In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we don't have the concept of adrenal fatigue because thousands of years ago hormones weren't on health practitioners' radar. They did, however, realize that long-lasting stress, improper diet, too much or too little exercise, and other poor lifestyle choices could cause a person to become chronically rundown, which they diagnosed as "Kidney deficiency". Really the two conditions are one in the same, which means we can treat adrenal fatigue from both perspectives!
First, though, what is adrenal fatigue? The adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys and produce a few key hormones, some of which are involved in our "flight or fight" response. This adaptation was invaluable to our ancestors as they would face predators and other dangers. Nowadays, our common stressors are minor in comparison - traffic jams and work deadlines, for instance - and prolonged, but they still trigger the same response. The changes in our heart rate, breathing, muscle tension, etc. are in part due to our adrenal glands pumping out hormones to help us fight or flee from the stressful situation. When our stress is chronic, the adrenal glands will constantly pump out these hormones and become fatigued over time, leaving us feeling constantly drained and exhausted.
Of course, prevention is the best medicine! Practice regular self-care and stress management so that your body won't feel like it's under attack. (If this is difficult for you, read our previous posts on meditation and stress busters.) If you're past that point and already experiencing symptoms, supplementation is often needed to reset the body. Acupuncture will help regulate hormone levels and give you a chance to relax while the body builds up Qi (energy), and Chinese herbal formulas containing herbs that tonify the Kidneys will build up Yin, Qi, and/or Yang to help your other accompanying symptoms as well. From a Western holistic perspective, supplements containing adrenal extracts give the adrenal glands more support and fill in nutritional gaps that are often missing in our modern diet.
If you've been feeling exhausted for a long time, especially after going through a stressful situation, consider trying some - or ideally all - of these methods to build yourself back up again. Each of us only has one life to live; don't you want one that's full of vibrant energy?
Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click "Book Now" at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.