Chronic Fatigue is characterised by a group of symptoms which may include weakness, poor digestion, shortness of breath, dizziness, flushing, irritability, insomnia, muscle pain, sensitivity to the environment, poor concentration, memory loss etc. However the major problem is the incapacitating fatigue and its accompanying depression.
According to Western Medicine the cause may be an abnormal immune response to a virus. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees it as a deficiency of Qi which is the life force of the body. Without it, the bodily functions either slow down, cease or go haywire, hence the variety of symptoms. Where the Qi is weak and the person is affected by what would otherwise be a mild illness, the virus becomes the last straw and the body is pushed into the sickness range of CFS.
You are an individual and you condition is specific to you. No one else suffers CFS in the exact way you do, so the treatment needs to be tailored for you. By doing this we hope to make it possible for you to do the work necessary to regain your health and wellbeing.
As CFS is a combination of internal and external factors, a combined approach is necessary. As well as clearing viruses or parasites we need to build the Qi and move the Qi to prevent it becoming stagnant. Of course, this will take time. Remember, it took time to get into this state in the first place.
After any effective treatment to increase the Qi in the body there will be a reaction. This very reaction, while it may initially make you feel even worse, is an indicator that the treatment is working. However, for someone who already feels very ill, this apparent deterioration can be very frightening and depressing. This is where it is a good idea to talk to another person who has been there and can tell the story of recovery. In some cases it may be difficult to talk to friends or family as they can have their own issues with the changes your CFS has brought to their lives.
Treatment includes: Diet: Should be adequately nourishing and avoid allergies. Trying to deal with substances you are allergic to just uses Qi that is needed for healing. As you get stronger you will again be able to enjoy a full range of foods.
Infections: In CFS there is an inevitable series of infections that come when your immune system is low and these can often be effectively treated with Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. It is also necessary to clear what is known in TCM as “pathogenic factor remaining”, where an original bacterial or viral infection has not been fully expelled from the body and remains sub-clinical and stagnant in the body; or where many suppressing medications have been taken eg. antibiotics, anti-flu medication, antidepressants etc.
Rebuild the Qi: Acupuncture and herbs can strongly strengthen the Qi. Treatment needs to be regular, weekly and may continue for many months depending on your age, severity and duration of illness. Intermittent treatments are not as effective and only prolong the process.
Exercise: A person suffering from CFS has no energy to spare for exercise but the body must move. Qi Gong is an exercise method for the internal generation of Qi and can be done at a level to suit the most incapacitated person. Gradually, as the strength increases, so do the exercises.
Habits: An understanding of our way of life, personality and our habitual methods of dealing with stress, is necessary in order to prevent us from falling back into the same patterns and problems again and again. There are many different meditation techniques to help change these habitual responses.
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