I developed the methods of researching and treating chronic fatigue in Adelaide, South Australia, between 1975 and 1983. See the timeframe of international research here
See my previous webpage about the chronic fatigue syndrome here
Nobody understood the problem of chronic fatigue properly for more than 100 years until I started studying it in 1975, and spent most of my time developing and evaluating 1000’s of ideas each year for seven years, until I clearly identified some crucial facts. I was then invited to scientifically study, confirm, and establish them between 1982 and 1983, which I did.
Anyone who suggests that they came up with virtually the same conclusions in the next decade, or since, is being offensively ridiculous, and anyone who believes them is showing their ignorance of scientific history and displaying their inability to comprehend how statistically unlikely that is. A sensible person would say it was impossible.
I know exactly what I discovered, and what was not known before, and can tell when someone writes about, or discusses my ideas while pretending them to be their own.
It is like looking at a few pieces in a massive jig saw puzzle, and knowing exactly where they belong, and why.
How I developed methods of treating chronic fatigue
I began studying my own health problems in 1975, where one of the main symptoms was chronic fatigue. Some time later, in 1976 I considered the possibility that I may be able to overcome that problem by gradually improving my fitness level, and managed to enrol in an exercise class at the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training.
However, I soon found that I would get adverse symptoms if I ran too fast in an attempt to keep up with the other participants, but rather than stop training, I kept attending classes, but did so by walking or jogging at a very slow rate, which meant that I was a long way behind the second last runner, and that all of them outlapped me before I finished the first round of the oval.
I established that I had a physical limitation, and that if I stayed at the lower levels I could continue training, so that is what I did, and if I occasionally ran too fast, and experienced the more severe symptoms I would either stop and rest a few moments, or a few minutes to catch my breath with one or two extra forced breaths, or perhaps on some occasions, stop training for a week, and begin again after i recovered.
As a result of continuing to train twice a week, and later 3, 4, or up to 7 times per week I did gain some useful improvement in my capacity.
Over the next few years I also experienced up to three months of continuous fatigue at a time, but when I studied that problem very closely I was able to identify that it was developing so gradually that I didn’t notice until the fatigue was severe.
I therefore made changes to my daily routine by reducing the number of activities that I participated in, and ensuring that I gained sufficient rest in between.
I also recalled that whenever I asked a doctor what was causing my chest pains (for example), they would say that it was not due to heart disease, but they didn’t tell me what the cause actually was. I then read an article which suggested that the ailment was caused by a fear of heart disease etc, and it occurred to me that the patients wouldn’t worry if they knew that the chest pain was due to inflammation between the ribs, and could be relieved by injecting a painkilling drug into the area, and that it had nothing to do with the heart.
About 7 years after I started I was introduced to Tony Sedgewick who was the head of the research institute, and when I explained what I had been doing he invited me to design and organise a project to help other patients and gain useful research data for the future. After the success of the first three month program, which confirmed everything that I said, a second was organised, and it reconfirmed the first, but when I was asked to continue and increase the study to 200 patients to influence world opinions, I was having too many problems with the amount of time involved so I left the project.
The guidelines which I wrote for the instructor who trained the volunteers is essentially the template for all successful projects since, and can be seen here.
Before and since
Up until I started the refusal to exercise by most patients was attributed to the fear of exercise, and the recurring periods of fatigue were called mental breakdowns, and the treatment was psychotherapy.
However, since I developed and wrote about my methods other people have copied or used my ideas but have reworded and given them labels, and some have claimed them to be their own.
The method of exercising within limits and gradually improving fitness levels is now called “Graded Exercise Therapy” (which specifies that the person should not exceed their limits).
The method of adjusting daily activity levels has been called “PACING“
The method of explaining the causes of the symptoms (instead of telling the patient what it is not), and the educational process of describing how to exercise, any how to adjust lifestyle has been called “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy“.
If you read any modern literature on the subject of chronic fatigue you will find that it is called “The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome“.
My descriptions, ideas, methods, essays, research, books, and website have changed the way people understand and treat the problem for the better, and are the subject of most discussions on the topic, but most people don’t know that I am the original author.