Today´s post was inspired by a question from a young man who has been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for about 7 months. He has read my book several times and thinks the approach is just right for him. However, he seems to need some more reassurance that CFS is really brought about by emotional imbalances. His question was:

“Some people say they have mercury toxicity or even viral infections such as Epstein-Barr so their CFS has nothing to do with emotional issues. However, on the Mickel Therapy site they mention in the FAQs that those are only effect and not the direct cause. What do you think?”

And my reply to him:

Great question! I wish I had an answer to that. Anyway, I will try to give you a reply based on my experience and logic.

The cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a really messy topic. Some earlier studies found a link between Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), but later studies have refuted it.[1] Some people claim that removing mercury fillings has resulted in regaining their health, others report no change (some negative reports can be found here). I agree with one of the commentators who writes: “Even if amalgam fillings aren’t causing your CFS, it is wise to have them removed.” By the same token, it would be wise to try to treat Epstein-Barr virus (or its results) if a person has it. We should do everything and anything to eliminate all possible physical causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And if none of the treatments work (which is often the case), the cause must be something other than mercury poisoning, EBV or some other virus. I think that the point made on the Mickel Therapy website is true: „The infections are effects of an already dysfunctioning hypothalamus and not actually the cause.“ Most people have EBV, but it´s not a problem for the majority of people because there are no symptoms related to this.[2] Moreover, there is no evidence that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have more EBV activation than other people:

„…later studies found no evidence of unusual EBV reactivation in ME/ CFS. The inability of researchers to find EBV DNA in the throat washings of CFS patients – a common finding in immunosuppressed subjects – suggested ME/ CFS patients were not subject to high levels of EBV reactivation.“[3]

So, sadly it is still a question of belief. We do not have a definitive answer to the question  „What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?“ As far as science is concerned, all we have is speculation. My story is what science calls „anecdotal evidence,“ but there are many people who have recovered thanks to mind-body healing methods. The success rate of Reverse Therapy and Mickel Therapy is said to be around 80%, and there are reports from people who have recovered using EFT. The problem is that the mind-body approach has not been researched enough and the recovery stories will likely remain only anecdotes as long as there is no way to measure or diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the physical body. Science is always looking for proof (which is a commonsensical approach), but if it´s true that CFS is caused by emotional problems, it becomes difficult to prove with scientific methods. After all, the research will have to rely on people´s self-assessment, which is not very trustworthy and doesn´t qualify as hard evidence. So I guess the scientific community is wary of mind-body healing approaches because the proof will likely not be solid enough (it is my speculation). Also, who is going to fund the studies? It is not in the interest of any pharmaceutical companies to give research dollars to methods that use no drugs whatsoever. More public spending needs to be made to study the various mind-body approaches to treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But people need help now! If you are suffering from CFS, you would be insane to want to wait for another five years for a drug. You have to act now. So the best thing to do seems to try different methods and exclude as many possible causes as you can.

„Many medical observers have noted that CFS seems often to be “triggered” by some stressful event, but in all likelihood the condition was latent beforehand. Some people will appear to get CFS following a viral infection, or a head injury, or surgery, excessive use of antibiotics, or some other traumatic event. Yet it’s unlikely that these events on their own could be a primary cause.”[4]

While I agree that none of these things can be the primary cause, I am sure that CFS can be “triggered” by them. I, for example, had stressful events, viral infections, excessive use of antibiotics, and traumatic events. But these were not causes in and of themselves. The cause was my inability to cope with the results of stressful situations and traumatic events, and as these things piled up, the body could not take it anymore at one point. So I had to deal with the effects of these traumas and situations and learn to cope with stress and other emotional/physical/spiritual issues in order to recover from CFS. For me, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was a huge lesson in self-management, self-knowledge, bodymind communication, emotional honesty, integrity and spirituality. The bodymind is actually trying to make us enjoy our lives more and it wants us to be happy. Therefore, recovering from CFS can also mean letting go of “lower” emotions like fear, anger and sadness, and embracing more healthy emotions like love, peace and joy. Healing means raising one´s “vibration” to a higher frequency (replacing negative attitudes and emotions with positive ones). I am still learning those lessons as I am writing this. But my symptoms are gone and I feel better in many other ways as well.

My conclusion is therefore this: while we look for the scientifically proven cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we should not ignore the anecdotal evidence that is there. I have said it before and I´ll say it again: mind-body approach to healing CFS is the only one that absolutely makes sense to me. Many people have recovered thanks to Reverse Therapy, Mickel Therapy and energy healing methods like EFT and TAT. It would be reasonable to consider using these approaches and see what they can do for you. If you feel there might be some truth in what I say, please check out my book. I will be excited to hear from anyone who has found these methods helpful.