Guide to Chronic Fatigue


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a mysterious condition. There is no known cause. While the symptoms can be debilitating, there is no test to diagnosis it. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with CFS. And most sufferers are between 25 and 45 years old, although there are cases in childhood and middle age.

Some people with CFS live active lives while 25% of the cases are disabled. Sometimes the disease is persistent and other times there is a pattern of relapse and remission. No one knows how many cases there are of CFS because The CFIDS Association of America estimates that fewer than 20 percent of CFS patients in the United States have been properly diagnosed.

CFS has several names. It is called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).  No matter what it is called, the most effective way to manage chronic fatigue is with alternative treatments. 

The most successful way to manage fatigue is with alternative treatments. This includes everything from lifestyle changes to yoga to acupuncture. It is likely that you will need to experiment to find which ones work best for you. Chronic fatigue varies greatly from one sufferer to the next. Each person needs an individualized plan.

Lifestyle changes

Successful management of chronic fatigue requires a healthy lifestyle—basically everything you probably already know you should be doing. Taking care of yourself is the first step to reducing your symptoms.

Pace yourself. Avoid packing too much into your day. Keep an even, moderate pace to your daily activities.Eat well. Avoid refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats. Eat fresh vegetables, legumes, whole grains, protein and essential fatty acids (nuts, seeds and cold water fish).Take supplements. Try magnesium, Beta-carotene, L-carnitine and Vitamin D. Some people have luck with Vitamin B12 (if B12 supplements don’t work, ask your doctor about getting injections). Other people have tried DHEA but this is a hormone, not a supplement, and should be taken with a doctor’s recommendation.Sleep well. Get plenty of rest every day; consider regular naps or resting times.Reduce stress.Exercise regularly.

Yoga and Meditation

Many people find relief from their symptoms with a regular yoga or meditation routine. Yoga and meditation help reduce stress and some of the discomfort from your symptoms.


There are many herbs that might help manage chronic fatigue and reduce the symptoms. Often Ginseng or Echinacea are recommended.

While these herbs are good places to start, I highly recommend that you get herbal recommendations specific to your constitution. There are many Chinese formulas that address not only the symptoms, but the imbalances that are causing your condition.


Homeopathy is a great way to reestablish balance in your body. Typical homeopathic remedies for chronic fatigue include Arsenicum, Gelsemium, Pulsatilla or Sulphur. Like herbs, however, finding the right remedy for your body can be quite tricky. You will get better relief if you get a recommendation from a professional homoeopathist.

Chiropractic Adjustments

A chiropractic visit can relieve the muscle and joint pain.


Massage is a great alternative treatment for chronic fatigue. It helps you reenergize and cope with depression and relieves your pain.

Support Groups/Counseling

I highly recommend getting emotional support for chronic fatigue. Not only are you in extreme discomfort, but your condition can seem invisible to people around you. They may not know how to support you and may even question if you are sick. Also managing chronic fatigue can mean major lifestyle changes at a time when you feel depleted.


There are several acupressure points that may help relieve your symptoms. These points can help CFS in general, but it’s always good to get recommendations for the points that are best for you.

Stomach #36. Use this point to increase your immune function and get energy.Kidney #3. This point fortifies the kidney-adrenal system.Large Intestine #4. This point relieves pain.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands illnesses as patterns of imbalance. Because of this, chronic fatigue is not understood as a single disease. Instead, the symptoms of CF are the result of several different patterns of disharmony. The most common organ systems affected are the spleen, liver or kidney, but I can’t define CF as a single TCM diagnosis.

Your treatment is unique to you and your body. After I take your history, check your pulses and look at your tongue, I can give you a better idea of how acupuncture can help you. But in all cases, acupuncture can help relieve your symptoms and, even more importantly, build your health. Call me today so you can start to feel alive again.

Photo: By frank wouters from antwerpen, belgium , België , Belgique (uil) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About Geoffrey He

Dr. Geoffrey He graduated in 1998 with Bachelor of Medicine majored acupuncture (Chinese medicine). He then worked as resident in Heilongjiang Province Hospital of China for five years. At the same time he furthered his education and acquired Bachelor of Medicine majored in Clinical Medicine (western medicine).He started his private practice in 2003 in Sydney and then moved to Adelaide in 2006 to pursue his special interest in pain management and fertility studies in combined Chinese medicine and traditional medicine.He has been practiced acupuncture and Chinese medicine for over twenty years treating general conditions with extensive experience in gynaecological disorders and infertility, stress related conditions and facial acupuncture, he is highly experienced in clinical medicine for pain management (Neurological Medicine), gynaecological disorders, fertility assistance (IVF) and cosmetic acupuncture. He is special interest in the area of Post Injury Management and General Practice in Chinese Medicine.Focusing on an intuitive level to suit each individual, Geoffrey's approach is rooted in the strong link between physical, mental and emotional health and the underlying cause of disharmony. Treatment is supported by additional lifestyle advice with an emphasis on empowering patients to achieve a healthy balance in their lives."I was trained in Western Conventional Medicine and Chinese Medicine with over 15 years clinical practicing experience including ten years in Australia, I combine the techniques of Modern Medicine and the art of healing from Chinese Medicine to help people get their natural and healthy life." - Dr Geoffrey x He