Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease which is not very well understood by most people and is not really treatable by western medicine. Many doctors still have difficulty giving a diagnosis of this disease, because there is no specific blood test or exam which can indicate clearly that the person is indeed suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Also, there are many other diseases which can cause an important loss of energy, such as:
- Lyme disease
- hypothyroid problems
- and irritable bowel syndrome, for example
It is important to not confuse chronic fatigue syndrome with depression, as someone with chronic fatigue syndrome can still appreciate pleasure in life.
They simply lose energy quickly, which creates frustration and a feeling of being imprisoned by the disease.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by an inexplicable tiredness, which lasts for more than 6 months. The tiredness is worse after any physical or mental effort, and lasts for more than 24 hours after the effort. People with this disease also don’t wake up feeling rested, as they tend to have a lot of difficulty sleeping. The majority of people tend to have inexplicable muscular aches and pains similar to pains caused by fibromyalgia. As if that wasn’t enough, this disease also causes neurological problems (confusion, memory loss, difficulty concentrating), can affect the autonomic nervous system (dizziness, nausea, drop in blood pressure, etc.), and can create problems with the immune system (frequent sore throat, repetitive flu symptoms, appearance of allergies, etc.). Due to all of these symptoms, the health of the person affected by this disease deteriorates rapidly and easily affects their professional and personal lives.
People of all ages (even children) can have this disease. However, adults in their 40’s and 50’s seem to be the most frequently affected, and women seem to be 2 to 4 times more likely to have it as well. Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome led a healthy and active life before the disease struck. The cause of the disease is still unknown, although research seems to be leaning towards a virus or a dysfunction in the immune system as being the ultimate catalyst.
For anyone with chronic fatigue syndrome, treatments are aimed a easing the symptoms.
- Excessive activity and stress should be kept to a minimum, as these can worsen the symptoms.
- Every day should include a form of relaxation, such as: listening to music, meditation, visualisation, etc.
- Sleeping well should be a priority.
- Participating in a support group is an excellent idea, because even the best intentioned family and friends can never really understand the hardships of this disease like someone else who suffers from it.
- Finally, refrain from caffeine, alcohol, and foods which release sugar rapidly into the body, as they can create higher levels of tiredness after consumption.
There is no specific treatment in western medicine for chronic fatigue syndrome. Medications can be given in the short-term to help with sleep problems or pain, but many people who suffer from this disease are often overly sensitive to medications. The best approach is to come to an understanding of what your body is telling you.
What are your limits? What do you need to do or to eat in order to feel better and stronger? What do you need to do in order to improve your sleep?
As far as other therapies, anyone with this disease should search out any way to help reduce the symptoms of their disease without straining their bodily resources. A few suggestions are: Millepertuis and light therapy for depression; aromatherapy, melatonin, and craniosacral therapy for better sleep; reishi mushrooms and ginseng to help tonify the body; yoga, meditation, and abdominal respiration for the tiredness.
Acupuncture can help with this disease on many levels.
Importantly, acupuncture can help to reinforce the body in order to create a reservoir of energy so that the feeling of tiredness is lessened. As importantly, acupuncture works on improving the immune, autonomic nervous, and neuroendocrine systems, so that all the secondary symptoms to the fatigue are lessened. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for this disease, but with the perseverance and support of family and empathetic health-care professionals, the health of anyone with this disease can be dramatically improved.