Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Solutions


Tim Altman B.Sc. B.H.Sc. (Naturopathy)

So often I see clients coming to me with CFS who have been to a number of medical and health practitioners. More often than not, they come with a list of supplements they have been recommended that can be over an A4 page in length. A few clients were spending well over $500 per month on supplements.

That is not the way I approach CFS.

This is what I call the pharmaceutical approach to treating a lifestyle induced ailment. That is, nutritional and herbal supplements are used like pharmaceutical medicines in that they are administered with an approach to treating symptoms and/or measured or perceived deficiencies only. This approach fails to look at a potential ‘root cause’ of the condition and rarely yields long lasting results. A symptom or a deficiency is a real problem and should be addressed, but to take this approach only to a systemic or whole body ailment is to get lost in the bright lights.

And in most cases, the supplements used are artificially synthesized based on our, as yet, limited nutritional understanding.  We are a long way from being close to replicating nature. What tends to happen with these artificial supplements is that the body recognizes these as ‘new to nature’ and has to spend energy to digest them and break them down into a form that can be used.  We are trying to build the client’s energy levels and internal functions rather than tax their system even further!!!                       A classic example of this is when a person passes very colourful and pungent urine as a result of using artificial supplements. Down the toilet is where most of their money has just gone.

CFS is an insidious onset chronic ailment – in other words, it builds slowly, so that by the time symptoms appear, it is often very well advanced. This is the case with most chronic illnesses. And in this case, as with most chronic illnesses, the solution or alleviation of illness lies in addressing how the person became ill in the first place.

We know from anthropological research that it takes 40,000-100,000 years for a change in our environment to be genetically assimilated by our bodies. So, in effect, we should consider how we lived, breathed and ate 40-100,000 years ago, and apply this understanding to our modern lives. We were wandering the bush. And our bodies still respond as if we were. The body, from a physiological and biochemical perspective has no idea that we now drive cars instead of walk, sit for much of the day, have i-phones, computers etc to communicate, procure our food without any personal expenditure of energy etc.

The way we live is vastly different to the way we are built to. This affects every aspect of the human living system – nutrition, breathing, movement/stabilization, how we think, and sleep and rest/rejuvenation.

To address chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and most chronic ailments we need to address how far removed these aspects of living are for each individual compared to how they are built to function (based on evolutionary influences). Or, in other words, how far from optimal functioning has the individual strayed. The further one has strayed, the more likely you are to present with illness.

Correcting these imbalances will go a long way to restoring a person to ideal health. This does not mean you have to go and move to the country and join a commune etc. It simply requires understanding of how our system has evolved to function ideally, and to implement lifestyle change (often significant) that brings you more in line with this ideal or optimal functioning. This takes time and practice. And it does not just mean addressing your nutrition. How you breathe, sleep, rest and rejuvenate, and even our emotional functioning can dramatically affect our health and wellbeing and very few people perform these functions at anywhere near ideal levels.

In most cases, as the level of dysfunction is quite advanced in CFS and other chronic ailments, people often need a bit of a nudge initially with natural remedies that work in a range of areas including liver, adrenals, blood cleansing/detoxifying, the GIT, nervous system, immune system etc. Which imbalances that need to be corrected depend each individual case or presentation.

In treating many CFS sufferers over the years, I have come to find a number of outstanding nutritional and herbal remedies that have been wonderful in assisting the body to return to functional or ideal levels. In almost all cases, and in all cases possible, I tend to use pure herbal and organism extracts as they are easily recognized by the digestive system and body and do not tax it further. Once again, we cannot artificially replicate nature.

Allow the body to heal itself by setting up lifestyle change and using nutritional and herbal extracts that the body has been familiar with for hundreds of thousands of years.  The human system has an incredible capacity to heal itself if you just create or allow it the right environment (internally and externally) to do so. It is our birthright as human beings to be healthy and vital.

More often than not, those who experience a full recovery from CFS go on to live a lifestyle that opens them up to a level of health and vitality that is far superior to that which they may have experienced previously and to that experienced by the general ‘apparently well’ population. Retrospectively, many say that CFS was the best thing that happened to them as it opened them up to a level of functioning that they had never thought possible – it sets them free.

That has been my personal experience and that of many of my clients. The common ailments that niggle most of the the (again) ‘apparently healthy’ population – colds and flus, sinus issues, headaches and migraines, aches and pains, fatigue, anxiety/depression, PMT etc. are issues that rarely, if at all, trouble these individuals. This leaves us free to live life to its’ absolute optimum.