Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a mysterious condition. There is no known cause. While the symptoms can be debilitating, there is no test to diagnosis it. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with CFS. And most sufferers are between 25 and 45 years old, although there are cases in childhood and middle age.
Some people with CFS live active lives while 25% of the cases are disabled. Sometimes the disease is persistent and other times there is a pattern of relapse and remission. No one knows how many cases there are of CFS because The CFIDS Association of America estimates that fewer than 20 percent of CFS patients in the United States have been properly diagnosed.
CFS has several names. It is called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). No matter what it is called, the most effective way to manage chronic fatigue is with alternative treatments.
Chronic Fatigue and Alternative Treatments
The most successful way to manage fatigue is with alternative treatments. This includes everything from lifestyle changes to yoga to acupuncture. Chronic fatigue varies greatly from one person to the next. Each person needs an individualized plan.
Successful management of chronic fatigue requires a healthy lifestyle—basically everything you probably already know you should be doing. Taking care of yourself is the first step to reducing your symptoms.
- Pace yourself. Avoid packing too much into your day. Keep an even, moderate pace to your daily activities. Allow time for rest, especially at the end of your day. A short rest in the mid-afternoon can also be very helpful.
- Eat well. Avoid refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats. Eat fresh vegetables (organic and local, whenever possible), complex carbohydrates, high quality protein and essential fatty acids (nuts, seeds and cold water fish).
- Sleep well. Get plenty of sleep every night; consider regular naps.
- Reduce stress.
- Exercise regularly.
Yoga, Qi Gong and Meditation
Many people find relief from their symptoms with a regular yoga, qi gong or meditation routine. Yoga, qi gong and meditation help reduce stress and some of the discomfort from your symptoms. Yoga and qi gong stimulate circulation of qi and blood to your internal organs, muscles and tendons. This can help to increase energy and reduce or alleviate some symptoms.
There are many herbs that help manage chronic fatigue and reduce the symptoms.
I highly recommend that you get herbal recommendations specific to your constitution from a fully trained practitioner of Chinese Medicine. There are many Chinese formulas that address not only the symptoms, but the imbalances that are causing your condition. Taking herbs that are not appropriate for you can make you feel worse and aggravate your condition. I can do a full evaluation to determine which herbs are best for you.
Homeopathy is a great way to reestablish balance in your body and relieve symptoms. I am not a Classically trained homeopath but I am trained in the use of homeopathic formulas to aid the body in detoxification and reestablishing balance.
Chiropractic care can realign your vertebra and relieve or reduce many symptoms associated with CFS.
Massage is a great alternative treatment for chronic fatigue. It stimulates the circulation of qi and blood and helps to reduce stress, relieve pain, tension and depression.
I highly recommend getting emotional support for chronic fatigue. Not only are you in extreme discomfort, but your condition can seem invisible to people around you. They may not know how to support you and may even question if you are sick. Also managing chronic fatigue can mean major lifestyle changes at a time when you feel depleted.
There are several acupressure points that may help relieve your symptoms. These points can help CFS in general, but it’s always good to get recommendations from your acupuncturist for the points that are best for you. If you do a web search you will find sites that show you how to locate the acupressure points listed below.
- Stomach #36. Use this point to increase your immune function and get energy.
- Kidney #3. This point fortifies the kidney-adrenal system.
- Large Intestine #4. This point relieves pain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands illnesses as patterns of imbalance. Because of this, chronic fatigue is not understood as a single disease. Instead, the symptoms of CF are the result of several different patterns of disharmony. The most common organ systems affected are the spleen, liver or kidney, but I can’t define CF as a single TCM diagnosis.
Your treatment is unique to you and your body. After I take your history, check your pulses and look at your tongue, I can give you a better idea of how acupuncture can help you. But in all cases, acupuncture can help relieve your symptoms and, even more importantly, build your health. As a fully trained and certified, licensed acupuncturist, I can identify the underlying disharmonies that are causing your symptoms. I can then guide you in making the best dietary and lifestyle changes and prescribe the correct herbal or homeopathic formulas for you. Call me today so you can start to feel healthy again.
Photo: By frank wouters from antwerpen, belgium , België , Belgique (uil) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons