Chapter 2.9 - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.
The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.
This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
- CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
- CONVENTIONAL APPROACHES
- Medication Treatment Options
- Side Effects
- Nonprescription Medications
- Prescription Medications
- BIO-ENERGETIC THERAPIES
BODYWORK AND MOVEMENT THERAPIES
- Nutrition and Supplements
- Enzymatic Therapies
- Rainforest and Western Herbs
- Rainforest Herbs
- Western Herbs
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Essential Oils
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
- Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Hatha Yoga Postures
- PRODUCT ORDERING INFORMATION
- GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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Antibiotic treatment for acne may be the single greatest contributor to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Feeling sick is an almost universal symptom in CFS.25% of afflicted patients are bedridden, 40% can only work part time and only 35% can maintain a full time job.
A public health crisis has silently emerged during the past decade. It is called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This mysterious infectious illness has already drained the energy of an estimated three million Americans and ninety million people worldwide. It is an emerging epidemic which has been heralded as the "immune disease of the new millineum".
An estimated exhausted five million Americans are undiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS does not kill, but induces a lingering state of profound fatigue, malaise and weakness. The onset of this almost paralytic fatigue is often sudden. The average period of exhaustion is now estimated to last about two years.
It is a serious disease. Fifty percent of its victims are disabled and cannot work for varying periods of time. 25% of afflicted patients are bedridden, 40% can only work part time and only 35% can maintain a full time job. Symptoms associated include:
- Sleep Disturbances
- Sore Throat and Swollen Glands (lymph nodes)
- Muscle Aches and Joint Pain
- Intestinal Problems
- Mood Swings
- Sensitivity to Light and Heat
- Temporary Memory Loss
- Extreme, and often disabling fatigue
Many viruses are implicated in CFS. The Herpes family of viruses has received the most scrutiny. They are a very large group of viruses and differ from most other viruses in that their genes contain DNA - just like animal cells. Other viruses contain RNA which is the genetic material found in plant cells. Herpes viruses have the ability to hide inside various body cells in a dormant state ready to emerge and infect at an opportune moment. The word "herpes" brings to mind visions of painful eruptions on the mouth and genitals. Oral and genital Herpes are caused by Herpes Simplex viruses (HSV). HSV-1 causes oral Herpes. HSV-2 infects the genital area. However, Herpes contains many more family members than Simplex one and two. Herpes also includes the Varicella-zoster virus (the cause of chicken pox and shingles) and the group of viruses that are presumed to contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and the Herpes - 6 virus or (HHV6).*
Common viruses such as EBV and CMV tip the immunological balance in favor of disease. Over sixty years ago, researchers recognized that viruses often act in concert with other pathogens in causing disease (Koch's postulates). Only when these factors are known, can one hope to practice preventive health care, or deal successfully with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chronic Fatigue and Immune Deficient Syndrome CFIDS is the newest label for these conditions, but for the purposes of this report we'll use the terminology CFS.
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV): As mentioned previously, Epstein-Barr viral infections are not the primary cause of CFS. Exposure to the virus by adults does not necessarily result in infections. The key to all viral problems is to maintain a vigilant and powerful immune system. Long-term EBV infections are characterized by intermittent fever, muscle and joint aches, sore throats, and debilitating fatigue. Many patients reported impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, disturbed balance, anxiety, irritability and insomnia. These symptoms never fully abate. Some patients describe this as perpetual flu, where symptoms leaves them feeling mentally and physically exhausted.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV): Although not as common as EBV, CMV is estimated to infect close to 75% of adults in Western nations, with the incidence in Asia and Africa approaching 100%. In the majority of cases, primary exposure produces no clinical illness, but like all herpes viruses, CMV remains latent in the body for life. During times of immune suppression, CMV can become reactivated, and produce symptoms very similar to EBV. CMV is the major factor determining the success or failure of organ transplant operations. CMV can be involved with a number of other health disorders in a "normal" individual. CMV can infect a wide variety of tissues, including internal organs such as the lung, kidney and liver. The virus contributes to over 70% of chronic renal (kidney) failure. CMV infection of the pancreas has led many investigators to include the virus as a possible causative agent in both juvenile and adult-onset diabetes.
CMV and EBV can both infect the central nervous system in adults, causing a wide range of neurologic symptoms ranging from confusion and memory loss to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and a common nervous system disorder known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
- Herpes Virus Type 6 (HHV6): In October, 1986, researchers from the National Cancer Institute reported the discovery of a new human virus. Further research identified the new virus as a herpesvirus, and because it was also found to infect other cells including T-cells, the name was changed to human herpesvirus type 6 (HHV-6). HHV-6 has been identified as a primary cause of some cases of teenage mononucleosis.. Medical researchers are presently considering that HHV-6 may be one "trigger" which turns on EBV and other viruses. 90% of Americans have been exposed to Herpes 6 in infancy. However, illness from Herpes 6 is rare and blood antibody levels remain low in the vast majority of the normal population. In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients, the frequency of active infection appears to be closer to 60%
DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST PATHOGENS AND OTHER VIRUSES IS NOT AN EASY TASK, BUT IT CAN BE DONE AND THERE ARE CLEAR GUIDELINES THROUGHOUT THIS REPORT TO SHOW YOU HOW.
The major criteria used to distinguish chronic fatigue syndrome are:
- Persistent fatigue that does not resolve with bed rest and that is severe enough to reduce average daily activity by at least 50 percent for at least six months.
- The presence of other chronic clinical conditions, including psychiatric disorders, can be ruled out.
Proposed causes for chronic fatigue syndrome also include:
- Anemia and obscure malnutrition and poor nutrition
- Chronic mercury poisoning from amalgam dental fillings
- Infection with the fungus Candida albicans and other fungi
- Sleep problems
- Intestinal parasites and bacterial imbalances
- Food allergy and chemical sensitivities
- Adrenal exhaustion
- Degenerative disease
People living in the past fifty years have been exposed to more different chemicals than all of the rest of humankind combined. It is no wonder that some people have become sensitive to chemicals, including pharmaceutical drugs.
It is likely that there are different combinations of factors that can result in chronic fatigue in susceptible individuals. Even though chronic fatigue syndrome is not life-threatening, it cannot be cured and can result in serious damage to the auto-immune system. Some people appear to recover spontaneously, but once you have had this condition, it can recur at any time, usually following a bout with another illness or during times of stress.
Consider the distinctions in the following practitioner types, their areas of training, and treatment programs. The information in this report should help you choose a team that can bring the appropriate relief for your particular condition:
- Massage Therapists work with muscles and tendons, using different techniques like muscle kneading and compression to lessen tension in the muscles. This increases circulation and helps the body flush out cellular debris, which speeds tissue repair and aids in healing back problems. Massage Therapists who are trained in Neuro-Muscular Therapy, Myofascial Release and Manual Lymphatic Drainage provide the most relief for chronic myofascial pain and fibromyalgia, which often accompany CFS. Refer to the section on Massage Therapy for detail information about these modalities.
- Occupational Therapists may recommend other specialists and may supervise lifestyle changes in the home and work environment. O.T.'s often recommend devices designed to ease the burden of living with chronic and debilitation diseases.
Note: Because bodywork and other therapies move toxins and wastes out of the intercellular fluids and into the bloodstream, it is not uncommon for nausea or headaches to result. This movement is a necessary step in ridding yourself of these chemical toxins and wastes, so it is a good sign, even though it doesn't feel good at the time.
The next time your physician, your insurance company, or other care provider tries to deny the importance of complementary and alternative medicine as it relates to your health, teach them what they need to know. See the sections in this chapter on Myofascial Pain and Fibromyalgia, if you have been diagnosed with either or both of these. Note the following distinctions:
Fibromyalgia is not the same as Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency syndrome (CFIDS), although they may be part of the same family of central nervous system dysfunctions. Most patients with FMS show increased amounts of substance P in their cerebrospinal fluid. Studies have shown that some of the biochemical levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with FMS are not normal.
* The author gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Drs. Michael Rosenbaum and Murray Susser in their lifes work reflected in their book: Solving the Puzzle of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Published by Life Sciences Press, ISBN 0-943685-11-7.
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Glossary of Terms
- Same as candida albicans.
- Candida albicans
- A genus of yeast-like fungi. Yeast organism which can cause such infections a thrush (mouth), vaginitis, and systemic infections.
- Infection with the microorganisms of the genus Candida.
- Candida-hypersensitivity Syndrome
- The allergic symptom complex which my accompany candida infection.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- A herpes family virus sometimes associated with CFS. It has a special affinity for the salivary glands. Sometimes also called salivary gland virus and herpesvirus 5.
- A herpes family virus sometimes associated with CFS.
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Named after Alois Epstein, M.D. A herpes-like virus that causes an infection similar to mononucleosis.
- A family of hibernating viruses, widespread in humans, which may be suppressed by the immune system but rarely eradicated.
- Mixed Infection Syndrome
- Debilitating disease, characterized by more than one organism simultaneously infecting the body.
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