AHC Making Invisible Illnesses Visible

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Chronic Fatigue syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) are characterised by disabling physical and mental fatigue, sleep difficulties, headaches, sore throat, concentration and memory difficulties, and muscle and joint aches and pain. These symptoms aren't relieved by rest and are usually accompanied by many other debilitating symptoms.

Fatigue can be misunderstood

Fatigue is not something that can be seen, and it can often be misunderstood or dismissed by people not familiar with the condition. Due to the severity and long-term effects of fatigue, it can impact one's quality of life and cause problems in a person's ability to function. Fatigue can impact social life, relationships, attending work, university or school, caring for family, or participation in previously enjoyed activities, which can lead to worsening of the condition, isolation and a decline in mental health.

Program background

In 2001, Active Health Clinic founder Nathan Butler met paediatrician Dr Lionel Lubitz when working at the Austin Hospital. Dr Lubitz was working with a group of adolescents who were very unwell and not being taken seriously by the greater medical profession. They had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

Through the program they participated in at the hospital, these teenagers were able to return to school, socialise with friends and no longer be limited by their health. Seeing these changes inspired Nathan to continue to develop a program to manage complex fatigue, with cutting edge research and links with the world’s best practitioners in CFS/ME. This is the program we offer here, and since its inception in 2008, Active Health Clinic has grown in size, locations, understanding, research, tools and support and offers one of the best programs for CFS/ME nationally and internationally.

Our AHC Program

Our program consists of approximately 10-15 individual sessions over 6 -18 months. It is designed and focused on CFS/ME rehabilitation, and helps our clients make and maintain gains, through a holistic approach.

The sessions focus on:

  • CFS/ME neurophysiology
  • Activity stabilisation and pacing
  • Setting an appropriate and safe movement/exercise routine (if/when applicable)
  • Goal setting and forward planning daily activities
  • Sleep physiology and hygiene
  • Identifying triggers and developing a setback plan
  • Stress and anxiety management
  • Symptom mapping
  • Addressing nutritional needs (if applicable)
  • Understanding hormones and managing the cycle (if applicable)
  • OI & POTS management (if applicable)
  • Sensitisation and pain education (if applicable)
  • Mindfulness techniques and management (if applicable)
  • Strength training (if applicable)
  • Pilates (if applicable)
  • Yoga (if applicable)

Our program aims to help you establish a ‘normal day’ or return to work, uni or school, and day to day life. 

Through pacing and gradual return to activity, we are able to slowly and confidently build your capacity, without increasing your symptoms. We know this journey is a bit rocky so we give you the skills to deal with any future hurdles, through setback planning and providing you with a therapy manual you can turn to in times of need.

Dietetics in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

From deciding what to eat, to accessing, preparing, cooking and even eating food, fatigue can make something that is meant to enrich the body feeling very draining. 

Our dietitians pride themselves on their ability to meet you at your capacity, and help you implement a range of 'fatigue-friendly food strategies' in a realistic and sustainable way. 

Some topics that may be covered to support you and your body with fatigue include: 

  • Making food more accessible and more fatigue friendly
  • Strategies to reduce the impact of preparing and cooking meals
  • Improving and stabilising appetite by creating a sustainable and consistent eating routine
  • Guidance around eating a range of foods across the day that support sustainable energy levels
  • Eating patterns to improve your energy levels and support your overall well-being

Cost and questions

For program costs and rebates available, please call the clinic. 

Do I need a referral? What if I can't get to your clinic? 
A referral isn't always necessary however may impact on your ability to get a rebate - speak to our friendly reception staff and they can help you. Our clinics are located in Blackburn, Mornington, Bendigo & Essendon, Victoria, however, all services are offered via telehealth also. 

How can a movement plan help me without making me worse?
Exercise is a regularly debated topic among the ME/CFS population. Our program is tailored 1:1 care, designed for people of all health and fitness levels. Through really getting to know you in a thorough assessment, we identify your personal activity / movement / exercise baseline and develop a plan that is appropriate and safe for you. We do this in such a way that your body’s capacity and resilience will adapt and grow whilst not making you feel worse. One person's baseline could be simply sitting up on the edge of the bed or standing up beside the bed to increase heart rate and breathing, while another's may be 30 minutes of walking.
We know that often, people with a fatigue illness tend to do as much activity whilst they can when they feel good, to ‘get things done’ or ‘catch up’. Then on ‘bad days’ when they're not feeling well, they do very little. Our program will help you stabilise your daily activity, including your movement / exercise, so you can learn to avoid the 'boom and bust' cycle.

Our experience

Our team has been treating adults and adolescents with fatigue for the past 18 years, nationally and internationally, with over 60,000 hours of one-on-one experience. Find out more about our experience and our team on the 'About us' section of the website.

Unfortunately, there is currently no ‘quick fix’ for fatigue but we strongly believe, through research and our experience, that with our program you can reduce your physical and mental fatigue, improve your sleep and concentration, reduce your symptoms and most importantly, feel better and have more energy for a better quality of life.

Ready to book your first session or find out more?
Contact us
Active Health Clinic acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country  throughout Australia and recognizes their continuing connection
to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
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