Online Self-Help Program for Recovery from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Kim 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 world.

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 assess results.

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.