The aim of this review is to explore modifiable environmental and physiological factors that may play a role in chronic fatigue and to discuss the current evidence for corresponding treatments from an integrative perspective. Unexplained chronic fatigue is a very common clinical complaint. In primary care settings, an estimated 24% of patients report fatigue as a significant problem, and population estimates for chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) range from 1.85% to 11.3%. Despite the high prevalence of CFS/ME and considerable research on the disease, the amount of time required to diagnose it remains long, and its prognosis continues to be poor, taking as long as 5 years.
Some researchers to suggest that looking for the cause of CFS/ME is a self-defeating exercise; they suggest that focusing on rehabilitation and improvement of functional status is more important. This notion leads to the possibility of creating an integrative management approach that is grounded in the hypothesis that CFS/ME is the manifestation of a complex state of physiological dysfunction unique to an individual.
Integrative medicine involves the application of a patient-centered, individualized approach to disease management that incorporates the best available treatment options, including conventional and evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. Click below for patient protocols for chronic fatigue.