Defeating chronic fatigue thanks to guided self-help approach to exercise

According to a new study published in The Lancet, a self-help approach to exercise that is supervised remotely by a specialist physiotherapist may help people with chronic fatigue symptoms (CFS). The aim is to feel better and better manage their health condition.

The finding has been detected by analyzing a trial of 200 people with CFS who were assigned either guided graded exercise self-help (GES group) in addition to specialist medical care or specialist medical care alone (control group). The level of physical activity gradually incresed, while GES patients being offered information and advice by a physiotherapist over the phone or using Skype™.

The self-help approach eliminates the need of a physical attendance to specialistic clinic for patients. This can be costly and access to clinics offering the therapy is often limited.

Patients in the GES group were handed a booklet detailing a 6-step programme designed to help patients slowly and safely increase their physical activity levels over the course of 12 weeks. During the first 8 weeks, the GES participants also got the assistance of a physiotherapist to receive advice and to discuss their progresses with.

Patients were encouraged to choose an exercise (most chose walking) that they could engage in five days a week, in addition to their everyday daily activities. Gradually, the patients started to increase the amount of exercise they were getting by adding no more than 20% to the amount of time spent on the chosen physical activity every week.

No patients reported any adverse side effects as a result of GES and around one-fifth (18%) of GES participants reported feeling “much better” or “very much better” when rating their overall health, compared with only one in 20 (4%) of those in the control group.

Source: News Medical Life Science

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