Last week was Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) awareness week. This illness has been referred to as the forgotten plague. There are thousands of people who suffer from this debilitating condition and often when it gets so severe to the point of chronic or severe ME is when people are unable to carry out basic daily living skills such as; going to the toilet, washing, walking, talking and even swallowing food. Sensitivity to noise, light, touch, sound all becomes magnified and unbearable to tolerate.
This is in its extreme cases and its important to mention that not all diagnosis reach such debilitating conditions. Many of the physical symptoms included in this illness are; marked muscle fatigability, acute onset of Central Nervous System resulting in numbness, tingling, weakness, or an inability to move, as well as anxiety and rapid heart beat. Changes in mood, sleep disorders, irritability, and reactive depression can be experienced as well as urinary frequency, bowel changes, sweats, severe headaches, visual problems, weakness, cramps, and sensory changes, muscular and neck pain, acute fleeting spasmodic pain and tenderness.
The reason I know about this is because a family member has been suffering with this condition for many years. ME is difficult to diagnose and is very difficult to treat due to the complexity of the illness.
From my perspective as a Cranioscaral therapist working with someone who has CFS or ME is that it is vital to start exactly where that person is. For example the first few sessions may not result in physical contact. It is important to build up a safe space and a good working relational environment before any hands on work may be able to take place. Craniosacral therapy also works in the field (energy body), a persons system is able to receive without being touched. CST is a supportive, holistic and gentle healing modality making it safe for the individuals system to work at their own pace.