As with many conditions that
have no clear cause and no effective medical treatment, there are many
treatments outside of conventional medicine that some people recommend for
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). None have been shown
to be effective.
But there are safe nontraditional
therapies—acupuncture, yoga, or massage therapy, for example—that can relieve
pain and stress, ease muscle tension, help you feel better and healthier, and
improve your outlook and quality of life.
It is possible that the main title of the report Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
There are many unproven treatments for CFS. Some of the more popular ones include:
Large doses of vitamins or minerals. But taking too much of certain vitamins and minerals can
actually be harmful.
Diets that eliminate certain foods or
ingredients (such as yeast, sugar, or food additives) that some people believe
immune system. Because the exact role of the immune
system in CFS isn't well understood, there is no scientific basis for these
remedies. But if certain foods seem to make your symptoms worse, there is
no harm in avoiding them as long as you are eating a balanced diet.
None of these complementary
therapies have been proven effective in treating CFS, but some people have
reported feeling better after using them. If you have CFS and are thinking
about trying a complementary therapy, get the facts before you begin. Consider
these questions with your doctor:
Is it safe? Do not use
treatments that could harm you, such as unusual diets or excessive vitamin or
mineral supplements. (A daily multiple vitamin is okay. Try to avoid taking
more than 100% of the
recommended daily allowance for any vitamin or mineral
unless your doctor prescribes it.)
Is the product manufactured reliably? Vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal
products are not subject to the same regulations as medicines. Ingredients may
vary from one maker to another. Read the labels carefully and choose well-known
brands you trust.
Does it work? It may be
hard to tell whether a treatment is working. Keep in mind that when you get
better after treatment, the treatment may not be the reason for your
improvement. Symptoms of CFS often improve on their own, or the treatment may
be causing a
placebo effect, which makes you feel
How much does it cost? An expensive
treatment that may or may not help you may not be worth the high cost. Beware
of products or treatment providers who require a large financial investment up
front or a series of costly treatments.
Will it improve my general health? Even if complementary therapies are not
effective in treating CFS, some of them are safe and healthy habits that may
improve your general well-being and may be worth trying.
Avoid products that claim to have a "secret" ingredient or that claim
to cure CFS. Currently, there is no cure for CFS. Any benefit reported as a
result of using a product is most likely due to improved symptom management,
chance, or, possibly, the illness running its course.