Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a very complex disease with persistent low-grade energy not improving after adequate rest. The symptoms are there for months or years and do not improve. In this section, let us look at a different perspective away from modern medicine and look at Ayurveda to understand how CFS is manifested and what can be done to improve it. This will give us different in site. Ayurveda can always be integrated with a current medical treatment approach to benefits the patient’s treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Patients with sleep apnea with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia who are on CPAP or BiPAP and compliant with treatment may still have residual fatigue during the daytime or a low-energy level at the end of the day. Ayurveda can further help in such cases.
The word Ayurveda is Ayu, which means long healthy life and veda which means science, so Ayurveda is the science that explains the long healthy life or it is also called Indian medical science. It is one of the oldest medical systems in the world, which originated in India and documented to mankind. Books written hundreds and thousands of years ago in Sanskrit literature help this understanding. Very good information has been described in Ayurveda as it treats the patient uniquely on an individual basis and not as a group therapy. As no two people with chronic fatigue symptoms are the same genetically, so will the treatment be unique to them as well.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is not a new disease as Ayurveda has described chronic fatigue syndrome and it has been present for centuries. It discusses low-energy level or low bala in the body and how it should be addressed.
Ayurveda describes the body made of five key elements namely, fire, earth, water, air and space. Ayurveda also describes the basic three body types namely, vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is predominantly air, pitta is fire quality, and kapha is earthly quality. Its permutation and combination gives rise to the different body types and body tissues and different energy flow as a basic prakruti or genetics of the person.
A person with body type Kapha, will have chronic fatigue with lethargy, a more sluggish, heavy-set person, long sleeper with low metabolism and slow digestion.
A person with body type Pitta, may have more heat in the body and feels warm or hot, gets heartburn, may have lose bowel movements, skin rash, and generally an active personality with tendency to get angry if things do not happen the way they intended to happen. Fibromyalgia falls in this area, but the involvement is predominantly muscle. Fibromyalgia patients have chronic fatigue and are different than patienst with no fibromyalgia and CFS.
A person with body type Vata, may have irregular sleep habits, difficulty falling or maintaining sleep, constipation, dry skin, mild irritation, joint discomfort, etc. These are the general descriptions, but as all have all three qualities, different things can be seen in a person, but one or two types will be more predominant.
Usually, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have the vata-pitta or pitta-vata type generally in most cases. This can be analyzed by the ayurvedic pulse diagnosis and other bodily features. If one has chronic fatigue then if one learns Ayurveda, it may help them and in the long run pay it back multiple times as it is a good way of understanding the body type and one can make modifications.
So if one has pitta-vata type and the chronic fatigue is in that subtype than the management would be to alleviate the vata and the pitta factors by improving the digestion, restful sleep and using the herbs that are specific for that body type. Generally, sleeping between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am on a regular basis and doing pranayama or breathing exercises of yoga may further help.
Drugs or foods that cause the heartburn or high acid in the body may need to be analyzed and reduced or eliminated based on a case-by-case basis. The goal should be to be on a low medication list including the vitamins, as they are not able to digest it. The diet should be high in fruits and vegetables and easily digested food. Relaxation and sound sleep is very important and initially the person may have to spend weeks to have increase in the hours to restore the sleep deprivation syndrome. Multiple other things need to be done but with the above few, one can get started.
Generally, it takes 1-2 years and at times 3 years for this to improve based on the medical condition of the person. Slow and steady may win the race to overcome fatigue if a systematic plan is followed. Ayurveda is the key for this understanding.