Posted by: Little Miss | November 2, 2007

A little voodoo or real science?

I like my physical therapist. I think she really knows the human body, as in bones and muscles and how they all work together. I have respect for her knowledge because she seems to be able to pinpoint my pain in my back and neck when I can’t even tell her myself. She has helped me strengthen my core muscles and alleviate a lot of my inability to do things. She’s taught me exercises that help me in real life – like scrubbing floors and pulling weeds without doing additional harm to my back or overworking myself. She’s taught me a lot. In fact, she gave me the name of the rheumatologist that I went to who diagnosed my fibromyalgia.

However, every once in a while she spills something out that makes me think she’s a bit kooky. Like I overheard her say once that she believes alcoholism is a manifestation of what the “scriptures” say are the sins of the father being cast upon the son – or whatever the great book says. Alcoholism running through a family is, to her, simply sins of one ancestor being sent on down the family line. Sure. Right. Although, considering the research of biological and genetic predisposition to alcoholism and that it does run in families, I can see how someone might have this belief. That’s fine by me. I just don’t believe it.

But today she offered up something she learned at a recent “energy” seminar had the potential to “cure” fibromyalgia. See, she has chronic fatigue syndrome, which she equates to fibromyalgia. Even if they are the same thing, each person’s experience with fibromyalgia is different. In fact, I wish more people really understood that. I have a family friend who when I told him I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia said he had a friend who had “that” and she (the friend) played with him on his softball team. Go figure! Really? I wish I’d been quick enough to tell him something like, “Great! Now I can play softball cuz really, I couldn’t before I got fibro and I always wanted to.” People can be so stupid when they’re trying to be helpful.

But I digress. Back to the PT. At this seminar she learned about meridian points and how working with them properly could unleash all this blocked energy. She gave me exercises to “tap, tap, tap” on my chest tender points, then on my ribs, and somewhere else that I don’t remember. I told her with the chest ones that if I did that for any period of time, I’d get the typical chest pains associated with fibromyalgia. She went on to explain more about meridian points and how one of mine was blocked because it was the point that affected my kidney and “clearly my kidneys weren’t functioning properly or my ankles wouldn’t swell.” Geez. Now why did I waste all that money on lab tests and doctors who already checked my kidney function and told me it’s just fine. I could have just asked her. She talked about the meridian points and how she did believe that fibromyalgia was caused by trauma to the central nervous system, and that something would happen to a person and our sensors would get stuck in a memory that didn’t work. Something like that. I’m not sure her exact words, but I would equate it to a broken record. The record keeps skipping and skipping until you fix the scratch in the record and get the needle to move past the scratch and then music plays so nicely. I guess she was equating fibromyalgia to the scratch and this meridian point stuff to moving the needle and getting the record to play properly.


I don’t know. I really don’t. It sounds a bit too new age and surreal for me. I believe in a lot of new age stuff, but I’m not really sure that I believe in chakras or meridians or any of that stuff. My first reaction was that she’s simply saying it’s all in our heads. I asked her if she believed that. She doesn’t. I guess I don’t know enough about the central nervous system to even know what meridian points are. How do we know that it is not our imagination that tells us something like tapping like an idiot on our own chests gives us enough energy to mow the entire acre of yard in one afternoon? How do we know that the tapping action wasn’t just coincidental with a good day where we really do have more energy? How do we know we won’t have a flare up three days later?

I guess I’ll be doing more research on meridian points. The jury in my head is still out. What say my faithful readers? What’s your experience with meridian points? Voodoo or real science?

(Picture borrowed from



  1. Hmmmmmmmm…. sounds a lot like those different colored energy points that you are suposed to focus on to “charge” your body’s inner healing potential. While I don’t deny that some meditation (fancy word for quiet reflection and positive thinking) can sometimes refocus you and help you relax, I think it is simply being relaxed that is making you feel a little better. The pain is still there… you are just in a better frame of mind to deal with it.

  2. “Hmmmmm” is right. when i had nerve damage to my foot due to a nasty break, i was told about meridians & blocked energy. like you, i was skeptical. i dunno….maybe there is truth, maybe not. i do think that the mind can be quite powerful. in some cases, if you truly, deep down believe something will work, it just might. having a positive attitude reduces stress, which allows your body to have more energy to focus on healing. however, there are many times when no amount of positive thinking is going to “cure” you.

    despite having my meridians worked on almost ten yrs ago, i still can’t feel half of my foot or move 3 toes. apparently, i’m still blocked. 🙂

    if having the treatment relaxes you, go for it. the simple act of relaxing might relieve some of your symptoms. the treatments for my nerve damage were calming. as a mother to two small boys at the time, calming was good. after awhile, it got too expensive and time consuming which dramatically reduced the calming effect.

  3. Mermaid and Tammy: I agree with you both. I believe that contempt prior to investigation is not a good thing, so I always keep an open mind. But as much as I know about fibromyalgia, stress exacerbates the central nervous system issue (although fibro is not caused by stress alone) so staying calm and relaxed is key. Mermaid, you have a good point about the expense and time adding to the stress. How true.

    I know the mind is powerful which is why I try to stay positive, but if we were advanced enough to be able to think our way out of illness there’d be no more breast cancer, heart disease, on down the list.

    It also occurred to me over the weekend that my PT is focusing on the energy aspect of fibro – that comes and goes as we know. Sometimes I have tons of energy. It’s the pain and stiffness the next day that is the real kicker.

  4. I’ve dealt with some really kooky doctors and massage therapists thoughout this whole Fibro thing. The thing that really used to get me was the underlying message that people with Fibromyalgia bring this on themselves through faulty thinking, and that if I could just get “unblocked” of this mind problem, my body would heal itself. Now I just blow stupid stuff like this off, and try to stay open to the techniques and possible solutions that they can offer. I might now agree with the philosophy behind what they’re telling me, but I’ll try almost anything, just to see if it works.

  5. I’m with you, MBMQ. There might be something worthwhile in some of the stuff they suggest. However, I really think that tapping on my chest like she was doing – which hurt, btw, cuz it was hard and right on the tender points – likely offsets whatever benefit it’s supposed to offer. Not only that, it looks really stupid. LOL.

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