Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Causes and Treatment
If we consider mainstream medical definitions of
chronic fatigue syndrome, we
can easily notice that the listed symptoms include heavy breathing and chest
pain. Among other possible symptoms are: muscle pain, shortness of breath, night
sweats, chronic headaches, muscle fatigue, cramps and spasms, cold hands and
feet, extreme fatigue and weakness. These are all classical symptoms and signs
of chronic hyperventilation, which causes low body-oxygen levels.
What causes chronic fatigue?
As we explained before, heavy breathing (or breathing more than the
medical norm) reduces body-oxygen content due to 3
1) since CFS (or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) patients are chest breathers,
chest breathing reduces oxygenation of the arterial blood due to
insufficient ventilation and oxygenation of the lower parts of the lungs
2) CO2 deficiency, due to breathing too much, causes constriction of
arteries and arterioles, reducing blood supply to tissues since CO2 is a
vasodilator (see links below).
3) Less oxygen is released by hemoglobin cells in tissues due to the
Bohr effect (caused by CO2 deficiency as
The link between chronic fatigue syndrome and ineffective breathing was
suggested by many doctors. Some of the quotes (Rosen et al, 1990; Paulley,
1990) are provided in references below. These doctors directly claim that
the label "chronic fatigue" means hyperventilation. Measured
end-tidal CO2 values are below the norm in CFS patients (Razumovsky et
al, 2003; Cook et al, 2006; Natelson et al, 2007) and end-tidal CO2 is even
less during acute episodes (Bogaerts et al, 2007).
Note. In some studies medical doctors suggested that low end-tidal
CO2, e.g., less than 30 mm Hg (!), is the criteria of hyperventilation (Naschitzet
al, 2006, Saisch et al, 1994). The typical border line is 35 mm Hg.
Furthermore, it is a known fact that hyperventilation or overbreathing can
be present, while having perfectly normal end-tidal CO2 parameters at rest
(e.g., due to predominantly chest breathing and/or ventilation/perfusion
mismatch) and that hyperventilation means to have abnormally high pulmonary
ventilation (or minute ventilation). Thus, hyperventilation is alveolar
(Are functioning alveoli ventilated in accordance
with metabolic needs and corresponding to the norm, which is 6 L/min for
minute ventilation at rest for a 70-kg man?). There are no any other types
Hyperventilation should cause symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
When muscle cells and other metabolically active tissues of the human
body do not get enough oxygen supply, more mitochondria switch from an aerobic
to an anaerobic energy-production mechanism. This causes elevated lactic acid
content in tissues and blood, together with the main symptoms of lactic
acid: weakness, fatigue, and pain in muscles and the chest (heart muscle
tissue also gets less oxygen and suffer from tissue hypoxia). Apart from
lowered oxygenation and blood supply to the brain, heavy breathing makes
nerve cells overexcited and irritable, causing headaches and anxiety
Chronic overbreathing creates cell hypoxia, elevated lactic acid,
constant production of free radicals in cells, free radicals damage,
possible inflammation in various areas of the body, leading to decreased vagal power (Sisto et al, 1995), blocked nose and chronic sinusitis,
digestive problems, face acne, liver inflammation (with abnormal liver test
results), and many other pathological effects. Inflammatory processes and
the mental state of chronic stress (fight-or-flight response) exhaust cortisol
reserves (cortisol is
a steroid hormone or glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal gland). This explains how
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and chronic insufficiency in cortisol
Particularly, for most patients, symptoms of chronic fatigue are worst
during early morning hours (Togo et al, 2008; Guilleminault et al, 2008).
Therefore, the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is
overbreathing or hyperventilation. There were many doctors who suggested
this link, but Dr. Buteyko and his medical colleagues went further, developing the medical program for natural
treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome using the Buteyko breathing method of
When the cause is removed (due to breathing normalization or breathing
retraining), all symptoms of fatigue, including chest pain, shortness of
breath, night sweats, muscle pain and fatigue, chronic headaches, and
weakness, naturally disappear.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and body-oxygen levels
The degree of chronic fatigue syndrome in an individual can be
found using a stress-free body-oxygen test,
which measures one's body oxygenation in seconds.
||Symptoms (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
||Extreme fatigue syndrome; severe chest tightness; night sweats;
severe dyspnea; severe muscle pain; severe chronic headaches
||Moderate fatigue; chest pain; weakness; mild chest pain;
shortness of breath; muscle pain
||Moderate level of energy; possible desire to slouch;
muscle pain; night sweats and headaches are very rare
|Over 40 s
||Craving and joy of physical exercise; the attention is focused
on the outer world instead of bodily pains and aches
As an additional
test, measure your heart rate since the pulse of chronic
fatigue disorder patients is above the norm. The normal pulse rate is about
60-70 beats per minute. Patients with a moderate degree of chronic fatigue
syndrome often have more than 80 beats per minute at rest, while sitting.
When the body oxygenation is below 10 s, the heart rate is often more than
90 beats per minute.
When a person suffers from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome with an insufficient
blood cortisol level, the
adrenal gland does not recover if his body-oxygen content is below 20 s.
Once a person has more than 20 s, any additional supplementation in cortisol
is not required. Note that some patients with chronic and extreme fatigue,
if they decide to improve their breathing, require cortisol supplementation
so that they can progress and get higher body oxygenation numbers.
Natural Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
All symptoms of
chronic fatigue syndromeincluding muscle pain,
breathlessness, night sweats, headaches, and weakness will disappear if one
normalizes his or her automatic or uncosncious breathing pattern.
Breathing retraining, so that one
breathe differently 24/7, requires lifestyle changes for better body
oxygenation and breathing exercises that can make breathing lighter and
slower. It is a serious project, which is explained in detail in the
Learn here Section. Note that many western MDs also
consider breathing retraining as the way to deal with the chronic fatigue
disorder (Nijs et al, 2007; Vasiliauskas et al, 2008).
Amazing medical references: 15 clinical studies claim that chronic fatigue means hyperventilation
There are 15 astonishing medical studies that link chronic fatigue with overbreathing. You can see references for these studies further down this page. However, I extracted abstracts and quotes from these great studies. You can read these extracts yourself. These amazing abstracts are provided right below here as your bonus content.
Rosen SD, King JC, Wilkinson JB, Nixon PG, Is chronic fatigue syndrome
synonymous with effort syndrome? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1990
Dec; 83(12): 761-764.
Paulley JW, Hyperventilation, Recent Progress in Medicine 1990 Sep;
Behav Res Ther. 2007 Nov; 45(11): p. 2679-2690. Epub 2007 Jul 20, Hyperventilation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: the role
of coping strategies, Bogaerts K, Hubin M, Van Diest I, De Peuter S, Van Houdenhove B, Van
Wambeke P, Crombez G, Van den Bergh O.
Medicina (Kaunas). 2008;44(12):911-21, [Impact of a long-term complex rehabilitation on chronic fatigue and
cardiorespiratory parameters in patients with chronic heart failure]
[Article in Lithuanian]
Hypocapnia or low end-tidal CO2 in chronic fatigue syndrome
Dyn Med. 2007 Jan 30; 6: p.2, Hypocapnia is a biological marker for orthostatic intolerance in some
patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, Natelson BH, Intriligator R, Cherniack NS, Chandler HK, Stewart JM.
Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Oct; 54(10): p. 3351-3362,
The influence of aerobic fitness and fibromyalgia on cardiorespiratory
and perceptual responses to exercise in patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome, Cook DB, Nagelkirk PR, Poluri A, Mores J, Natelson BH.
J Neuroimaging. 2003 Jan; 13(1): p. 57-67, Cerebral and systemic hemodynamics changes during upright tilt in chronic fatigue syndrome,
Razumovsky AY, DeBusk K, Calkins H, Snader S, Lucas KE, Vyas P, Hanley
DF, Rowe PC.
Am J Med Sci. 2006 Jun;331(6): p. 295-303, Patterns of hypocapnia on tilt in patients with fibromyalgia, chronic
fatigue syndrome, nonspecific dizziness, and neurally mediated syncope,
Naschitz JE, Mussafia-Priselac R, Kovalev Y, Zaigraykin N, Slobodin G,
Elias N, Rosner I.
J Psychosom Res. 1997 Oct;43(4):371-7, The chronic fatigue syndrome and hyperventilation, Bazelmans E, Bleijenberg G, Vercoulen JH, van der Meer JW, Folgering H.
Q J Med. 1994 Jan;87(1):63-7, Hyperventilation and chronic fatigue syndrome,
Saisch SG, Deale A, Gardner WN, Wessely S.
Psychosom Med. 1998 Jul-Aug; 60(4): p. 448-457,
Estranged bodies, simulated harmony, and misplaced cultures:
neurasthenia in contemporary Chinese society, Lee S.
Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(3):R56. Epub 2008 May 13,
Sleep structure and sleepiness in chronic fatigue syndrome with or
without coexisting fibromyalgia, Togo F, Natelson BH, Cherniack NS, FitzGibbons J, Garcon C, Rapoport DM.
Sleep Med. 2006 Sep;7(6):513-20. Epub 2006 Aug 24,
Chronic fatigue, unrefreshing sleep and nocturnal polysomnography,
Guilleminault C, Poyares D, Rosa A, Kirisoglu C, Almeida T, Lopes MC,
Physiother Theory Pract. 2008 Mar-Apr;24(2):83-94,
Breathing retraining in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a
Clin Auton Res. 1995 Jun; 5(3): p. 139-143, Vagal tone is reduced during paced breathing in patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome,
Sisto SA, Tapp W, Drastal S, Bergen M, DeMasi I, Cordero D, Natelson
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