Around a quarter of a million people in the UK are diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS. It’s a growing problem and I have a particular interest in as it had been the beginning of my journey into holistic health care. Since qualifying as a Medical Herbalist I’ve treated a lot of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and made a few interesting observations that I want to share with you.
Without exception, every single CFS individual I’ve met, including myself, has pushed themselves to a point where their body has forced them to stop. Where some people would have a nervous breakdown when the stress becomes too much, in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome we see the physical equal. Put very simply, the individual has exhausted themselves to the point where their hormones, nervous system, immune system and several other parts can’t function properly.
Fixing all that requires a radical shift in mindset and lifestyle in addition to intensive treatment. In the first’90’s when I had it, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was nicknamed’Yuppie Flu’ and with good reason. It affects those who aim high, tend towards perfectionism, rather than take the time to recognise their own achievements. These patterns often run quite deep and one theory is they’re rooted in a need for praise from early youth.
Good to know
Whatever the case, without making drastic changes to this mindset it is practically impossible to find any lasting improvement. In my case it was just when I gave up any hope of going back to college and obtaining any GCSE’s which I began to make any headway with my recovery. Psychologists have long talked about’secondary gain’ and this is as important in CFS as anything else.
My Reiki Master taught that’your body will always get you from what you do not wish to do’ and over the years I have discovered that’s true. It’s not so for everyone, but I’ve lost count of the amount of individuals I’ve had who have been on sick leave for quite a while and once we’ve talked about it, they are very unhappy at work. If a patient’s perception is that healing will have negative consequences in other areas of their life, eg they will be expected to run around after the rest of the household, or visit a job they hate, it is going to hamper recovery until that is addressed.
I don’t suggest that CFS patients combine any social or support networking groups unless they’re positively focussed on retrieval. If you would like to make a fantastic recovery you want to surround yourself with people who will support that and allow you to stay positive even on bad days. It’s very common to find that before any CFS symptoms began, patients were skipping meals or not eating in a manner that fuelled their body satisfactorily.
If you are going to live life in the airport, you require premium fuel. To put it differently, the more you stress your body, the more nutrients you will need to take care of it.
- Eat small, regular meals made from healthy wholefoods.
- Avoid sugars, alcohol and caffeine.
- Make sure you’re ready to digest food and absorb nutrients efficiently.
- Supplement with essential nutrients for energy release and muscle fatigue.
The attractiveness of Herbal Medicine is that it is tailored to meet each patient’s needs at the moment, which is really important as CFS patients begin to recuperate. Each herb has multiple activities, and a single group of herbs called Adaptogens help the body from its stress response even if a stressful situation is continuing. This is invaluable in treating individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since anxiety isn’t only a cause but a consequence (being sick is stressful!) . By lowering the amount of stress hormones, improving digestion, strengthening the immune system, and addressing anything else that is out of equilibrium, herbs can play a very important role in recovery.