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  • sarahjanefehlberg

Chronic Fatigue How Naturopaths help

Updated: Dec 29, 2018

Being a Naturopath it is something we see in clinic a lot, and as with any condition – no one size fits all.

So how is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Characterised?

  • Intense fatigue lasting for over 6 months

  • Tiredness that does not recover after a night’s sleep

  • Fatigue accounting for 50% reduction in daily activities

  • Unknown cause, but sometimes starts with Glandular Fever

Recently we were asked to go in the audience for Insight SBS on the topic Chronic Fatigue

A man in the audience had two children one after another fall ill from Chronic Fatigue, he mentioned his only regret was that he didn’t take the condition seriously as his kids were teenagers and he thought at first they needed to get on with it, he was unaware of the severity.

When questioned you could see and hear the frustration surrounding the current medical model around the "treatment" for Chronic Fatigue.

The current medical model does not look at an individual person with the condition instead “Currently there is no curative treatment that exists for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome” I believe they simple do not have the adequate time to actually treat or look at the individual as a whole.

It was clear from the panel being interviewed that several measures were needed and all different for each individual. For some working with an exercise physiologist worked well, for others it didn’t.

I noticed it worked with the Athletes being interviewed one being a football player the other an Australian netball player – I concluded their recovery with exercise worked because they were used to training themselves in that way – an end goal.

To give an example of how the fatigue effected them – they were bed ridden – they couldn’t get out of bed or do daily tasks, this would exhaust them. So the “exercise” prescribed would be something to the tune of getting the mail out of the letter box.

For others who weren’t athletes exercise therapy didn’t seem to have the same effect, instead “natural therapies “did – however this wasn’t further questioned or explained, instead a bunch of doctors spoke about old research and how they don’t know the underlying cause.

They failed to really answer the number one thing that effects the treatment of individuals medically regardless of what the patient presents with.

The need for individualised patient care and the time that takes

A 15-minute appointment about a chronic cannot-get-out-of-bed condition – needs longer than 15 minutes with a doctor for a thorough assessment!


Natural health care professionals spend up to 1.5 hours with their clients one on one to work with the individual holistically.

What does holistically mean? That person – as a WHOLE, not just a part.

It was clear from the panel of speakers the term “Chronic Fatigue” meant something completely different to each of them, however they were all treated the same by the medical system – told to rest and "it will pass".

Factors that we look at to combat or may be the underlying cause of Fatigue

  • Overtraining

  • Food Sensitivities

  • Mental Health

  • Gut health – the connection to the vagus nerve – Gut-Brain Connection

  • Sleep

  • Nutritional intake

  • Immune Dysfunction

  • Infections

  • Environmental Toxins

  • Nutrient Deficiencies

  • Hormone balance

  • Thyroid Disease

  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction

How can this be addressed in a 15-minute consult????

How is that patient care?

Chronic Fatigue is multifactorial – there are so many different variables, there isn’t one cause, and it is a REAL condition and needs to be treated as such.

I feel for all the speakers on insight that night as the struggle for answers is real but the struggle for support is even more frustrating and alarming.

This is why natural health medicine needs to be taken more seriously in this country.

If you’ve had a Naturopath help you on your journey we’d love to hear how !

Catch me on Insight here

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