Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) is much more than just being tired a lot. People with ME/CFS are so run down that it interferes with their lives and can make it hard to function at all. Some people with ME/CFS say they have trouble staying on top of their responsibilities at home and on the job, while others are severely disabled and even bedridden. Furthermore, they\\\'re not just dealing with extreme fatigue but with a wide range of other symptoms, including flu-like symptoms and chronic pain.

After years of research, experts now suspect that something called central sensitization is at least partially to blame for ME/CFS. They also believe that\\\'s what makes it so similar to fibromyalgia, which shares many of the same features.

The CDC says the first credible evidence of a biological basis for ME/CFS came in 2006, when 20 researchers from different specialties each linked the illness with genes involved in the sympathetic nervous system and the HPA axis. These genes control how your body responds to things like injuries and stress.

Many researchers believe at least some cases of ME/CFS are caused by an abnormal reaction to common infectious agents. The condition is tentatively linked the the Epstein-Barr virus, enteroviruses, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Lyme disease, although studies haven\\\'t proved a consistent causal link. However, multiple studies suggest that the immune system may be chronically active in people with ME/CFS, which could at least partially explain the fatigue and lack of energy -- basically, your body thinks it\\\'s fighting an infection, whether it is or not, and that takes a lot of energy.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex illness affecting the brain and multiple body systems. It is defined by incapacitating fatigue that is not relieved by rest, and at least four of the following symptoms for at least six months:

* impaired short-term memory of concentration which significantly affects normal activities
* sore throat
* tender lymph nodes in the neck or underarms
* muscle pain
* pain in multiple joints with no joint swelling or redness
* headaches of a new type or severity
* unrefreshing sleep
* general malaise following physical exertion that lasts more than 24 hours

Other common symptoms include: bloating, nausea, diarrhea, night sweats or chills, brain fogginess, dizziness, shortness of breath, chronic cough, visual disturbances, allergies or sensitivities to foods, alcohol, chemicals, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, jaw pain, or eyes or mouth.

The Centers for Disease Control officially recognized this condition in 1988. Chronic fatigue syndrome is more common in women than men, and the majority of people affected are in their thirties.

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown and there are no specific lab tests to diagnose this condition. Multiple triggers may be involved, such as viral infection, stress, nutrient deficiency, toxins, and hormone imbalances. Chronic infection with viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6, and cytomegalovirus, may contribute to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome in some people.

Immune Dysfunction. Another factor thought to be involved in chronic fatigue syndrome is immunologic dysfunction, such as the inappropriate production of inflammatory cytokines. This results in excessive amounts of nitric oxide and peroxynitrite and produces fatigue.

Hormone imbalances. Some studies have found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome have lower levels of the hormone cortisol, which is secreted by the adrenal glands. Lowered level of cortisol may promote inflammation and activate immune cells. Thyroid disorders have also been implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome.

We believe that Chronic Fatigue along with similar syndromes is a kind of metaphor for life out of balance. To put it simply, we have observed that those who suffer with chronic fatigue have taken on more than they can handle. The problem is that most people are not in a position to prioritize their responsibilities. Everything on their plate is equally important and vital. So how does one deal with a life out of balance when they don\'t have the luxury of scaling back anything? The answer is that you have to go into recovery mode, meaning that if your doctor told you, for instance that you have a leaky heart valve and you had to sit out your weekly basketball game until further notice, you\'d follow orders, right? In the case of chronic fatigue you have to take your condition as seriously and be willing to change your life.

We recommend our Kundalini Yoga Meditation DVD. Those techniques, especially the Breath Series, will make a huge difference with CFS. We also recommend the PM segment of our AM/Pm Yoga DVD. The breath meditation on that segment, will regenerate your nervous system from the effects of long term stress and resynchronize your body\'s internal rhythms. That meditation is as follows:

Sitting in a comfortable position with the spine straight, hands in lap, both palms facing up. Eyes 1/10 open looking down and in towards the tip of the nose. Inhale in 4 successive sniffs through the nose (so that by the 4th inhale your lungs are filled). As you inhale think the sounds Sa-Ta-Na-Ma. After inhaling, repeat Sa-Ta-Na-Ma mentally 4x with the breath held. Mentally repeat Sa-Ta-Na-Ma in the same rhythm as the inhale, not too fast. Having held the breath as indicated, exhale in two sniffs, thinking Wahay Guru. Then inhale in 4 parts and continue for ideally 11 - 31 min. If you can only do a few minutes, that\'s fine. Work up to doing it for longer periods over time.

We can\'t overemphasize how effective and powerful these types of practices can be for Chronic Fatigue. We also recommend the Sitali Pranayam breath as listed in this archive.

We also recommend the yoga sets on any of our DVD\'s, with the exercises done more slowly. The first segment of Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond, done slowly, (can even be done sitting in a chair), would be very helpful.