Chronic fatigue syndrome is a common problem that we treat at our Perth naturopathic clinic. Homeopathy is an appropriate natural treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) because it takes into account the whole patient and their emotional reactions. It addresses not only the causative and triggering factors but helps to break the hypersensitivity feedback cycle. The resulting spiral of low energy and aches and pains is often also diagnosed as fibromyalgia.
Michael Blanch has treated many thousands of patients over 35 years of practice and gets excellent results with his primary treatment of homeopathy, supported by naturopathic medicine. In this 2004 RCT of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients, more people in the homeopathic medicine group than the placebo group showed clinical improvement on all primary outcomes.
Although Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia may be separate issues, they often occur in the same patient. In our experience, they also respond to similar strategies of homeopathic or naturopathic treatment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), multiple allergies and food intolerances, Restless Leg Syndrome and Irritable Bladder Syndrome (interstitial cystitis) also frequently coexist in the one individual.Many have been labelled as central sensitivity syndrome. also frequently coexist in the one individual. Of course, these patients are often clinically depressed, so in the past there was a tendency for the medical profession to label their problems as “psychosomatic” or “all in their head”.
Because there is no easily recognisable diagnosis or cause for their symptoms, it is no wonder orthodox medicine has had a hard time even recognising chronic fatigue syndrome, let alone treating it. Homeopathy, however, because it treats the patient holistically for their full spectrum of symptoms after a privatein-depth consultation is ideally placed to help those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis, whatever the cause and whatever the pattern.
Symptoms of CFS include all or some of the following: extreme fatigue that is not improved by rest, muscle weakness or pain, malaise or tiredness after exercise, impaired concentration and memory, “brain fog”, dizziness, chronic headaches, joint pain, insomnia, sore throats and tender lymph nodes.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome have similar symptoms and often occur in the same patient. Widespread muscle pain, tender trigger points, cramps and restless legs are common. Associated are many of the CFS symptom picture including headaches, foggy brain, extreme tiredness and exhaustion and insomnia. The overlap in symptoms here tells us that there is probably not one cause for these syndromes.
Debate rages about which, if any, of these problems are autoimmune in origin, but it matters little to homeopathy, which treats the patient, not the “cause”. The real cause is always dependent on an underlying weakness. This weakness makes the patient susceptible to certain triggers, and homeopathy fixes the susceptibility to those triggers.
The contributing factors are multi-factorial and may include viruses, such as glandular fever and influenza, chemical and heavy metal toxicity, multiple food sensitivities, systemic candida and hormonal factors in women.
Not least is the effect of stress that contributes to the final collapse. In homeopathy we say it is not stress that is the problem; but the real issue is the response to stress in that particular patient. Some may reach the point of being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. It matters little which label we use, as homeopathy treats the person, not the label we decide to use as a diagnosis. This is accurately addressed by a “constitutional” prescription, taking into account both the emotional and physical predispositions of the patient.
We do find that there is a tendency for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia to affect people who are very hard working, driven, perfectionist and sometimes obsessive-compulsive. If they fit this pattern (and not all cases do), these people like structure and order in their life. They are high achievers, so they find their physical incapacity so frustrating, which further adds to their stress. They invariably need the homeopathic metal or mineral remedies from the Periodic Table. These remedies cover these patterns of control and rigidity, depending on the exact symptom pattern. In any case, it is important to find the constitutional medicine that covers the mental state of the patient as well as their full range of their physical symptoms.
As well, there is a completely different personality type who is also susceptible to CFS. They are very sensitive, easily exhausted and also respond poorly to stress; in their case the problem is often conflict with family members or their partner. Supplemental magnesium (as the muscle relaxor) is often prescribed by other naturopaths. However the specific homeopathic form (where it is the indicated remedy that covers their whole case, emotionally and physically) works far more deeply, in our experience.
Especially in patients with digestive disturbances and irritable bowel syndrome, treatment of the gut is important. Identification of specific food allergies is not usually important to establish when homeopathic treatment is undertaken, when it is coupled with naturopathic and lifestyle management principles. If these food reactions are obvious, the patient has mostly learned to avoid those foods anyway. From early in treatment, in a matter of days, in most cases the individual is able to tolerate foods they may have reacted to previously. Wheat and grain products are by far the most common offenders, we find; and fatty foods, indicating a liver and gall bladder problem, follow closely behind.
As well as constitutional remedies to improve their general response to allergens, a specific protocol of“allergy desensitisation” may be used for stubborn cases of intolerance. Also, we find the protocols developed by Drs Bach and Paterson in the 1920’s to be particularly useful for gut and allergy problems, when prescribed to their individual symptom patterns.