The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection in CFS/FMS
Am I Crazy? After dealing with an insane medical system, people with CFS/FMS, and even those with simple day-to-day fatigue, often come away wondering if they're crazy.
The simple answer? NO! At least not any more crazy than anybody else.
We have a bad habit in medicine. If a doctor can't figure out what's wrong with their patient, the doctor brands them a "turkey." Imagine calling an electrician because your lights don't work. After checking all the wiring, he can't find the problem and says, "You're crazy. There's nothing wrong with your lights." You flip the switches and they still don't work, but the electrician just says, "I've looked. There's no problem here," and walks out the door.
This is the same frustrating experience of many CFS/FMS and day-to-day fatigue patients.
With that in mind, in this part 20 of my series "Fatigue & Fibromyalgia Are Optional," I'll summarize a few thoughts on mind-body-spirit considerations in CFS and fibromyalgia. (To remind you, BFFs are just the short summaries I include at the beginning of each chapter in my newest edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic. I added these to my new edition to help readers who don't have the time to go through all the detail in every chapter, allowing them to quickly get the main points of a topic while devoting more time to reading the details in chapters they're more interested in.)
- CFS, fibromyalgia, and day-to-day fatigue are physical processes with physical causes. However, like most illnesses, they also have psychological components that must be treated.
- If a doctor implies that they don't know what's wrong with you so you must be crazy, leave.
- If something does not feel good, that is all the justification you need to say "No!"
- Emotional traumas, including the illness itself, can trip circuit breakers throughout your brain and nervous system. In my book, From Fatigued to Fantastic, I review a number of approaches to resetting these circuits. These can powerfully help immunity, sensitivity, pain, orthostatic intolerance, and more. I also discuss a number of tools that can help, many of which you can do at no cost on your own.
- Use the trembling technique discussed in the book Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine to release the muscle memory of the traumas. A technique called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can help you release the emotional energy. Then, as needed, activate the ventral vagal part of your nervous system, which stimulates the feeling of safety.
- Historically, a number of cultural approaches have been used to activate the ventral vagal. For example, tai chi, meditation and prayer, and pranayama (yogic breathing). Social activities such as chatting, small talk, or having a meal or a cup of coffee with someone also are important and helpful.
- In From Fatigued to Fantastic, I discuss the importance of triggering the "feeling safe" part of your brain, called the polyvagal theory.
- Eespecially important? Techniques such as ANS REWIRE or Dynamic Neural Retraining System help reset the limbic system/hypothalamic circuit breaker in the brain that got tripped by your CFS/fibromyalgia. Doing either of these techniques for an hour a day for two months can often eliminate not only the sensitivities, but much of the CFS and fibromyalgia. Especially after the S.H.I.N.E.® protocol has treated the physiology. Either of these can be amazing for you.
From My New Edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic
To remind you, BFFs (Brain Fog Friendly Summaries) are just the short summaries I include at the beginning of each chapter in my newest edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic. I added these to my new edition to help readers with brain fog quickly get the main points of a topic. Then, as able and interested, they can dive into each topic to get far more detail. I invite you to get the book. It will rock your world!
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.