experience of stress is not directly related to the amount or severity of the life stressor. Studies found that even stressors that may seem mild to others could be overwhelming to someone struggling with fibromyalgia. 

The experience of overwhelm could trigger “fibro flareups.” Mindfulness-based therapies, such as Somatic Experiencing, help clients to better manage their overwhelm response and increase their self-regulation capacities. 

It is also important to note the cyclical dynamic of pain and anxiety. The experience of pain often creates anxiety, and anxiety often aggravates the experience of pain. Researchers have observed a higher rate of anxiety in patients with fibromyalgia than in participants that did not have this condition. Similarly, there is a high correlation between fibromyalgia and major depression. People with fibromyalgia are 3.4 times more likely than others to have major depression. As such, working with a holistic psychotherapist to manage the anxiety and depression aspects of fibromyalgia improves therapeutic outcomes. 

Lastly, when people struggle with a chronic condition, it can impact their overall sense of self. It is not surprising that low self-esteem is common among people suffering from fibromyalgia. Working with a holistic psychotherapist offers a space to understand the impact that fibromyalgia is having on a client’s mental health and to explore which tools and resources can significantly mitigate these symptoms and help find greater resilience and capacity to engage with life. 

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