As ME is a collection of similarly presenting disorders, the most effective measures are those concentrating on 'metabolic rehabilitation', or treatments to help your body return to normal function. Researcher Doris Jones, in a 10-year follow-up survey of 174 ME patients, discovered that most of the 13 per cent who'd nearly or completely recovered used a combined approach, comprising some of the following (presentation at the Fatigue 2002 Conference, May, London, 2002):
* Get yourself tested for chemical poisoning or vaccination damage. The Autism Unit at Sunderland University (tel: 0191 515 2581) uses the IAG test (trans-indol-3-ylacroylglycine, a urinary metabolite of the essential amino-acid tryptophan). In nearly every patient with ME, high levels of IAG are found in the urine, indicating chemical poisoning. California toxicologist Mohammed Al-Bayati can also test for vaccine damage (www.toxi-health.com).
* Rid yourself of any chemical or medicinal poisons, such as fluoride, mercury and antibiotics like Septrin, which have all been linked to ME. Use chelation techniques if necessary.
* Undergo a good detox programme, including fasting, chelation if necessary and manual lymphatic drainage.
* Investigate thyroid supplementation. Even if you test normal for thyroid function, you may have a low thyroid at receptor level.
* Have your gut checked out. Many ME patients suffer from low stomach acid, leaky gut or parasites (tests are available at Biolab Medical Unit: 020 7636 5959).
* Consume an organic, wholegrain, unrefined diet. Cut out sugar and all refined carbohydrates and processed foods. In the large surveys, two-thirds of patients who made dietary changes found that it helped.
* Take supplements, such as a good multivitamin/mineral plus extra magnesium, zinc, calcium, selenium, fish oils, flaxseed, borage or evening primrose oils, iron, folic acid and B vitamins. Consider carnitine (1 g three times a day) and NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
* Adopt pacing activities alternating with rest. This will help preserve energy, allowing the body to recover naturally. In the surveys, 90 per cent were helped by this.
* Try taking 2.5 g/day of liquorice root as an initial herbal treatment for ME (but only over the short term with the guidance of a practitioner).
* See a specialist in metabolic rehabilitation: contact The Devonshire Hospital in London (tel: 020 7486 7131); Dr Andrew Wright in Bolton, Lancashire (tel: 01204 366 101); Dr Julian Kenyon, The Dove Clinic in Twyford, Hants (tel: 01962 718 000) or in London (tel: 020 7486 5588).