In the past few years, there has been an increasing focus on chronic diseases and their impact on everyday life. One such disease that continuously pops up is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis. CFS is a debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by any underlying medical condition. There are a multitude of treatments for it. In this article, I will cover some holistic treatments for CFS and actions patients can take to reduce the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Scientists and doctors have been mapping out the complex nature of this syndrome to better understand its causes and find effective treatments. CFS is a multisystem disease, which severely affects cognitive functions, sleep patterns, autonomic function, and leads to post-exertional malaise. These severe symptoms substantially impair a patient’s ability to perform physical activity and even mental activity.
Various theories have been suggested related to CFS’s pathogenesis, including immune function alteration, natural killer cell dysfunction, hormonal regulation changes, and response to oxidative stress. Yet, the exact mechanism remains unclear. CFS isn’t just a simple disease; it’s a biological condition that causes severe fatigue and muscle pain.
What Causes CFS?
Researchers have been trying to identify the cause of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and while there is insufficient evidence, they have suggested a variety of theories. While the exact cause is still unknown, many believe that it is a result of an immune system dysfunction, hormonal regulation changes, or response to oxidative stress.
Other possible causes are viral infections, psychological stress, allergies, heavy metal poisoning, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Additionally, some experts believe that CFS may be linked to genetic predisposition. Stressful life events and/or certain viruses are also thought to play a role in the onset of this condition as they can activate existing genetic abnormalities. It is said that chronic fatigue syndrome is found in people that also have some type of anxiety disorder.
Who Can Have CFS?
It is estimated that 17 million people worldwide suffer from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Anyone at any age can be affected by this disease, although it more commonly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It has also been found to affect women more often than men, with about 75% of those diagnosed being female.
Although anyone can have CFS, there are certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These include having a weakened immune system, experiencing prolonged stress or trauma, having an anxiety disorder, or suffering from undiagnosed sleep disturbances. Those who have low blood pressure may also show symptoms for CFS.
The Impact of CFS on Daily Life
So, how does CFS impact daily life? The adverse effects of CFS are profound. For example, it can hamper a person’s ability to:
- Keep a job
- Attend school
- Perform daily tasks such as taking a shower or preparing a meal.
- Have high activity levels
The severity of these effects can drastically decrease the quality of life. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of CFS are crucial to prevent high morbidity and improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with CFS.
Some common symptoms of CFS include generalized fatigue, persistent exhaustion, muscle pain and joint pain, headaches, cognitive difficulties, and sleep disturbances. Individuals with CFS often experience a significant decrease in their ability to participate in daily activities and may also have additional symptoms such as sore throat, tender lymph nodes, poor sleep quality, and digestive issues that can severely impact a person’s quality of life.
Self-Care Strategies for Managing CFS
Self-management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) involves a balanced lifestyle with a balanced diet that includes both physical and restive practices. Recognizing and respecting physical limits is key. Here are a few of the usual care strategies you can implement yourself, which have been known to be effective in managing CFS.
Rest and Energy Conservation Techniques
Balance Rest and Activity Management: Avoiding both excessive physical activity and excessive bed rest is crucial. The key is to find a balance between activity and rest. For instance, it’s beneficial to alternate periods of activity with periods of rest throughout the day. Listen to your body as best as you can, and don’t feel guilty about being inactive. Inactivity can have beneficial effects on your body when you experience CFS symptoms. And nothing good can come from emotional exertion and physical exertion.
Manage your Energy Expenditures: Patients with CFS may find success with the Energy Envelope Theory, which involves maintaining a manageable level of activity without excessively expending energy. Patients need to recognize their limits for physical activity and make sure they don’t exceed their limits. Having an activity diary can help with keeping track of your energy expenditures.
Energy Conservation: Dividing large tasks into smaller steps can be useful in conserving energy. Taking frequent breaks is a key component to avoid overexertion and generalized fatigue. Having the goal of pacing yourself can help you fight this chronic illness.
Healthy Sleep Habits for CFS Patients
Consistent Resting Schedule: Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
Create a Restful Environment: Keep your sleep area quiet, dark, and comfortable.
Limit Daytime Naps: Too much sleep during the day can make nighttime sleep more difficult.
Limit Stimulants: This includes caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bedtime.
Managing CFS’s core symptoms requires patients and health care providers to work together to find a balance that works. Some patients that have CFS also have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, so it’s important to take care of yourself and ensure you’re getting enough sleep if needed even with approved sleep aids. Dealing with this type of destabilizing syndrome can cause depressive disorders or anxiety disorders, which is why self-care strategies, lifestyle modifications, and keeping an activity diary can go a long way in managing this condition and improving the quality of life for those coping with CFS.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
With the diverse natural therapies available, many find relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) through non-conventional treatments.
While conventional treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may not always provide satisfactory results, alternative therapeutic approaches may offer promising alternatives. These approaches focus on addressing the underlying causes of CFS and aim to provide pain relief from its debilitating symptoms.
Acupuncture is an age-old Chinese method involving the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. It’s deemed to help reduce both emotional and physical fatigue in CFS patients. However, always ensure that you reach out to a licensed and certified practitioner for this alternative method.
Massage therapy in particular a kind of Chinese massage called Tui Na, has emerged as another favorable alternative. Several CFS sufferers vouch for its effectiveness in alleviating pain and fatigue.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral Therapy is a widely used approach for managing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Cognitive-behavioral Therapy aims to help individuals with CFS by addressing the psychological and behavioral factors that contribute to their symptoms. This behavioral therapy focuses on changing negative thought patterns, improving coping skills, and gradually increasing activity levels to manage extreme fatigue. A study found that Cognitive Behavior Therapy and exercise therapy (GET) are safe treatments for CFS and they both showed effectiveness in reducing tiredness and improving functional impairment.
Adaptive Pacing Therapy (APT)
APT focuses on helping individuals with CFS learn to manage their energy levels. In APT, the aim is to gradually increase the level of activity over time, but being wary not to exceed more than 70% of what patients feel is their available energy. By pacing themselves and listening to their body’s signals, individuals can avoid overexertion and prevent worsening symptoms. APT has been found to be effective in reducing fatigue and improving overall functioning in individuals with CFS.
Research has shown that exercise therapy can be highly beneficial for individuals with CFS, helping to improve their physical functioning and reducing fatigue levels. It’s been known to be especially effective for patients with depression. Exercise therapy for CFS typically involves a gradual and individualized approach, starting with gentle physical exercises, or aerobic exercises and gradually increasing intensity and duration over time. It is important for individuals with CFS to work closely with health care providers who specialize in this area to design a safe and effective exercise program that suits their specific needs and capabilities. Having a vigorous exercise schedule can make symptoms worse and have adverse effects. Make sure to keep an activity diary so you are keeping track of what’s working, and what’s making your symptoms worse.
Dietary Supplements and Herbal Remedies for Symptom Relief
The role of nutritional and dietary supplements in managing CFS symptoms has been subject to many debates, with some claiming positive effects and others claiming no effects. Although there has been much debate, there are a few herbal remedies and nutritional supplements that are recommended for those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome.
- NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) supplements – NADH is a chemical made in your body from niacin, a type of B vitamin. NADH helps your body make energy.
- Magnesium supplements – Taking magnesium can help make up for a deficiency as researchers have report that magnesium deficiency is common in people with CFS.
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements – Some researchers hypothesize that omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate oxidative stress.
- Ginseng – Ginseng is a natural nutritional supplement that has been known to help with CFS symptoms and reducing feelings of generalized fatigue.
While these methods might have beneficial effects and help alleviate the core symptoms of ME/CFS, their implementation should always be under your health care provider’s guidance. They can help research possible side effects and evidence of efficacy of the nutritional supplements to help you determine what could work best for your specific condition. Some doctors may point you in a different direction, like utilizing muscle relaxants or analgesic drugs instead of using nutritional supplements. The key component is just making sure that whatever treatment plan or treatment recommendations provided are tailored to you have positive effects on your lifestyle, not adverse effects.
Support and Lifestyle Changes for CFS
Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, can be mentally and physically exhausting, especially if your physical symptoms worsen over time. This section will outline some lifestyle changes and support strategies that can help manage your symptoms of profound tiredness and your mental health effectively.
Building a Supportive Network of Friends and Family
Dealing with CFS can prove isolating due to decreased physical capability and functional impairment along with the general lack of awareness around the condition in the wider community. It becomes imperative to build a support network of understanding friends, family, and health care team.
Here are a few ways to build a supportive network:
- Educate your close circle: Share reliable information sources and eligible studies about CFS with your friends and family so they can understand your condition and offer the right kind of support.
- Utilize Support Groups: Connecting with others who are also facing CFS can be a reliable source of comfort and understanding. Support groups can provide practical advice, encouragement, and a safe space to express your feelings.
Adapting Daily Activities and Prioritizing Self-Care
How one adapts to daily activities can play a large role in managing CFS. Here are some strategies:
- Practice Pacing: According to a previous study, an Activity Pacing Self-Management approach is a form of activity management that can optimize participation in daily life activities and help with profound tiredness. Keeping an activity diary may help with keeping track of what makes you tired, and what helps reduce your symptoms.
- Self-Care: Given that the severe symptoms of CFS can fluctuate and become worse at times, it is crucial to plan ahead and ensure self-care. Having a comfortable place to rest, getting adequate sleep, and practicing stress management techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness can be helpful.
- Workplace Adjustments: If you’re working, discuss potential accommodations with your employer such as flexible hours, lighter duties or the possibility of working from home.
Living with CFS can be challenging. However, building a robust support network and adapting one’s lifestyle can significantly make the journey smoother. Remember, you are not alone and there are resources and people ready to help.
The Importance of Individualized Treatment Plans for CFS
Every condition has a multitude of underlying conditions which include imbalances biochemically, nutritionally, emotionally and structurally. Considering the complexity of the condition, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” treatment. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one such condition I do individualized testing for, to figure out the causes in regard to the body’s chemistry as well as emotional patterning that will cause symptoms from this condition.
The first step to treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is to determine the underlying causes. This can be done through a variety of tests including blood work, nutritional testing, and emotional assessment. Blood work helps to determine if there are any vitamin or mineral deficiencies that may be contributing to CFS. Nutritional testing can help identify food sensitivities or intolerances which can also contribute to CFS symptoms.
It’s crucial to remember that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients often experience a fluctuating pattern of illness, with symptoms waxing and waning. Temporary remission is common, but so are relapses, underscoring the need for ongoing, adaptable, and patient-focused management methods.
The following points highlight the importance of individualized treatment and medical care for CFS:
- It takes into account individual variety in symptoms and their severity, including improvements in symptoms and worsening of symptoms, giving a more targeted treatment.
- It respects patient’s specific needs and preferences, making it more acceptable for the patient.
- It enables continuous adaptations and improvements, providing dynamic solutions suited to relapses or other changes.
In hindsight, all proposed medical care should seek to alleviate symptoms and improve performance in daily activities. These may include proper administration of nutritional supplements, counseling, or personalized pacing programs, which all deal with the patient’s physical strength and mental health.
Remember, chronic illnesses like CFS need ongoing care and attention. Patient education and support from health care professionals are paramount to remind patients that they’re not alone in their journey.
Neuro-Emotional Technique As A Treatment for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) is by far the most scientifically proven technique for changing the brain and subconscious patterning, as well as the farthest-reaching process in its scope of transforming the body and mind. Its basis is to find and remove emotional physio-pathological patterns, which are called Neuro Emotional Complexes (NECs).
NET is a mind-body methodology of finding and removing neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress and physical symptoms. This technique allows access to the neurology of repetitive patterns, which deliver repeated negative results thereby profoundly impacting our perceptions, actions and health. It helps clients unhook the mechanisms of these patterns and gain the ability to control their lives.
One of the tenets in NET is to address emotions, chemistry, toxicity, nutrition and structure. In NET, the practitioner evaluates mental, emotional and physical symptoms, then uses muscle testing to identify underlying stressors. Once identified, these stressors can be neutralized through the use of various techniques.
Ultimately, NET assists in clients’ re-connection to their true selves and may help with treating the symptoms of those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complex illness with a wide range of symptoms that can vary from person to person. While the symptoms may be similar, the underlying cause of CFS can differ for each individual. In order to determine the origin of the illness, it is necessary to conduct tests on the body. Utilizing NET can help identify whether the cause of CFS lies in biochemical imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, structural issues, or emotional factors. By understanding the specific factors contributing to CFS in each person, appropriate treatment and management strategies can be developed to address their unique needs.
Free One-On-One Consultation With A Certified Holistic & NET Practitioner
No one deserves to live a life without wellness. My goal is to provide holistic care and help people achieve whole-body healing with a care plan that includes natural treatments, alternative medicine (nutritional supplements or mineral supplements), and alternative therapies. You deserve compassion, holistic health & wellness, and freedom. You deserve to have an absence of illness and harmful health effects that lessen your quality of life.
If you are struggling with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the generalized fatigue that comes with it and not receiving the help you deserve, I encourage you to reach out for a free one-on-one consultation. I will assist you in achieving your health, emotional and spiritual goals through an effective treatment plan that works for you.
I have a global client base and have the ability to create an online program tailored just to you. I welcome you to visit my Westwood office or to contact me by phone, FaceTime, or Skype.