The Bottom Line
I believe this book can give a lot of people hope. It details several different approaches that have lead, in at least one case, to a positive outcome. It may give you ideas or at least inspire you to keep trying. However, keep in mind that these are not scientific results, but merely people's impressions of what helped them.
Much of what's in this book, however, is highly controversial.
- Stories may be inspirational and give you hope.
- Stories may contain treatment ideas that you may want to explore.
- Most of the stories are short, so you can get through them even with brain fog.
- Many of the treatments are controversial and/or unproven scientifically.
- Many of the treatments are only available in certain regions.
- The quality of writing varies greatly.
- For a U.S. audience, some of the British terms and agencies may be unfamiliar and confusing.
- The cover features Anna Hemmings, a world-champion canoeist who came back from CFS to compete in her second Olympics.
- The book is available in trade-sized paperback.
- The recovery stories take up about 330 pages, followed by information about the contributors, a glossary and an index.
- The foreward was written by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic!
Guide Review - Recovery From CFS: 50 Personal Stories, Edited by Alexandra Barton
Recovery From CFS details the journeys of 50 different people who were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and later found their way back to health. In reading these 50 personal stories, I probably went through about 50 different emotions. Some of the stories inspired hope, some lead to skepticism, and others caused me some confusion.
This book aims to provide hope to people who are sick with this condition and who likely have been told there's no cure and no good treatment. In my opinion, it unintentionally highlights the wide variety of working definitions of CFS used in different countries or by different types of health-care providers, and also underscores the difficulties of diagnosis. More than once, I found myself wondering how many of these people may have had, for example, a primary thyroid condition or food intolerances and not CFS.
The stories were compiled by Alexandra Barton, whose recovery journey is also in the book. She lives in the U.K., and so do many of the people who provided stories. The U.K. approach is controversial in the American CFS community, which could make the book frustrating for some people. I think whether you'll like this book depends largely on your mindset: If you believe chronic fatigue syndrome can come from a multitude of different causes and you embrace alternative therapies, you'll probably find hope in these stories. If, however, you believe that it's primarily a viral or immune-based illness, very few of these stories will appeal to you.
Some of the treatments discussed include complete rest, pacing, dietary changes, graded exercise, supplements, antibiotic or antiviral treatments, yoga and meditation, Reverse Therapy, Lightning Process and Mickel Therapy. Some people credit their recovery to spiritual or emotional revelations as well.