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Top Ten List for Recovery From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By HERWriter
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related image Photo: Getty Images

These are my Top Ten tools for my ongoing recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

1) Rest

Get more rest than you think you need, it will allow your body to regenerate like nothing else. Sleep as much as you can, and spend time lying down with eyes closed in a quiet place.

2) Pacing

Expend less energy than you have available, so the extra energy can be used for regeneration. Break up your day into smaller segments. Then rest for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, maybe have a nap. Take these breaks often. Journaling can help track how it's working for you. A pattern may emerge which can guide you to better health.

3) Diet

Personally, I do best with high protein and fats, and vegetables. Most other carbohydrates make me ill. I avoid most fruit because of the high glycemic content.You may have a completely different set of needs. You can see a specialist, or if that's not possible, try your own elimination diet. Grains, dairy, corn, and eggs commonly cause allergy or sensitivity.

4) Supplements

Common deficiencies for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are Vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid, all the B vitamins tend to be low for us. Other supplements that have helped me are omega 3 oil and Vitamin D3.

5) Gentle detoxification

The liver may become overwhelmed by toxins. Various foods aid the liver, e.g., beets. Tonics can help, e.g., milk thistle. We may have viruses and bacteria that our immune systems haven't been able to eliminate.

Antibiotics are useful, but preferably in short-term situations, because they can wound our immune systems badly. Other options are oil of oregano and olive leaf extract. Liquid chlorophyll cleanses the blood of toxins.

6) Healing the digestive system

We may have overgrowths of unhealthy bacteria or yeast, and insufficient enzymes for proper digestion. We may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Leaky Gut Syndrome and be unable to absorb nutrients. A low carbohydrate diet may help with the yeast and the hypoglycemia which is common among us. Probiotics can help correct the imbalance.

7) Restoring the adrenals

We may experience adrenal insufficiency. I've used adaptogens and have seen increased energy and better endurance from this. Ginseng, licorice, rhodiola rosea, ashwaghanda, reishi, shitake and maitake mushrooms, and cordyceps are a few adaptogens.

8) Alternative therapies

Many of us don't handle drugs well. Alternative therapies like acupuncture, Reiki, naturopathy, and homeopathy can aid in recovery for people with CFS.

9) Mind/Body techniques

Quieting the sympathetic nervous system and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system helps the healing process. The sympathetic nervous system (Fight or Flight) is great in a crisis, but when activated for too long, it has a breaking down effect on the body.

The parasympathetic nervous system brings rest and regeneration, allowing the damaged systems to heal. Yoga, tai chi and meditation will activate the parasympathetic system. However I caution those who cannot exercise without setback to avoid these. Breathing techniques and visualization techniques can be helpful.

10) Cultivating hope

Having hope of recovery has been essential for me. I began to picture what recovery could be like. I began to picture the smaller things I'd like to do, like buying my own groceries, or even just going for a walk. Later I began to picture where I'd like my life to lead. What did I want for my life?

This last was difficult at first. It had been so long since my thoughts had turned toward living in health. I couldn't see past my invalid state. But hope releases healing chemicals in the body, quite different from those generated by despair.

For that reason alone, I began to exercise hope for the first time in years. And ... hope feels better than despair. It's worth the effort if you can do it.



I spent 15 years losing the battle against CFS. Two years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.

Add a Comment15 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Hi Jody,

Thought you and your readers might be interested in a new endeavour happening with CFS. It's a patient-driven research website where patients can propose studies that are then built by the scientist who runs it. The main point of it is to give us a way to see if a treatment is working. There is a diet study, a whey protein study and a couple others already running. They provide instructions and you do the experiment yourself. They show you your own results about how the treatment affects symptoms and memory and also are making it into a study with everyones results. Some of the things on your list are not being studied there yet but could be suggested. The name of the website is Mendus.org

All the best,

August 19, 2015 - 2:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

OMG you either get disability and I and others no you don't have CFS/ME because like me and others really could tell you what to do with your ten tips. June 22 1990 I had my life stole by CFS and seen the best doctors all over the world. They would tell you people like me who 1 refuse disability and wheel chair bound now. It's ppl like you and your tips that hurt us because research stop because of your tips. Others are living with real CFS and yes we work hard to find a cure and close. Only you know you can walk OMG really a tip. You don't have CFS and you need to give that government money back.

January 21, 2015 - 6:24am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My word ... just don't read the article if it makes you want to spit venom. You have no idea if the person who writes this is claiming any benefits - so why assert it and then attack on those grounds. Whether or not you accept benefits for CFS, or for any other reason, does not at all form the basis as to whether or not someone else should - everything is not relative to you and your needs. There is not one single person out there with CFS who doesn't want a cure...giving ten tips on how to help isn't exactly going to make people the world over feel that they suddenly accept the life destroying effects of CFS nor is it going to consequently result in everyone holting in their efforts to find a cure or help in any form. There is mild, moderate and severe forms of CFS... that does not stop those on the mild end of the spectrum from being able to offer suggestions on how they can be proactive in helping themselves.

June 18, 2017 - 4:05pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for sticking up for me.;)

As it happens I have never received any disability benefits, or any kind of government assistance. I used to be bedridden, in a cognitive fog, and lived that way for some years. I am fortunate to have recovered substantially since that time, and I want that for everyone who has to deal with this illness.

Thanks again:)


June 23, 2017 - 4:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Jody Smith)

It gives me so much hope to read someone as severe as I am..got better. Wish you could write more. It’s you we want to here about! Thank you.

April 19, 2018 - 12:45pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

lol Well thank you:)

I have written quite a bit on this subject here on EmpowHER actually as well as for my own website ncubator.ca  If you do a google search of my name, CFS, and those two websites, you should find quite a few articles on the subject.

I also recommend checking out http://phoenixrising.me where you'll find articles and forums with tons of information and people to talk to. I have articles there too.

Good luck on your journey back to health.

April 28, 2018 - 7:30am

This condition is often associated with depression, which if treated adequately can help the fatigue symptoms. Also, in some cases, medications such as those for attention deficit disorders may help. Gentle, daily exercise is important. Consult your doc. You can ask more real doctors:

Good luck!

May 5, 2012 - 5:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

afterthought! the thing that is mostly counterproductive is people/ dr thinking you're depressed! this is excruciating, because although depression is a likely co-condition, it's not what causes us to stay in bed! we're in bed or on the couch because WE CAN'T MOVE, not because of depression!

June 6, 2011 - 10:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

as michelle says.
and thanks for this article, it would be great if the same amount of awareness as 'other invisible illness' have, could be raised for fatigue syndrome.
it doesn't happen because 1) we are too tired to get this sort of thing done and we rely on people who have recovered and friends who understand - THANK YOU! - and 2) we have no outward indication that anything is wrong e.g. cancer and chemo hair loss, ms and wheelchair/ mobility aid, heart disease and test results. so we simply don't look sick and actually probably appear better than ever because of improved rest and diet changes!

June 6, 2011 - 10:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for the helpful info.

April 22, 2011 - 12:33pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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