Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Stress plays an important role in CFS. Stress affect CFS three different ways:
As pointed out in our discussion of stress
management, stress sets off physiological and chemical changes in your body that can have toxic effects and can disturb immunity. These changes are collectively called the stress response.
There are experimental evidence that invoking relaxation response can strengthen our immune system. In one study, forty-five geriatric residents were randomly assigned to one of three groups: relaxation training, social contact, and no intervention. Those in the first two groups were seen individually three times per week for a month. Blood samples were drawn before the program, immediately after the month, and a month later. Those who were trained in relaxation showed a significant improvement in NK cell activity (Responsible for immunity to fight viruses and external attacks), as well as lower antibody levels to a herpes simplex type one antigen. In addition, there were significant decreases in symptoms of emotional distress.
The finding about higher NK cell functioning is especially important for CFS in that depressed natural killer cell activity is one of the features of this syndrome.
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