Five Ways to Move Beyond Chronic Fatigue
Well is it summer again that beautiful time of year with the wide range of activities and things to do both inside and outside. It can be hard to choose where to put your energy. Unfortunately, if you live with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), adrenal fatigue or fibromyalgia this can be a harder and more frustrating decision for you. How do you work with your limited energy without creating a bigger problem? Well, here are 5 ways to support a change in your body to feel more vital and energized. NOTE: Always consult your physician before trying any new program to be sure that your condition is fully understood.
1. Avoid or severely reduce your caffeine (and sugar) intake: This stimulant, which is the most commonly consumed psychoactive drug, is what many people believe they need to get going in the morning, however, the short-term boost of energy can become a long-term problem. It creates a rollercoaster effect on your energy (as does sugar) and it drains vital energy from your adrenals and kidneys due to its diuretic nature. It is found in many types of food and drink that are consumed daily in our culture. Things like coffee, soda, tea, cocoa, chocolate and some ice cream and yogurt, even some headache and PMS medications contain caffeine. Continue use of this stimulant can create a hyper-arousal state of being that doesn’t allow you to rest fully at night. As little as two cups of coffee a day create cause these problems, which create a negative feedback loop of needing more stimulant the following morning further depleting the body.
2. Eat your Greens: If you want to have more energy and do what you want this summer, then increase your intake of green vegetables including many forms of seaweed. By increasing your chlorophyll content, you begin to clean your system, in particular your Liver. The main function of your Liver it to filter out toxins from the blood. If you filter is clogged, then it isn’t able to do its job very well. When searching for some good options to eat, work with the idea of the greener the better. Try some spinach, kale, broccoli or a salad from time-to-time. One of the best sources of chlorophyll according to Paul Pitchford in his book Healing with Whole Foods (third edition p. 232) is chlorella. This is an algae, which is double the chlorophyll of spirulina. It is found to be particularly good for people with deficiencies like chronic fatigue sufferers.
3. Acupressure/Acupuncture: We all have rivers of energy that flow through our bodies that Traditional Chinese Medicine calls meridians or channels. When you have pain, low energy or disease then this would imply that there is a block along the channel, which needs to be cleared. Acupuncture is a wonderful resource to support this revitalization of your energy.
If you are on a budget, then you can support yourself through acupressure instead. Here are a couple of points to work with to help you increase your energy.
Bladder point 23 - Shenshu or Kidney Shu (located in the lower back below the lowest ribs- approximately level with the thinnest part of the waist)
These points (all bladder points are bilateral) are great for boosting the Kidneys,
alleviating lower back pain and support overall vitality throughout the body.
Place your hands on your lower back and rub them back and forth (towards and away from the spine) to create heat in this area. This is meant to be a massaging action so be gentle.
Once you get some heat generated in your lower back/kidneys hold your hands there to allow the body to absorb this energy. Do this throughout the day as needed.
Stomach point 36 - Zusanli or Leg Three Mile (located four fingers beneath the lateral side of the knee)
Like the Bladder points above, these points are on both legs. They are considered
the best points to harmonize the stomach, spleen and other organs. It is a great point for most chronic disorders like fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Place your hand (like photo on right) beneath the knee. The point can be found
beneath the little finger’s position about one thumb-width from the shin (lateral).
If this point is painful, then gently press with finger and rub in small circles to loosen the muscles and fascia around this point. An alternative option is to simply locate the area and tap it with your fist. You can work with both of them simultaneously. Tap or rub them up to 100 times each (or together).
4. Qigong exercises: We all know that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, but what if you already don’t have a lot of energy. This is where Qigong, the Traditional Chinese Medicine exercise practice, comes into play. This gentle practice works with movement, breath and awareness to support health and well-being by moving through stuck energy and building up energy where needed. It can be done standing, seated or lying down with modifications based on your current energy level. One important aspect of Qigong is that you work within your level of health with the intention and attention on moving forward at your pace.
Ascend the Yin and Descend the Yang Exercises: Video
Start from a standing posture or sit if feeling low of energy
Visualize that you are Inhaling radiant Dark Midnight Blue Light up from the Earth into your Kidneys, as you bring your hands up the inside Yin Leg Channels of your Lower Dantian (the area beneath the navel).
• Exhale, and visualize the radiant Dark Blue energy overflowing your Kidneys and filling your Lower Dantian; as your hands descend down the outside of your leg Channels
• Continue visualizing that you are absorbing this powerful radiant Dark Blue energy inside your Lower Dantian for 18-36 breaths.
Kidney Massage: Begin by sitting at the edge of a chair with both feet on the floor. Slap your hands and rub them together vigorously until they become very hot.
• Next, close your eyes and place both hands on the Kidneys, and begin massaging (in a circular rotation) 24 times inward, then 24 times outward until the area becomes warm
• Next, place your right hand over your Mingmen (area between the Kidneys on the spine) and left hand over your Lower Dantian (navel area). Focus on gathering Heat and Qi into your Kidneys and Lower Dantian area while breathing in a long, slow and deep pattern.
• After several minutes, place the left foot on top of your right knee, and with the
left hand still on the Lower Dantian, place the right hand at the bottom of the left foot and gently slap the Yongquan (Kidney #1) point 100 times (less if tired)
When gently slapping the bottom of your foot, visualize the energy flowing up your leg into your Lower Dantian
• After completing the 100 soft strikes, switch legs and begin to tap the opposite foot.
NOTE: Yongquan is located behind the ball of feet, direct centre (see diagram on right)
5. Meditation/Breath Work: One of the best ways to energize the body without too much exertion, especially for those times when you feel quite depleted is with meditation and some gentle work with the breath. These exercises can be done sitting or lying down.
The exercise offering below is in support of the Spleen, which is an important organ to work with if you are feeling lethargic. CFS is considered a damp condition in Chinese Medicine. That means that Spleen isn’t work optimally in support of Qi production from the food and drink you consume. Whenever there isn’t enough heat in your Spleen to “cook” your food/drink then it produces a heaviness in the body making the muscles weaker and depressing the energy levels. Try the following exercise to get some relief.
Supporting weak Spleen Qi (to increase your energy and strength)
Lie down comfortably on your back, with your hands at your sides (known as the hibernation position). Focus on your navel.
Visualize a golden disk the size of a frisbee spinning around your entire abdomen with its centre at your navel.
With every inhalation, the disk spins half of a circle.
With every exhalation, the disk completes the other half of the circle.
Breathe deeply so that the disk spinning slowly, corresponding to your respiration for a total of 21 times in a clockwise direction (down the left side of the abdomen and up the right side).
Reverse and repeat for 21 breaths in a counterclockwise direction
If you are dealing with Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia or Adrenal fatigue, consider trying the above to see if you can get some relief. While all the above are very gentle and relatively easy to do, please remember to work at the level your body is able and visit your doctor should you have any concerns about the above information. Many blessings on your healing journey AND happy summer!