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My Healing Journey With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What follows is a brief summary of all the various things I've tried over the years as I worked to heal my CFS. I've learned so many things along the way, and I share this with you in hopes that it will help in some way with your own healing journey.

I was raised believing in modern medicine (allopathy), and, like my parents, looked at the various alternative healing methods with suspicion.

My first experience with alternative healing was after I moved out and went to college. There, my girlfriend, who was Chinese, introduced me to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as her parents are amateur herbalists. Many Chinese people have a fairly good knowledge of TCM, Chi (internal energy), and martial arts, and I began to learn about all these aspects of Chinese culture through her.

I was still skeptical about it, however, until I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Western medicine could not help me, and so I tried going to an acupuncturist. The acupuncture and herbs helped me get over some of my initial symptoms which were quite severe, but then I found myself in a plateau.

Since then, I've seen many Chinese doctors and learned that TCM is an advanced and powerful system of healing. I hope to study it someday.

My feeling is that Chinese Medicine is good for many things, but it cannot cure CFS. It will help with many of the peripheral problems CFS can cause but not attack the source of the illness itself. The only place I've found that seems to have a solid idea of what CFS is and how to deal with it is the Clymer Healing and Research Center. For more on the Clymer Healing and Research Center, see my article on it.

Later on, after I broke up with my Chinese girlfriend, I moved back to Chicago and found myself without access to a good Chinese doctor. I began to investigate the western traditions of natural healing at this time, and my Zen teacher introduced me to the writings and natural healing products of Dr. Richard Schulze. (See my page on Dr. Schulze.) Later, as I learned more about the various systems, I concluded that Dr. Schulze is a member of the Naturopathy school.

While Chinese medicine focuses a great deal on balancing one's Chi meridians and believes that imbalanced Chi, stuck Chi, or too little Chi is the cause of disease, I found these theories absent (or at least not emphasized) in Naturopathy. Instead, it focuses on the body's detoxification system and heals a person by getting their detoxification systems working well again.

Both TCM and Naturopathy stress the importance of good diet, breathing, and positive mental attitude.

I have not yet studied Homeopathy, Chiropractic, or Osteopathy in any detail yet, but these are other traditional forms of western natural healing with their own theories and methods.

I have however received many Integral Bodywork treatments, which is a system similar to Rolfing. (See my page on Zen and Integral Bodywork.) These systems, though similar to Chiropractic in that they manipulate or massage the body, seem to focus more on healing of a spiritual type rather than physical disease. They are good for physical injuries and muscle tension, however.

Let me provide a consise list of the various systems and a brief description of each:

  • Allopathy - Modern medicine. Emphasis on drugs and surgery. Developed more recently, yet is now considered "traditional" medicine.
  • Osteopathy - Now very similar to Allopathy, but in the past used body manipulation, similar to Chiropractic.
  • Naturopathy - One of the traditional systems of healing in the West that considers toxic buildup in the body and weak detoxification organs as the cause of disease.
  • Homeopathy - Another traditional system of healing in the West based on the theory that small amounts of substances that cause symptoms like a certain disease's symptoms will actually cure the disease.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine - Treats disease by balancing the flow of Chi in the body's meridians.
  • Chiropractic - Believes disease is caused by nerve impingement and treats it by manipulating the spine.
  • Bodywork - Includes Rolfing, Zen Bodytherapy, and Integral Bodywork. Uses body manipulation but focuses on fixing alignment, posture, and emotional issues rather than disease.

These descriptions are very brief and are merely the result of my own experience, not in-depth research, so they may not be completely accurate. Also, I'm sure there is much overlap and influence as well as further developments within the schools as they adopt parts of other systems or develop new theories, but hopefully I've been able to convey a sense of the general ideas basic to each system.

I welcome any clarifications or corrections. Please use my Contact page to send me an e-mail. I plan to put addenums at the bottom of my articles with further , related information about the topic based on the e-mails I receive.


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Disclaimer: None of the statements on this page have been evaluated by the FDA and should not be taken as medical advice. We are not responsible for any bad reactions you may have after taking this product.