ME explored by Kidderminster hypnotherapist Joanne Marie
The NHS use the term Chronic fatigue Syndrome for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes many symptoms including persistent fatigue (exhaustion) that affects everyday life and does not go away with sleep or rest. Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Both CFS and ME are commonly used terms.
Most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people with CFS have severe symptoms. Those severely affected are able to carry out minimal daily tasks, such as brushing teeth, but have significantly reduced mobility; and may also have difficulty concentrating. Many experiencing CFS often talk about their brain feeling as if it is in a whirl of fog, with dizziness also being a feature.
Unfortunately there is currently no accepted cure and no universally effective treatment. Those treatments which have helped reduce particular symptoms in some people have unfortunately proved ineffective or even counterproductive in others (M.E. Association website accessed Jan 2015).
The NHS recommends a number of treatments to help with the condition . These include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help people to accept the diagnosis, challenge thoughts that could prevent symptoms improving and to try to increase a sense of control over symptoms.
Hypnotherapy has been explored as a complementary therapy to assist with managing the symptoms of ME. A study in 1997 found self hypnosis successful for some subjects with CFS .but others did find it difficult to practice self hypnosis even with the help of an audiotape. This small study did, however, find generally positive results when using hypnotherapy to manage symptoms of CFS. The author concluded:
“The striking point about the cases reported here is the degree of control facilitated by hypnosis over the feelings of fatigue and myalgia that characterize CFS. There is a need for a randomized controlled study on the effectiveness of hypnotic intervention in CFS, as has recently been conducted with relaxation. Possibly, however, hypnosis will be most effective as an adjunct to other interventions, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, as it has been with other complaints.”
(‘Hypnosis and the chronic fatigue syndrome: a case study’. Vernon H Gregg and David Jones. Contemporary Hypnosis (1995), Vol. 12, No. 2, p.p.87-91. www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ch)
In "Coping with Chronic fatigue Syndrome" Dr Friedberg suggests the use of hypnotherapy in relation to a number of symptoms such as low self esteem, stress, anxiety and loss of self confidence. He recognises that treatment is largely in the realms of traditional medical care but advises that hypnosis and meditation can be a welcome addition to the welfare of any individual with ME.
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