23 November 2016

Why We Get Chronic Fatigue Syndrome



By Hannah Charman


Around a quarter of a million people in the UK are diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS. It's a growing problem and one I have a special interest in as it was the start of my own journey into holistic healthcare. Since qualifying as a Medical Herbalist I've treated numerous patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and made a few interesting observations which I'd like to share with you here.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is A Physical Breakdown

Without exception, every single CFS patient I have 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 gets too much, in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome we see the physical equivalent. Put very simply, the person has exhausted themselves to the point where their hormones, nervous system, immune system and various other parts can no longer function properly. Fixing all that takes a drastic change in mindset and lifestyle as well as intensive treatment.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Not Necessarily Difficult To Treat (But The Type Of Person Who Gets It Is)

In the early '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, and never take time to recognise their own achievements. These patterns often run very deep and one theory is that they're rooted in a need for praise from early childhood. In any case, without making drastic changes to this mindset it's virtually impossible to get any lasting improvement. In my own case it was only when I gave up any hope of going back to school and getting any GCSE's that I started to make any headway with my recovery.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Can Be Quite Comfortable For Some Patients

Psychologists have long talked about 'secondary gain' and this is as relevant in CFS as anything else. My Reiki Master taught that 'your body will always get you out of what you don't want to do' and over the years I have noticed that's true. It's not so for everyone, but I've lost count of the number of patients I've had who've been on sick leave for some time and when we've talked about it, they're very unhappy at work. If a patient's perception is that recovery will have negative consequences in other areas of their life, eg they'll be expected to run around after the rest of the family, or return to a job they hate, it will hamper recovery until that's addressed.

I don't recommend that CFS patients join any support or social media groups unless they are positively focussed on recovery. If you want to make a good recovery you need to surround yourself with people who will support that and help you to stay positive even on bad days.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Invariably Linked To Blood Sugar Problems

It's extremely common to find that even before any CFS symptoms started, patients were either skipping meals or not eating in a way that fuelled their body adequately. If you're going to live life in the fast lane, you need premium fuel. In other words, the more you stress your body, the more nutrients you need to deal with it. It's vital that patients do each of these:

• Eat small, regular meals made from healthy wholefoods.

• Avoid sugars, caffeine and alcohol.

• Make sure you're able to digest food and absorb nutrients effectively.

• Supplement with key nutrients for energy release and muscle fatigue.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Responds Very Well To Herbal Medicine

The beauty of Herbal Medicine is that it's tailored to meet each patient's needs at the time, and that's really important as CFS patients start to recover. Each herb has multiple actions, and one group of herbs called Adaptogens help the body out of its stress response even when a stressful situation is ongoing. This is invaluable in treating people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome because stress is not only a cause but a consequence (being ill is stressful!). By reducing the levels of stress hormones, improving digestion, strengthening the immune system, and addressing anything else which is out of balance, herbs can play a vital role in recovery.


Do You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Get Help Now at http://www.physichealth.uk

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