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Paul Hide - DCH, MBSCH

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There are many practitioners offering treatments to help people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Here is a list of those treatments most commonly turned to.

Information is given under the headings:

What, Why, Why not and Further Information

Within the list are further subsections of Drugs and Supplements. The Supplements subsection has been further divided into Vitamins and Minerals.



Acupuncture is a Chinese therapy that has been used for centuries.

The therapy involves inserting very thin needles into the skin on certain points on the body.

If placed correctly, these needles reportedly unblock and rebalance certain energies that would normally flow along pathways known as 'meridians'. 

Varied types of acupuncture may also use heat, pressure or even a mild electrical current to stimulate energy flow along these pathways.

A typical course of treatments lasts five to eight sessions.

Acupuncture may be useful to treat a number of symptoms pertinent to chronic fatigue syndrome such as pain, insomnia and chronic fatigue itself.

Why Not?
In one study of 6,348 patients, 682 reported adverse effects directly related to the treatment. These amounted mainly to severe tiredness and exhaustion.

Further Information



Alexander Technique teaches efficiency of posture, balance and movement.

Subtle positive changes in energy may be achieved by more efficient muscular activity.

Bad posture can cause headaches, breathing problems and unnecessary fatigue.

Lessons can vary from 30 to 45 minutes in length.

Why Not?
This is an aid rather than a direct therapeutic interdiction.

Further Information
Alexander Technique



This is a diet, used to control an excess of 'candida albicans'.
This excess has been termed as 'candidiasis'.

Candida albicans is a yeast which lives in the gastro-intestinal tract of 80% of human population with no harmful effects. It feeds on sugars and is one of the most aggressive naturally occurring micro-organisms found there. It can proliferate out of control if the immune system is already compromised.

Candidiasis can also occur in the genital tract, termed 'thrush', or in the blood.

The diet relies upon cutting out sugars and yeasts or using anti-fungal agents such as caprycilic acid to kill off the candida.

After this the colon can be replenished with probiotics.

As many people with chronic fatigue syndrome may have a compromised immune system, they tend to be prime candidates for candida albicans overgrowth.

Why Not?
The basic idea of cutting down sugars may be a good one, but killing off many of the micro-organisms in your gut, even for a short period, may have adverse effects.

Controversially some therapists say that adverse feelings are the symptom of a 'die-off' reaction, causing toxins to be dumped into the system.
They say that the person will feel better afterwards.



Aromatherapy uses what are known as 'essential oils', which are distilled from plants.
Although these oils are not actually essential to a person's health they may possess therapeutic qualities.

The oils can be applied as a massage when mixed with a ‘carrier’ oil.
Alternatively, they can be applied through baths or even through inhalation.
The oils are absorbed into the body. This can take from 20 to 120 minutes. 

Aromatherapy is used to treat mind and body at the same time.
The therapist will ask a number of questions to assess which oil or oils to use.

Aromatherapy may be particularly useful to treat symptoms such as mental or emotional tension, mood swings, nervousness, acute anxiety, circulation, muscular tension, skin conditions, poor digestion, disturbed sleep, aches and pains.

Massage on its own can be useful to combat stress.

Why Not?
Adverse reactions have been noted in a few people who may have been over-sensitive.

Additional Information
There are about 400 different types of oil and they can be split into the following seven groups:

  • Monoterpenes like lemon, pine and frankincense can be anti-viral, antiseptic and bactericidal, but can be highly irritating to the skin if not used carefully.
  • Esters like lavender and bergamot can be fungicidal and sedating.
  • Aldehydes like melissa, lemongrass and cirtronella can be sedating and antiseptic.
  • Ketones like fennel, hyssop and sage can ease congestion, but can be toxic if not used carefully.
  • Alcohols like rosewood and geranium can be very antiseptic and anti-viral.
  • Phenols like clove, thyme and oregano can be bactericidal and strongly stimulating, but can be highly irritating to the skin if not used carefully.
  • Oxides like rosemary and tea tree can be expectorant and bactericidal.

Further Information



Bach Flower Remedies are made from dilutions of flower material.
Edward Bach invented them in the 1930s, to help with emotional or spiritual conditions.

The remedies contain a very small amount of flower material in a solution of equal amounts of water and brandy.

The remedies are stated to contain something called an 'energetic signature' of the flower, which can be transmitted to the user.

There are a total of 38 individual remedies.

The most well known of the remedies is called the ‘Rescue Remedy’. This is a combination of Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum individual remedies. The product is aimed at treating stress, anxiety, and panic attacks.

May be useful for dealing with symptoms such as stress and anxiety.

Why Not?
There is very little scientific evidence to support the efficacy of this therapy other than as a placebo. 

Further Information
Bach Flower Remedies



Donating to charity, in whatever capacity, can give your life meaning.

In the depths of my despair I found a charity that stated that they could save one person's sight for every 50p donated. So for me, giving one pound a day made me feel like it was worth being on the planet.

Giving to, or fundraising for a charity that works with chronic fatigue syndrome may of course also make some obvious sense.

Why Not?
If actually doing something active, don't overdo it!



Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is a form of psychological therapy.
It addresses the emotions, behaviour, thoughts, and beliefs behind psychological difficulties.

Unlike many counselling approaches, cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on teaching individuals practical techniques to manage and overcome their psychological problems.

It is driven by the idea that certain ways of thinking can be obstructive to good health. It aims to change any behaviours that are deemed harmful or not helpful to ones that are more beneficial. This would then help to improve symptoms, coping strategies and day-to-day functioning.

Many different techniques are used depending on the type of problem a person is experiencing. 

Examples of techniques used within CBT include:

  • teaching someone to recognise and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs
  • desensitisation techniques
  • relaxation therapy
  • teaching problem-solving approaches

A cognitive behavioural therapist working with someone with chronic fatigue syndrome will tend to assess simple things like energy and activity management, sleep routine and goal setting. They also provide psychological support.

Cognitive behavioural therapy has been found to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, anger control, body image disorders, specific phobias, trauma reactions, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and weight management. 

It is also commonly used to help individuals cope with chronic pain and make adjustments following the diagnosis of a major illness or other life change.

Why Not?
Cognitive behavioural therapists can underestimate the difficulties faced by someone with chronic fatigue syndrome and prescribe an over-optimistic or symplistic approach.

Further Information
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy



Cold showers are used to help improve circulation.

They are also purported to help thin blood, improve white cell efficiency and to raise testosterone in men or oestrogen in women.

They can only be recommended when you have a good body temperature to start with.

Cold baths maybe a little too strong, whereas a shower can be adjusted in strength to suit the person.

Why Not?
May be too physically stressful for many people with chronic fatigue syndrome.



Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of acupressure.

It involves repeated light tapping with fingertips on specific points on the body.
These points, known as meridians, are tapped whilst the person thinks of the negative emotion or memory that is causing the problem.

Gary Craig developed the idea in the 1990s from ideas proposed by Roger Callahan known as Thought Field Therapy (TFT) techniques.

Proponents say that it is useful for treating pretty much any condition.

Once the technique is learnt it can be practiced at anytime anywhere by anyone.

Why Not?
More research needs to be done to prove the efficacy of this therapy, as most positive evidence is only anecdotal.

Some research has been positive whilst other trials have found it to be no more effective than a placebo.

One study found that tapping an object had the same results as tapping the body. This may point to the technique being no more than one of distraction.



This is one of the few strategies offered by the NHS aimed to deal with chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is a controversial treatment, implementing gradual but progressive increases in exercise or everyday activities.

It should start at a manageable pace, even if only walking a few paces, moving from bed to a chair or simply lifting an arm.

Ideally the therapy needs to be supervised by a properly trained therapist, such as a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist. They must have a good understanding of the situation.

Both parties should agree upon the plan of action, which must be individually tailored. It should take into account preferences, objectives, current functional capacity, current activity and sleep patterns, medication and any setbacks or relapses.

It must be applied with room for flexibility. Then hopefully gradual progress may be made.

Hopefully over time the ability of a patient to cope with everyday activities should be increased.

Why Not?
Graded exercise therapy has often been implemented in a too heavy-handed or inflexible manner, not allowing for setbacks or relapses.

It may be that success rates depend upon those that are already in a position to move forwards towards recovery.

Many feel that some success has a lot to do with the 'pacing' and disciplined structure that goes with this therapy. The psychological benefits of seeing someone every week or so who is aiming to help may also be useful.

A balanced judgement is required to seek out the best course of action. Trying to force recovery to the point of causing relapses would not be very helpful. Conversely, following the same 'pacing' rules year-in-year-out not realising any possible progress would not be useful either.



The Gupta Programme is based on the theory that a part of the brain called the ‘Amygdala’ is over-reacting to stimuli.

It teaches a number of techniques via a DVD a CD and some worksheets.

These techniques include breathing, pacing, meditation and reframing techniques.

Reframing techniques enable you to look at things from a different perspective and deal with things in a new way.

Ashok Gupta developed it.

It costs about £100 (in 2010)

It has been developed specifically for people with ME/CFS.

It is fairly simple and well organized.

It can all be carried out from your own home over a few months.

Why Not?
The Gupta Programme’s causal theory is purely conjectural.

Any results are anecdotal.

Further Information
Gupta Programme



One recommendation is to eat organic foods. These do not contain pesticides, which add physical stress upon the body.
This may be especially pertinent if chronic fatigue syndrome is triggered by a chronic exposure to chemicals like organo-phosphates.

Fruit skins can be washed or peeled, but pesticides in non-organic bread and wheat products will be contained throughout them.

Certain foods containing vitamin B6 may help combat stress as it is used to make serotonin. These include whole grain cereals, potatoes, sweet potatoes, raisins and bananas may be useful.

Long-term Good Mood Foods
Turkey, chicken, oil-rich fish, vegetables, wholemeal or whole grain bread, wholemeal pasta, whole grain rice, oatcakes, salads, seeds, fruit, water and dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids may all help create as healthy an environment as possible within the body.

Asparagus, garlic, eggs, molasses, carrots, onions, beetroot, spinach, paw paw, celery, stone fruit and avocado may also be beneficial.

Calcium has been found to help combat irritability in women suffering premenstrual symptoms, though it is best absorbed in small amounts at a time.

Soda water can help relieve anxiety caused by hyperventilation by increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the body. It can also decrease smooth muscle contractions and dilate blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely around the body.

Long-term Bad Mood Foods
Fried foods, fast and processed foods, sweets, cakes, biscuits, chips, crisps, white bread, pastries, caffeine (tea, coffee and coca-cola) and soft drinks tend to be detrimental to good health.

Eating healthily will create the best environment within your body to start the recovery process. It may be especially pertinent if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, in which case a correct individual diet must be sought.

Why Not?
Sometimes there are times when doing the wrong thing actually improves morale!



This therapy can be termed as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, chinese herbalism, herbology, and phytotherapy.

It uses plants and plant extracts or even funghi, bee products, shells, minerals and certain animal parts.

People on all continents have used extracts of thousands of indigenous plants for treatment of ailments since prehistoric times.

The word ‘drug’ originates from a word meaning dried plant.

Herbalism can be split into a number of main types like:
Chinese, Ayurvedic or Siddha Indian, Tibetan, Shamanic and GrecoRoman.

The herbs can be given in a variety of ways from dried pills, to balms to hot teas.

Where conventional western medicine may not be able to help, this may offer something more.

Herbalism can be used to treat just about anything.

Why Not?
With such a huge variety of herbs to choose from there may be side-effects particular to any of the herbs used.

Further Information



Homeopathy is a system of medication that uses a 'like cures like' idea.

Homeopaths believe that a substance given in highly diluted amounts can cure symptoms that would otherwise be experienced in larger doses.

This system is supposed to stimulate the body's natural healing responses.

Homeopathy often takes an holistic approach to health by dealing with the whole person rather than just the condition.

A German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, conceived the idea in the late 18th century.

While classical homeopaths prefer to offer one remedy at a time, some homeopathic remedies are combinations of different substances.

Most commonly the medicines are given as small white pills, but can sometimes be given as liquids.

Today, there are more than 2,000 homeopathic substances on the market. These remedies, derived from plant, mineral and animal sources, are used to treat patients with just about every conceivable condition. (including chronic fatigue syndrome and associated symptoms.)

Why Not?
While homeopathy has many followers who are convinced of its efficacy, there is still not enough scientific evidence to support it. More studies need to be done.

Modern homeopathic pills are diluted to the point that not a single molecule of the substance is left in them. It is claimed that a shadow of the molecule is formed in the water by a mechanical shaking process, instead. This process used to make the remedies is known as 'succussion'.

To make a homeopathic medicine, some of  the substance to be used is mixed in alcohol or water at a ratio of 100 parts liquid to one part substance. This is then vigorously shaken for a period of time. This dilution is called 1C. If the process is repeated with a drop of 1C in place of the original substance, then the resulting mixture is called 2C, and so on. The more times this is repeated, the more potent the remedy is believed to be.

Further Information



The process of hypnotherapy creates a useful relaxed state somewhere between the waking (conscious) and sleeping (subconscious) states. From here positive suggestions and ideas can be introduced into the deeper parts of the mind.

This is most commonly achieved using guided meditations, subliminal suggestion, visualisations and other imaginary sensory inputs.

Brain scans have shown that unusual parts of the brain are used during the hypnotherapy process. These are quite different to those used in relaxation or meditation.

A person's autonomic nervous and body systems are controlled by the subconscious part of the mind.
Hypnotherapy enables contact with this subconscious part of the mind. 
Hypnotherapy can be used to develop a healing ability within all of us.
This has been shown to be effective in many trials with cancer patients.

The hypnotic state can certainly be wonderfully relaxing. It has also been shown to be very effective at treating things directly like insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and stress.

Certain cognitive behavioural techniques can also be incorporated into hypnotherapy making it even more powerful.

Why Not?
The hypnotherapist must be trustworthy and have a good understanding of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Additional Information
Hypnotherapy sessions for ME/CFS on CD are for sale on this site. They have been developed especially for people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
You can listen to them at any time, even in the middle of the night. You do not need to leave your home. You do not need to go on a demanding course or cope with other people. You are in control.

Further Information
Hypnotherapy (BSCH)

Additional Hypnotherapy Directory



The Lightning Process is a simple method of implementing the cognitive behavioural technique of reframing. Reframing means thinking about things in a different way.

The Lightning Process is based on the philosophy that the subconscious or unconscious part of our brain has become stuck in a number of unhealthy responses to certain situations and therefore needs to be reprogrammed.

The Lightning Process uses questions or statements to implement positive changes when you are faced with choices in your life.

The lightning process has been targeted at those suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Why Not?
The process is relatively expensive and is normally concentrated over three days. Only those capable of coping with a three-day course tend to take part as it may be too much for those severely affected to cope with.

Proponents of this process make great claims, which are as yet unsubstantiated, but like many therapies, some people have found it helpful and others have not.

Those taking part are asked not to tell others what the Lightning Process entails and are only allowed to return positive feedback within a couple of weeks.

Further Information
The Lightning Process




Pacing is the process of planning activities to cope with one's minimal energies by alternating those activities with periods of rest.

Only doing a percentage of what you think you are capable of is one way of achieving this.
Or, if you are capable, alternating equal amounts of rest and activity is another way.

In this way some of the symptoms of ME/CFS can be relieved.

This does require some discipline.
From my experience of working with patients with ME/CFS I have found that many of them find it hard to judge their capability levels. This is compounded by the fact that effects can occur 24 hours or more after exertion.
A daily diary table with tips is provided upon registration for this site, which you can use to work out your levels.

With optimism this can eventually be replaced with gradually increasing the periods of activity. See 'graded exercise therapy' on this page.

Many people have found this to be one of the main factors that helped them towards recovery.

Why Not?
Doing the same amount for years without increasing capabilities could lead to stagnation.



Reiki is a simple, natural method of spiritual healing that anyone can use by the 'laying on of hands'.

It is based on the idea that an unseen 'life force energy' flows through us. If one's 'life force energy' is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress. If it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words: Rei which means God's Wisdom and Ki which means life force energy. So Reiki means something like 'spiritually guided life force energy'.
Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to a student during a Reiki class by a Reiki master. This allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of this life force energy.

Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit. It aims to promote relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing as well as healing.

Why Not? 
Most positive evidence is only anecdotal.

Further Information



Reverse therapy is a form of CBT used to treat anxiety.

In some ways it holds similarities to 'The Lightning Process'.

Dr. John Eaton and Dr. David Mickel originally developed it.

They believe that problems are caused by the threat-warning part of the brain being on constant alert. This is termed as ’hypothalamitis’.

It aims to change negative thought processes into positive ones by being more emotionally aware.

A daily journal is used to seek out which things in your life could be a problem.

It has been specially targeted against such things as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, Stress and Pain.

Why Not?
Any results are anecdotal only.

No research has yet found any evidence for hypothalamitis in CFS/ME.

It may be rather expensive for what is involved.

You will need to travel to the therapist for about eight sessions.

Further Information
Reverse Therapy Website



In its basic form, shiatsu is a method of natural healing using certain types of manipulative techniques.

Shiatsu is a Japanese word meaning ‘finger pressure’.

A Japanese practitioner, Tamai Tempaku, developed shiatsu in the early part of the 20th century. Western medical knowledge of anatomy and physiology were incorporated into several older methods of treatment that originated from China.

The Oriental theory believes that there is a life energy called ‘chi’ or ‘ki’ which flows through a person. Should there be an imbalance or a blockage of this flow then that person's health will suffer.

The most common method of shiatsu concentrates on applying pressure at ‘acupressure points’ on the body. Pressure can be applied using the hand, thumb or even elbow to free and rebalance this energy flow.

Some types of shiatsu use diagnostic systems, such as the ‘Five Element'’ system or the 'macro-biotic' approach.

There is a version of shiatsu known as ‘Zen Shiatsu’. This uses both Western psychology and Chinese medicine along with special exercises to further extend the method.

Shiatsu is a relaxing treatment and can be beneficial for back pain, stress, headaches, neck stiffness, joint pain and reduced motibility.

Why Not?
Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome may be a little sensitive?

Further Information



Meeting up with people who are going through a similar experience to yourself.

It can be very helpful to know that you’re not alone in this situation. Seeing how others are coping or getting feedback from different treatments may also be useful.

If you find this too tiring or stressful, pen friends may be a useful alternative.

Why Not?
Interacting with other people in a social situation may be just too tiring or stressful.

Whilst some people find the group meetings helpful, others find them depressing.


Here are a number of tools that may be useful to you:

High chair or perching stool – It can be easier to do things like washing up, peeling vegetables, cooking or even brushing your teeth whilst sitting down. A wheeled chair might be more useful on smooth surfaces as long as the chair is stable. A perching stool has the seat angled forwards a little so that it is easy to get off.

Shower chair – Sit down whilst having a shower can also save some energy.

Handheld shower – This may also be useful for some people.

A wheelchair – Very useful for energy saving if you have someone who can push you. An electric wheelchair would be even better.

Walky talkies, mobile, cordless phone, baby monitor – Any of these can be used to make communications easier in a large house or across a garden.

Electric toothbrush, electric can opener, small kettle, book holder  - These can all save a bit of energy in your arms.

Long arm grabber – Can enable you to pick up small or lightweight things from the floor without bending down or reaching things that are high up.

Sports bottle – These have a valve so that you can drink whilst still lying down.

Notepad and pencil – To help with memory problems, write things down.

And to bring a bit of colour into your life how about this: GLAMSTICKS

Ear defenders can be bought from here:

Protec Direct



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Paul Hide - D. Hyp, MBSCH - Hypnotherapy © MMXII