By Namrata Gulati
There’s how to heal from chronic fatigue syndrome and return to robust health and vitality
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterised by profound and prolonged mental and physical exhaustion, not relieved by rest. It is a flu-like illness, which sometimes lasts for years. It engulfs the patient, draining his/her energy.Dr Tanwar, a homeopathic doctor in Gurgaon, explains the difference between chronic fatigue and CFS. Over-exertion is the primary cause of chronic fatigue, which can generally be treated without medicine and by taking adequate rest. CFS, chiefly defined by a group of symptoms listed below, is not necessarily a result of inadequate rest. It is more due to a faulty lifestyle of bad eating and sleeping habits.
Signs and symptoms:
The primary sign of CFS is persistent fatigue that makes it extremely difficult for the patient to perform day-to-day activities • The hallmark feature of CFS is post-exertional malaise, and fatigue of inappropriate severity that lasts for more than 24 hours following physical exertion
• Tiredness and insufficient sleep are one of the primary signs of CFS. Even after a long period of sleep, a person with CFS wakes up in the morning feeling stiff and tired
• Poor memory and/or concentration
• Sore throat
• Muscle soreness
• Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling
• Headaches of a new type, pattern or strength
• Mood disorders like depression and anxiety Though we do not know a definite cause for CFS, some of the conditions listed below may lead to chronic fatigue in the body:
• Age: it is most common between the ages of 40 and 60
• Genetic factors: a person is more vulnerable to the illness if anyone in his family has been affected by it
• Gender: women are more prone to it than men
• Brain and immune system abnormalities: a hyper-reactive immune system is one of the main causes of CFS. Imbalances in the white blood cells known as T-cells are responsible for aberrations in the system
• Emotional conditions: an emotional condition (for instance, depression) like the death of a close relative or unemployment for a long time or any other kind of distress or trauma may trigger chronic fatigue
CFS is an ailment that takes time to treat since the recovery is slow. Following are some of the effective means to treat chronic fatigue:
Medication: Pain relievers, anti-depressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors help cure CFS. For instance, tricyclic anti-depressants like desipramine help deal with depression. Herbal supplements like ginseng (100-300mg twice a day) may help with symptoms of chronic fatigue. • Managing activity levels: The focus here is on maintaining a moderate level of daily activities and gently increasing stamina. For instance, starting with low-energy consuming tasks and later, progressing to tasks which require higher levels of concentration and energy
• Balancing periods of activity and rest: This measure is important in order to reduce stress and pain, improve sleep and mental health. The patient should improve his sleeping patterns For instance, keep regular habits by getting up at the same time in the morning every day and sleeping at the same time at night, even on weekends. Avoid afternoon naps
• Exercise programme: Developing a gradual but steady exercise programme is extremely significant. The patient must never begin with rigorous exercises. Avoid over-exertion
• Professional counselling: A professional counsellor will help build skills to cope with the illness.
• Healthy diet: Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and junk food. Instead, include fresh vegetables and legumes in the diet.
• Support groups: Many people find it therapeutic to meet other people who suffer from the same illness. Support groups can provide patients with useful, current information, and at the same time, give a sense of community.
Other alternative therapies:
Bhavna Bhardwaj, a reiki grandmaster explains reiki as “spiritually guided life force energy, which can be transferred from one being to another from any part of the world”. In reiki, she says, we interpret CFS in terms of the health and relationships the patient maintained in his/her past life.Bhavna adds that CFS can be treated by reiki through symbols, which have the power to heal the past. She shares the experience of treating Rajesh Sharma, an accountant (name changed) with severe depression (one of the major signs of CFS) who was healed by the grandmaster in seven days. Rajesh now lives a normal and happy life.
Ayurvedic view of fibromyalgia and CFS:
Dr Shashikant Patwardhan, an expert in ayurveda and yoga, says that fibromyalgia chronic syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterised by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. Tender points are specific places on the body – the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and upper and lower extremities – where people with fibromyalgia feel pain in response to slight pressure. While the severity of symptoms fluctuates from person to person, fibromyalgia may resemble a post-viral state. This similarity is the reason experts believe that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and CFS may actually be the same condition. Fibromyalgia can be described as ‘mansa dhatugat and mansavrut vata’ and is perceived as a vata imbalance. Vata is the main imbalance and aggravated vata destabilises the nervous system and can create hypersensitivity leading to pain and tenderness. Accumulation of ama (toxins) and shrotorodha are also contributory factors. Ayurveda has specific ways to treat the condition.
Panchakarma therapy:< br/> The therapy includes pre-purification measures – snehan and swedan to balance vata and remove toxins. Snehan refers to herbal oil massage over the entire body, immediately followed by swedan, or sweating. The movements in the ma sage create heat and friction, which enhances circulation, and helps cleanse the areas of chemical impurities that could be aggravating and hyper-sensitising nerve tissues.
It is well known that fibromyalgia is often worsened by heightened stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. There are hormonal changes and other biochemical responses to stress that can aggravate the nervous system, and the immune response. Sleep disturbance that is often created by fibromyalgia symptoms increases fatigue, which in turn increases one’s susceptibility to stress, which in turn aggravates the fibromyalgia condition. Meditation, yoga, pranayama and study of spiritual literature are recommended for supporting personal healing and relaxation of the mind. Yogasana: Stretching exercises are known to have a positive effect on fibromyalgia. Regular practice of different postures is helpful in creating flexibility. Breathing practices also create a state of restful alertness in mind and body. Progressive deep relaxation, like shavasana brings about a relaxed mental state and prepares the mind for meditation.
• Daily use of the ayurvedic compound ‘Triphala choorna’ is recommended to cleanse the colon.
• Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm water helps to reduce pain and inflammation in fibrom-yalgia. Dosage: twice a day
• Garlic is useful for detoxification and strengthening the immune system function.
• Guggul is a good herbal pain reliever.
According to Dr Ajit Kumar, acupressure expert, extreme fatigue in the body is often a result of improper blood circulation. Applying mild pressure at specific points of particular areas is helpful in relieving pain. Besides, this therapy has no side-effects.Some of the points where pressure can be applied to bring relief to joint pain are five to six inches above the knee cap, below the knee cap and exactly behind the knee cap.He also suggests using an acupressure plate regularly for three minutes twice a day.
Contact:Dr Bhavna Bhardwaj: email@example.com
Dr Ajit Kumar: Ph: 011-22791178
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MEANING :-These include:
a) Massage: During a massage, a therapist manipulates your body’s soft tissues – muscles, skin and tendons, using the fingertips, hands and fists thus improving blood circulation.
b) Deep breathing techniques: During deep breathing, there is maximum intake of oxygen and release of toxins.BENEFITS :-These techniques help manage stress, depression and anxiety through relaxation of the body and mind.
Therapy :-Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Meaning :-Developing behaviours and strategies to improve quality of daily life and cope with the illness. A typical cognitive therapy programme may involve the measures of confronting or discouraging negative thoughts, keeping a diary, etc
Banefits :-Helps to think differently about the fatigue and improves the ability to deal with stressful situations and manage the disorder.
Therapy :-Healing touch
Meaning :-An energy-based therapeutic approach to health and healing built upon a philosophy of caring. It follows the understanding that all living things emit energy. Gentle touch is used to influence the energy system, thus affecting physical, emotional and spiritual health and healing.
Banefits :-Promotes relaxation in the body which releases endorphins in the brain, relaxing the muscles and triggering messages in the brain that help the body to heal itself.
Essential oils (like basil, lavender, peppermint) having stimulating and energising properties are used to relax the body.
Banefits :-Combats depression and anxiety, energises the body.
Meaning :-Insertion of very fine needles into the skin to stimulate specific anatomic points in the body (acupoints). Heat, pressure, friction, suction are also used to stimulate the points.
Banefits :-Balances the movement of energy (Qi) in the body to restore health.
Meaning :-A set of physical practices that include gentle stretches, breathing practices, and progressive deep relaxation. Hatha Yoga, ‘the yoga of vitality’ is particularly beneficial in the case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Banefits :-Positive and negative currents are balanced so that vital force, prana, are regulated, mind cleared and super conscious state experienced.
Therapy :-T ai chi
Meaning :-A movement therapy characterised by slow, rhythmic movements and effortless breathing
Banefits :-Relaxes body from a muscle spasm and injury. Also increases flexibility and stamina.