Self-Help Program for Recovery from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
Knight, Director, The Art of Health and Science of Wellbeing
Introduction: In 2015 it
was decided to develop an online self-help program to teach patients with
chronic fatigue, M.E., PVFS and fibromyalgia how to reduce and clear symptoms
through clearing the stress, lifestyle, behavioural and emotional drivers which
build up to chronic pain and fatigue. The protocol had been used successfully
for nine years prior with consultations held in clinic or via the phone /
internet. The program was designed to be accessible online 24/7 anywhere in the
Aims and Methods: The
goal was to translate the protocol into an online self-help program.
Appropriate online delivery software was sourced, tried and tested. A secure
password-protected platform was chosen to deliver audio files, video files and
pdf documents. The therapy protocol was
‘translated’ into audio / video / handout formats to be used by the consumer.
Program creation took three months and was launched October 2015. Over three
months twenty people joined, some electing a ‘do-it-yourself’ option whilst
others enrolled with group support in an online forum. The program could be
completed in three months. In June 2016 an anonymous survey was sent out to
Results: The survey
showed symptoms for members as a whole reduced from a mean rating of 7-10/10 to
0-5/10. An 88 year old Australian woman with 55 years of debilitating symptoms
rated depression 9-10/10 and fatigue 8/10 before starting the program and six
months later rated depression 0/10 and fatigue 2/10. People who participated in
the online forum had faster results as a result of the support.
Conclusions: An online
self-help program format proved successful for achieving a reduction and
clearing of symptoms of chronic illness and this format can be expanded
exponentially at an affordable cost to customers.