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Top Ten List for Recovery From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By HERWriter
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related image Photo: Getty Images

These are my Top Ten tools for my ongoing recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

1) Rest

Get more rest than you think you need, it will allow your body to regenerate like nothing else. Sleep as much as you can, and spend time lying down with eyes closed in a quiet place.

2) Pacing

Expend less energy than you have available, so the extra energy can be used for regeneration. Break up your day into smaller segments. Then rest for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, maybe have a nap. Take these breaks often. Journaling can help track how it's working for you. A pattern may emerge which can guide you to better health.

3) Diet

Personally, I do best with high protein and fats, and vegetables. Most other carbohydrates make me ill. I avoid most fruit because of the high glycemic content.You may have a completely different set of needs. You can see a specialist, or if that's not possible, try your own elimination diet. Grains, dairy, corn, and eggs commonly cause allergy or sensitivity.

4) Supplements

Common deficiencies for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are Vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid, all the B vitamins tend to be low for us. Other supplements that have helped me are omega 3 oil and Vitamin D3.

5) Gentle detoxification

The liver may become overwhelmed by toxins. Various foods aid the liver, e.g., beets. Tonics can help, e.g., milk thistle. We may have viruses and bacteria that our immune systems haven't been able to eliminate.

Antibiotics are useful, but preferably in short-term situations, because they can wound our immune systems badly. Other options are oil of oregano and olive leaf extract. Liquid chlorophyll cleanses the blood of toxins.

6) Healing the digestive system

We may have overgrowths of unhealthy bacteria or yeast, and insufficient enzymes for proper digestion. We may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Leaky Gut Syndrome and be unable to absorb nutrients. A low carbohydrate diet may help with the yeast and the hypoglycemia which is common among us. Probiotics can help correct the imbalance.

7) Restoring the adrenals

We may experience adrenal insufficiency. I've used adaptogens and have seen increased energy and better endurance from this. Ginseng, licorice, rhodiola rosea, ashwaghanda, reishi, shitake and maitake mushrooms, and cordyceps are a few adaptogens.

8) Alternative therapies

Many of us don't handle drugs well. Alternative therapies like acupuncture, Reiki, naturopathy, and homeopathy can aid in recovery for people with CFS.

9) Mind/Body techniques

Quieting the sympathetic nervous system and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system helps the healing process. The sympathetic nervous system (Fight or Flight) is great in a crisis, but when activated for too long, it has a breaking down effect on the body.

The parasympathetic nervous system brings rest and regeneration, allowing the damaged systems to heal. Yoga, tai chi and meditation will activate the parasympathetic system. However I caution those who cannot exercise without setback to avoid these. Breathing techniques and visualization techniques can be helpful.

10) Cultivating hope

Having hope of recovery has been essential for me. I began to picture what recovery could be like. I began to picture the smaller things I'd like to do, like buying my own groceries, or even just going for a walk. Later I began to picture where I'd like my life to lead. What did I want for my life?

This last was difficult at first. It had been so long since my thoughts had turned toward living in health. I couldn't see past my invalid state. But hope releases healing chemicals in the body, quite different from those generated by despair.

For that reason alone, I began to exercise hope for the first time in years. And ... hope feels better than despair. It's worth the effort if you can do it.



I spent 15 years losing the battle against CFS. Two years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.

Add a Comment15 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Hi Jody.

I thought you might be interested to hear about a newly published book “RECOVERY FROM CFS – 50 Personal Stories” - now a best seller on Amazon following many excellent reviews in newspapers and magazines.

It contains 50 stories of recovery from people diagnosed with CFS/ME who have returned to good health and a normal life.

This positive and uplifting book is also a great resource for anyone with CFS/ME because at the end of their recovery stories each author (men, women and children from 6 different countries) recommend books, websites and therapies which helped them, and many even give contact details for readers needing support.

Dr Jacob Teitelbaum, Medical Director of the Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Centers Inc. USA, wrote the foreword and 2 doctors have their own personal recovery stories in the book.

“RECOVERY FROM CFS – 50 Personal Stories” is available from AMAZON.

FREE stories from the book are also available weekly by email from www.alexbarton.co.uk

I wish everyone the best for their own recovery.

August 17, 2009 - 1:20pm

Got to watch out for that post-exertional malaise. It's a powerful tsunami.

I'm glad you brought this up, it's such an important issue for anyone with CFS.

The whole exercise question is such a delicate one. That is why even in mentioning the gentle ones like yoga, I issued a warning. For some (and I have been one of these at different times) the slightest exertion can cause a crash, long-term.

Some of us can exercise, and I have been one of those before as well. :-) I at one time was able to do up to half an hour of moderate exercise, and two half-hour walks, and half an hour of weights every other day.

But once again, I caution, this was something I worked up to over months, starting with only one or two repititions of one exercise, and then waiting for a few days before doing it again, to be sure I had no setbacks.

The main thing where exercise is concerned, I think, is this. Don't listen to anybody else. (Including me. :-) Follow your own instinct on this. Don't assume you should be working out in any way, shape, or form on someone else's say-so.

And always, with CFS, err on the side of caution. Do anything in small steps. Or, if in doubt, shelve it indefinitely and don't do it at all.

These CFS bodies need so much rest and regeneration, and we have to listen to them.

August 14, 2009 - 12:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

THANK YOU for not mentioning exercise. Movement therapies yes, but creating more post-exertional malaise NO :) This is a great list, and lets me know I'm going in the right direction with my self-care :) Keep up the good work!

Michelle from WAMCARE

August 14, 2009 - 12:07pm


That sounds good. :-)

My favourite is chocolate, with a little cream stirred in with it.

August 13, 2009 - 8:54pm

What's your favorite whey protein powder? The one I get comes in chocolate flavor, and I blend it with fresh berries and juice as a smoothie. yum!

August 13, 2009 - 7:09pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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