How to overcome ME/CFS

© B Rosen

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, CFIDS or ME) is a very serious disease. It’s had very little attention from the scientific research world until recently.

This is despite the fact that ME/CFS is fifteen times more widespread than the polio epidemic was at its height.

I got sick with ME/CFS at age 22 (46 now). At age 22 I felt 90. I had glandular fever age 11 and my health deteriorated after that. This is about what finally worked for me and gave me some energy after thirteen years in hell as a zombie…

Tips for healing ME/CFS naturally…

The only thing that worked for me was supporting the body, mind and soul…

  1. Eat and drink the right stuff. Human food ONLY. VERY important. Fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, animal source foods. If you need help with a simple daily plan, then please see our chronic fatigue diet page. Drink 2 liters of filtered water every day.
  2. Stay away from environmental toxins such as exhaust fumes as much as possible. Remove all recreational drugs from your life… tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol etc.
  3. Exercise. Walk and build. I’m not talking about exercise in the normal way but move as much as possible. This is a fine balancing act. Without moving our cell waste stagnates in the lymph system and keeps us trapped in a downward spiral. Yoga is also great and leaves you with more energy than you started with. It works on all levels — physical, psychological and emotional — highly recommended for CFS/ME.
  4. Meditate, relax. These methods are wonderful and can be used with profit to spend all the time you will have lying in bed!
  5. Get organized. Get everything you’re worried about actioned (“What can I DO?”) or set for review. This way you prevent a build up of worries causing you stress (the LAST thing you need right now). Please don’t be too proud to ask for help; you need all the help you can get, and delegate as much as possible to free up what little energy you have for healing.
  6. Remove mercury. If you have mercury fillings, get them taken out by a specialist in this field.
  7. Sleep. This is tough and again it’s a balancing act. The thing is… if you have a little energy, use it to move gently… walking, doing your “things-to-do”, yoga/qigong etc, then as SOON as you feel off again… 20-30 minutes rest, then try a little more activity… so we have these rest/move cycles. Try to establish good QUALITY night-time sleep. Bed 10-11 o’clock and getting up before 9 o’ clock. This can give you up to 11 hours in bed but doesn’t allow long lie-ins that can disturb the circadian rhythms.
  8. Create a daily pattern. Establish all these things into a normal daily pattern — very important.
  9. Have good feelings. Good feelings heal. Watch comedy for laughs and stay away from ALL negativity… news, soaps, horror etc.
  10. Believe you will recover. Simply attach the quality of “true” to the idea so that it feels true.

Look to nature

Considering that there is no conventional medical treatment or cure for ME/CFS, I would urge you to look to nature, look to the healing power of body and mind. There’s soooooo much stuff “out there” to confuse you and you can spend YEARS going from medic to medic and trying all different “remedies” and methods.

This is what worked for me and I believe you have a good chance to get well if you get on the right track with the right mindset.

Beware relapse

If you support your body and immune system, it is possible to put ME/CFS into remission but beware… if your immune system is compromised again, you could relapse. Bottom line… do good things, avoid stress, stay on top.

My very best heart-felt wishes for your speedy recovery.

If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment below…

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

18 thoughts on “How to overcome ME/CFS

  1. it all started after taking my kids to school on opening day. i almost collapse in town.I got into the the supermarket and was helped to rest .i called my workmates and they rushed to assist me.2days later was told i have typhoid and was treated. again after a month i was told the typhoid was not eradicated and was give another dose . 4 month later the same fatigue this time again was treated only a month later i was given now malaria treatment. Oh my God i have suffered much.Little did i knew that was going to be along time really suffering with thi zombie. please help!!

  2. Hi Zainabu,

    I would think the next step for you is to get an accurate diagnosis. What tests have you already had? Has your doctor carried out exhaustive tests to exclude the common causes of fatigue?

    A diagnosis of ME/CFS is usually given after all these tests and looking at the usual common symptoms of ME/CFS:

    Severe fatigue made worse by even small exertions, foggy/woolly head, unrefreshing sleep, disturbed sleep, NMH — neurally mediated hypotension = low blood pressure causing dizziness and inability to stand for more than a minute or two, difficulty remembering simple words, disorientation, intolerance to alcohol and environment toxins such as exhaust fumes, a permanent “hang-over,” onset of allergies/food intolerance.

    This isn’t a full list but these are the very common symptoms. ME/CFS can vary in severity.

    It’s critical that you support your body in the meantime by living the best lifestyle you can and getting plenty of rest.

    Ask all your family, friends and collegues to help you by giving you the space you need to focus on getting well. Delegate as much as you can to others until you are well again. Asking for help is difficult but swallow your pride and ask :-)

    So, seek firm diagnosis and support your body the best you can by doing all the right things. Have a read of the list in the article… these are the keys and all of them important.

    Let me know if you need clarity on anything further.

    All the best,

  3. Or perhaps these listed methods have nothing to do with ‘making it better’ perhaps you just got better out of coincidence. As for natural medicine having the answer? If that was true someone would be a millionaire and would be a genius to have figured out what’s stumped millions of doctors – and hurt their egos.

    Relapse could then happen naturally anyway, despite your best efforts.

    I’ve tried all the things listed above and it did NOT help me. I’m surprised to see that someone who suffered for so long would buy into the mumbo jumbo that is pedalled to patients through their GPs and other health care providers.

    I’m glad if you feel this has worked for you, but to put it out there as the answer is wrong. Yes we should all be looking after ourselves – that’s a given – but you can do all that and still get screwed over. Life’s a bitch.

  4. Hi Caz0rz,

    Nobody sold me these ideas. Back then no-one talked about the power of lifestyle. If GP’s are talking about these ideas now then I’m very happy about it.

    Reversing serious illness is a different proposition to prevention. We need to go the extra mile but change is hard for people, even small changes can be hard so you can see why no-one becomes a millionaire :-)

    I could have easily given up and said “This isn’t working” too. Because healing can feel even worse and then you conclude that what you’re doing is taking you in the wrong direction.

    It helps a HUGE amount if you have someone to guide you who has been through it — who can tell you to carry on when you’re about to give up, to have faith when you feel hopeless.

    I once listened to a lecture by the UK leading scientist working on ME/CFS. He explained the biochemical changes in extreme detail, very scientific. An amazing lecture, great knowledge.

    At the end, someone asked “That’s great but what can we DO?”

    “Eat more fruit and veg” was the answer.

    Seems so simple that we dismiss it. How could a simple thing cure MY great problems. The truth is that biochemistry is incredibly complex but the things we need to do are simple and we must keep the faith. We must go the extra mile to REVERSE disease.

    If you say you have tried these things I applaud you but I wonder to what extent, with what faith?

    I fasted on only water for 11 days. Desperate to get well or die. I simply could not go on anymore like I was. I don’t recommend fasting without supervision of an expert btw.

    A doctor once said of CFS “The good news is you’re not going to die and the bad news is you’re not going to die.” So true. Endless torture is CFS.

    I walked almost every day on the verge of tears. It was hard to do. There are very few people willing to do what it takes. They would rather wait for a pill while not have to change anything.

    I tell you this… most will NOT do what it takes. If you are different then I can show you how to go the extra mile and keep faithful.

  5. Hello, thank you for taking time to post this up for us all :) and i send out a hug to all suffering from M.E, it can be very tough. I have had M.E/fybromyalgia for 16 years. 3 years ago i removed all my mercury fillings and did the lightening process and the tiredness WENT. However, since then i have been just as ill but with bugs and viruses that cling on for up to 9 months. I had vaccines as a child when i moved to Africa, and wonder if its linked to this. I feel so strong now that it just confuses me when my body gets ill for so long, and i wondered if you could shed any light on immunity.

    Thanks again for your time :)

    from jojo x

    1. Hi jojo,

      I think there are thousands of FACTORS that affect health and so, immunity, and they are all inter-related. So it’s a case of getting as many positive health factors in place consistently, and that means habitually, because we’re wired for habit creation, to learn to do things effortlessly.

      For healing, sometimes we need to go the extra mile but in the main, just putting the conditions for health consistently there gives the very best chance of health. Those conditions are NOT the ones that caused the problem to show up.

      As you’ve found, me too, once health starts going down hill, it tends to keep going because other factors come into play, perhaps infections as you’ve said, other detrimental behaviors that we do to fix our bad feelings in the moment, which then become habits and so-on.

      The solution is to be very clear about what the conditions for best health are, and head tenaciously in that direction, resisting the urge to self-medicate healing crisis, detox etc by doing more bad stuff to ourselves. It’s can be a tough journey for sure.

      The stuff I discovered over a 20+ year time frame, I’ve put into my book, Happy Guide, so that others don’t have the incredibly frustrating process of trying to figure it all out. The truth is quite simple as it turned out; Health and happiness is about a FEW ideas pursued with dogged persistence.

      I wish you health and happiness and a happy journey jojo,

      All the best,

  6. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for this article! I’ve had ME for just over 10 years now, and have to say that I’ve been doing a combination of your steps. You mentioned that you had a food plan – would it be possible to have more information regarding this, please?

    Thank you again for your help.

    1. Hi Georgia,

      A combination of steps is the way to go — a multi-pronged strategy :-)

      Diet advice depends on what you’re doing now and how quickly you want to go, but a good finish line for you would be to remove all grains and dairy foods gradually, and focus on natural human foods — fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, animal source foods like eggs, fish, poultry etc, all as high quality as you can afford — such as choosing free-range, organic, grass-fed when possible.

      A simple way to go is to have breakfast when you’re hungry… for me that was 11am which will give you extra detox time but it depends when you get up. Then have a fruit only meal for breakfast. Then lunch at 4pm, dinner at 7pm of fruit starter, then protein with a large salad/steamed, roasted or raw veggies/nuts-seeds and a dressing/dairy-free sauce. Have your starter say 30 minutes before main course. Another option for dinner could be meat or fish casserole (slow-cooked is good) which gives a ready-made tasty sauce with steamed vegetables, and fruit starter.

      As well as removing grains and dairy, be careful with nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper, eggplant etc.

      If you want to take it a step at a time, then the diet in Happy Guide is a great first step, removing gluten grains and most dairy, and focusing mainly on human foods in a way that’s very socially acceptable. You could then take further small steps from there.

  7. Hey I defintely think i’m sufferig from chronc fatigue the fatigue is overwhelming sometimes I think death is next and its very hard for me to focus in my school work it started over the summer of 2011 (8TH GRADE) so what can I do to better myself to focus better or is it some way I can get homeschooled because it is very hard for me.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      I recommend seeing your doctor for a diagnosis. Fatigue can be caused by a lot of things so it’s good to know what you’re dealing with. In any case, it’s best to support your body and mind with all the things in the article which are explained in more depth in the Happy Guide book. Homeschooling could be an option for you, if your fatigue is likely to be persistent/long-term — you’d need to sort that out with your parents.

      If you do have CFS, then I would urge you to focus right away on doing the right things to help your body recover.

  8. Hiya Mike. Long time no speak!! Wow I do like your new communication methods. I just wanted to add something which may or may not help others…..when on the Stone Age diet, if you suffer from a yeast infection of the gut, or leaky gut, eating fruit is not a good idea as it feeds the yeast which makes it very difficult to get more energy if you suffer from CFS as well. A sugar free, fructose free, gluten and dairy free diet are required. I have tried this, on and off for the last three years ( I was diagnosed with ME/CFS in 2009 although I have had symptoms since maybe 2007). I find it very difficult to stick to the requirements for long periods, but I have had success from time to time. Thanks for all your support since 2009 Mike. You saved my life in those early days when you told me to stick to a Stone Age Diet. It was the only thing that actually helped at all. I have slipped back and although I am back working part time and have a kind of balanced life, i know I need to go back to basics again. I am looking for inspiration once more Mike. The best inspiration can be found on your site Thanks again. Elaine

    1. WOW thanks so much for the positive feedback, sometimes I wonder if I am doing the best I can to help with the emails and info I send out, because it can go a while without hearing back :-) Thanks for the info re fruit. Do you find that’s true even if you eat the fruit on its own? Back years ago when I was doing and studying a lot of raw food philosophy, a guy called Doug Graham who wrote the 80/10/10 diet, insisted that fruit is not a problem if eaten alone??

      Yes it’s about the basics isn’t it. So easy to stray from the path with all the temptations and social stuff going on. But I find that once you’re solid for a while and into those crucial good habits, it gets easier and easier… and you feel so much better too so the rewards start coming.

      Are you definitely signed up to the emails… I was just resending some invites and I saw that you hadn’t accepted yet?

      Thanks again for your lovely message!!! ~ Mike

  9. This is a very interesting piece that fits well with what I’ve found so far.
    Brief story: I was diagnosed many years ago after a terrible bout of flu, then chicken pox (of all things!!). I had a litany of symptoms, from noise sensitivity to shaking all over and muscle twitches. I hung on at my job for a year or so but it came to a ‘push or be pushed’ situation at work. I left, realising that the job was probably why I was ill in the first place (it was a very high-pressured job) and after 6 months or so I started to improve. I’ve been plateaued since then, but last September, I got a virus, after which walking was difficult because I felt filled with sand. I saw a doctor who said I should ‘think positively and go for short walks’. I felt like punching her, I really did. But I figured I should do it because then I could go back to her and say ‘it didn’t work, now FIX ME’. But it DID work!! Before I went to sleep, and as soon as I woke up. I pictured myself going about my day, feeling great. Then I went for short walks with my husband. Within 2 days, the heavy feeling was gone! Since then, I’m a LONG way from cured but I do believe it makes a difference and I CAN exercise. The one thing I’m not sure about is whether I can be cured completely. Most days I’m around 80% but I can’t seem to break through that glass ceiling. Still, there’s always hope.

    1. Hi Jessica, that’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m curious to know: did you make any dietary changes? Mike posted a CFS/ME diet here, if you’re interested in taking a look:

      It’s great that you got out of your stressful job. We have an article about the ideas of “success” that most of us are brought up with, and how damaging they can be. You might be interested in this too:

      Best wishes,

      1. Hi James

        I’m so sorry! I’ve been out of the ‘blogosphere’ for some time while I finished my university courses for this year, so I’ve only just read your post.

        Honestly, I can’t say that dietary changes made an obvious difference but there have been some small improvements that I do put down to certain diet-related things. I’m not sure how much use they’ll be though, if I’m honest. Still…here goes.

        A year ago I was diagnosed with something called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disorder. Simply, this means the valve at the base of my oesophegus doesn’t close properly and I get bad acid reflux. Over the last 6 months I’ve noticed a correlation between it and my M.E/CFS symptoms. Whenever I ignore my LPR issues and eat/drink things that upset my stomach, my M.E/CFS gets worse. I don’t know why but there is a definite link there. Also, I’ve been taking high-strength cod liver oil capsules, a vitamin tablet, a Vitamin D3 tablet, and an amino acid complex capsule every day and I think this has made a small difference. I’ve heard of connections between increased protein intake and symptom relief so I’m trying that right now but nothing to report yet.

        Finally, and the thing that I’ve been slated for on the internet in the past for even mentioning, is mild to moderate exercise. I’m going to go a little on the defensive, just in case, and say I have been formally diagnosed with the M.E/CFS. I’ve been to a clinic for sufferers and they’ve given a second formal diagnosis. I definitely DO have it. Now, over the years I have found that doing nothing much more than resting makes my symptoms worse over time. But doing minor exercise (starting with short walks) and building up that exercise has made a bigger impact than anything else. By last Autumn I could play rounders for 2 hours each week and badminton for an hour each week. I can still exercise like this now. I’ve had occasional ‘troughs’ where things have worsened after an illness or a mental/emotional upset (the sudden loss of our cat in February threw me for a week or two), but overall I’ve stayed very consistent. Despite what people say, I’ve found exercise more useful than almost anything else so far.

      2. Hi Jessica, good to hear back from you and no need to apologize! Hope the uni courses went well — I imagine it’s a relief to be finished? You certainly won’t be slated for expressing an opinion here :-) I couldn’t agree more about exercise and I’m sure Mike would say the same. Exercise, getting moving, was part of what gave Mike his life back after many years of ME/CFS. In fact it’s number 3 in the article above haha :-) As it says, it’s a balancing act isn’t it? You certainly don’t want to over do it. But we are built to move. If we don’t, our cell waste stagnates in the lymph system. So glad to hear you’re able to able to last for 2 hours at a time, that’s wonderful!

  10. Of those who feel they have recovered, I am wondering if you have been able to resume activity levels similar to those prior to the onset of your ME? I have been suffering for close to a year. At my worst, I operate around 15% and at my best I operate around 75% capacity. There were a few weeks over the summer when I was able to walk a few miles at a slow to moderate pace. It was amazing! Most weeks, all I am able to manage is fixing meals and looking after my two year old. I am eating clean – gluten free, dairy free, no nightshades or red meat. I am eating brown rice, wild rice, and steel cut oats. In time, I may eliminate those, as well. I try gentle yoga. It wipes me out pretty severely, but I want to continue trying to find a balance that works. My greatest love in the world is caring for my son and I want nothing more than to resume the activities we used to do together, mainly tons and tons of outdoor play. Additionally, I’m an avid hiker and daydream all the time about visiting Glacier and so many other places with my husband and son. I guess I’m looking for a nugget of hope, someone to say, “Yes, you will be able to hike again.”

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