A few ways to treat chronic fatigue syndrome naturally

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that keeps you tired. Adjustments you make to your daily routines can pay big dividends in how you feel. Here are some suggestions to help treat fatigue:

A few ways to treat chronic fatigue syndrome naturally

Lifestyle changes to make

  • Do some moderate exercise if you are able, but don't be overly ambitious, because exercising too strenuously can cause extreme fatigue or a relapse. The key is to take it slowly and to very gradually increase your level of exertion, stopping before you become tired. Start off with stretching exercises (one or two minutes a day), modest aerobic activities (such as walking 10 minutes three times a week, climbing the stairs in your home or lifting groceries). Also do some light weights (one kilogram/two pounds), with only a few repetitions, several times a day. Remember, two 10-minute sessions on a treadmill may be better than a single 20-minute one. Always try to breathe deeply, using your diaphragm muscles rather than the upper lungs.
  • Keep an energy diary to record your ebbs and flows during the day. Schedule activities for times when you tend to have the most stamina.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables to help assure a proper balance of nutrients.
  • Practice good "sleep hygiene." Choose a regular bedtime, avoid caffeine or exertion several hours before sleep, and use your bed for sleeping or sex only, not reading or watching television. If you awaken during the night, don't toss and turn. Get up and read on the couch for a few minutes before returning to bed.

Natural methods to consider

A number of mind-body techniques, as well as certain herbs and vita­mins, can be useful in easing specific CFS symptoms.

  • Relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, can reduce stress levels and help regain a sense of control over your illness. Relaxation also reduces muscle soreness. Tai chi, a Chinese form of exercise that combines movement, breathing and mental concentration, may also be beneficial. Biofeedback, which uses a special machine to train your body to control involuntary responses such as heart rate, can also help you to manage recurring pain.
  • Acupuncture, in which very thin needles are inserted at specific points on the body, benefits some patients. Practitioners of this ancient Chinese therapy believe that it helps to "unblock" the flow of the body’s natural energy.
  • Nutritional supplements such as melatonin (one to three milligrams before bedtime) or the herb valerian (250 to 500 milligrams at bedtime) may help reset your body’s natural circadian rhythms and improve sleep patterns. Some CFS patients have also reported benefits using herbal products: the antidepressant herb St. John’s wort (300 milligrams three times a day), the aspirinlike herb white willow bark (one or two pills three times a day), the pineapple-derived anti-inflammatory bromelain (500 milligrams three times a day), or capsaicin cream (apply to painful areas three times daily). A high-potency multivitamin, including vitamin C (1,000 milligrams) and vitamin E (400 IU), can also help to ensure you're getting a good daily balance of nutrients.

Buyer beware

Don't be tempted by the wealth of unproven CFS remedies promising all sorts of enticing results.

  • Although most are harmless, they are usually costly and all too often disappointing. Some may even be dangerous. For example, certain alternative healers recommend hydrogen peroxide injections to kill off any offending germs, but these can cause strokes.
  • Also beware of natural energy boosters that contain the Chinese herb Ma huang (ephedra) along with caffeine-rich kola nut, a combination that can cause seizures and even death.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about any natural remedies you are using. Some can interact with conventional medications.

CFS is a condition that gets worse the longer it goes untreated. Fatigue becomes your routine, and it gets harder and harder to break it. If you suffer from CFS, act now and break the cycle of exhaustion.

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