Chronic Fatigue Can Be More than Exhaustion


Today I will talk about chronic fatigue syndrome, which is becoming a rising star among modern health disorders. Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is a quite severe and complicated condition, the cause for which modern medicine has not been able to uncover, much less cure.

The symptoms of this disease can be wide-ranging and include physical symptoms, especially debilitating fatigue that lasts for six months or more. The fatigue does not originate from exertion and is not relieved by rest. Other symptoms include: a persistent low-grade fever, headache, and sore throat; aching, weak muscles; swollen lymph nodes; and joint pain. These symptoms may also be accompanied by such psychological symptoms as confusion, depression, impaired memory or concentration, excessive sleep requirements, appetite loss or gain, and agitation.

As there is no cure for this disease in western medicine, many patients try to find some alternative treatment solution. Among the various options, Oriental medicine is a popular choice.

In Korean Oriental Medicine all physiological procedures in our bodies are understood to be performed by utilizing Qi (氣), which is the vital life force energy of the body/mind, and which gives us a measure of an individual’s vitality. From this viewpoint, the various symptoms of CFS can be related to the Qi-utilizing efficiency of some of our organs.

Therefore, from the perspective of Oriental medicine, chronic fatigue is considered a Qi deficiency.. Qi is generated through the food we eat and the air we breathe, so the inspiration and digestive organs - the Lungs and the Spleen/Pancreas, respectively - are crucial for the generation and distribution of Qi. In addition, the excess Qi is stored as essence in the Kidneys.

As most CFS-related symptoms are connected to the “Qi organs”, treatment focuses on the Yin-Yang properties of the Lungs, Spleen/Pancreas, and Kidneys. The goal is to activate an individual’s inner energy and self-healing abilities by addressing specific symptoms.

There are various herbs that may be indicated. If infection-like symptoms accompanied the onset of CFS, certain herbs like Ginseng or Astragalus will be applied. Ginseng increases the body's resistance to stress, fatigue, and disease. In addition, it has been shown to increase mental alertness and possesses strong antioxidant properties. It also fights viral infection and helps support the immune system. Astragalus enhances immune functions and is good for cold and flu symptoms. It also helps to strengthen the production of white blood cells, which are required for fighting infection and inflammation.

However, it is not sufficient just to boost the generation of Qi and immune system functioning. The Qi energy also has to be distributed adequately throughout the body. Acupuncture helps to regulate the flow of the Qi in the Meridians. When Qi levels become balanced, the patient feels deep relaxation and some pain relief.

Finally, there is another often-neglected rule in coping with chronic health problems like CFS. The more chronic a condition becomes, the more necessary it is to actively pursue a balanced life-style, of which healthy diet and exercise habits are essential components.

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