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The month of May is designated as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Month (CFS). This also is known as Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).Up to four million Americans1 suffer from this painful and debilitating condition, and a quarter of these are on disability due to the pain they endure. This is an illness which can effect multiple body systems, including the brain. This condition is frustrating because it seems somewhat trivial to those who do not understand it, and in many people’s mind, if you look fine, you should feel fine.

CFS is distinguished by debilitating fatigue, extreme exhaustion, problems with short term memory, and a host of other complaints. Generally a rheumatologist will be able to diagnose and treat the patient symptomatically, as there is no known cause or treatment. In general these symptoms are treated with muscle relaxers for muscle pain, antidepressants for depression or anxiety, medications for sleep deprivation,which is common with CFS,and NSAID pain relievers.  A  pain management physician may assign the patient to several sessions of physical therapy and regular exercise to enhance wellness.

Changes in diet, sleep, and exercise can make life more manageable for the one suffering with CFS, and having someone in their life who is compassionate and understanding makes the sufferer more at ease and able to deal with the symptoms of CFS.

Alternative therapies are gaining more respect from physicians and sufferers alike because they offer the choice of safer treatments and longer lasting benefits. Some of these include massage therapy, myofascial therapy, TENS unit application, acupuncture, yoga that is modified, tai chi, as well as natural foods and supplements meant to enhance wellness in the individual. Reflexology is always a favorite because the therapist can come to your home and easily work on the patient.  Massage therapy is also a favorable alternative because it allows the person to completely relax, enhances a deeper and more restful sleep, melts away stress, and actually helps to break up trigger point knots in myofascial tissue. It also just feels wonderful!

Long term resident of Port Aransas, Tx., Chiropractor and Certified Acupuncturist, Dr. Steve Canion, of Energetic Health and Research Center, has had success in treating Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture and auriculotherapy.2 See his website for information and testimonials.

Local Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Reflexologist Michele Rossignol of Kia Ora Massage and Bodywork has seen several patients with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia go from being unable to sleep and having little range of motion to sleeping better and finding their symptoms of chronic pain greatly reduced and a significant return in range of motion.

If you know someone suffering with CFI/ Fibromyalgia, CFIDS, or ME, why not send them a note of compassion for National CFS Awareness Month, or get them a gift certificate for massage or a yoga session. It will remind them you are aware of their pain and have made the attempt to understand it, and that they are not alone!  Always be sure to ask your Dr. or therapist if they are State Licensed, it does make a difference!

May 2010 Shelli Rossignol, LMT/CR

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