My Healing Journey With Chronic Fatigue
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
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
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
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
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"
- 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
- 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.