Chronic Fatigue is an increasingly common problem in recent years. The reason for this is probably a hectic and stressful life style that we live in modern society. This way of life causes an excessive consumption of our energy and weakens our immune system.

There are two main ways that chronic fatigue or M.E. can develop. The first way is the “burning the candle at both ends” way this is when someone is working very hard over a long time without giving any attention to the body’s natural need for some rest. “Work” does not refer just to work at the work place it also includes any kind of physical or mental work wherever it is ; work, home, clubs etc. Burning the candle at both ends is a common expression used which perfectly describes this. The damage for the Qi (the body energy) is worsened and accelerated if the person is under stress as well. The energy is gradually consumed because we use more energy than we can produce. For a start we do not feel the effect as we tend to compensate by using a lot of adrenaline (at this stage a common complaint is: “I have good energy levels all day but in the evening at home when I sit down I can hardly move”). At a certain stage the level of the body energy (Qi) will reach critically low levels. At this point the Qi is too low to support the work of the organs that produce the energy in the body. As a result of this we feel a severe drop in our energy level. It leaves us with the impression that the condition has started suddenly, but this is not the case.

The other mechanism of chronic fatigue or M.E (this one is more associated with M.E.) is the retained pathogen mechanism. Again in this case to start with usually the Immune system is weakened by overwork or stress. The person suffers from a viral infection (e.g. glandular fever or flu) and as the immune system is already weakened (and also because often people won’t rest when they have a virus to allow the body to fight it) the body fails to get rid of the virus in the normal way. Instead the pathogen (the virus or the damage caused by the virus) stays stuck in the body. People will often say “I feel like my flu has never gone away”.

The Chinese Medicine Treatment of these two types of chronic fatigue and M.E. is different. The first case of over consumption of our energy will be treated with herbal tonics and Acupuncture to strengthen the body energy (Qi). In the second case (the retained pathogen) we must firstly release the body from the presence of the pathogen (trying to tonify without doing that first will just make things worse). This can be achieved by using a specific combination of herbs. Only after the Pathogen has been cleared can we use tonic herbs and strengthening Acupuncture points. The results in both types are very good.

In some cases there can be a combination of both mechanisms or other factors like bad diet or reaction to immunisation.

In any case there must be an individual assessment of the symptoms, the circumstances and the individual constitution with treatment tailored for each case. When this approach is implemented the result of the treatment of chronic fatigue and M.E. with Chinese Medicine is very, very good.