CFS/Neurasthenia in Taiwan (ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

While trying to find a CFS specialist in Taiwan I discovered that they actually refer to CFS here as 'Neurasthenia' in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) ( Trad Mandarin: 神經衰弱; pinyin: shénjīng shuāiruò) which is interesting and translates into 'Nervous Breakdown'.

In China and Taiwan, Traditional Chinese medicine describes Neurasthenia as a depletion of qi "vital energy" and reduction of functioning in the wuzang "five internal organs" (heart, liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys). Seeing as Traditional Chinese Medicine is everywhere around me and extremely common in Taiwan (practically on every other street corner) I might give it a go and report my findings to you all.

Did you know that ME/CFS or Neurasthenia in TCM is also known as the following:
  • Primary Neurasthenia,
  • Cardiac Neurosis,
  • Chronic Asthenia,
  • Da Costa’s Syndrome,
  • Effort Syndrome,
  • Functional Cardiovascular Disease,
  • Soldier’s Heart,
  • Subacute Asthenia.
Neurasthenia is a term that was first used at least as early as 1829. As a psycho-pathological term, neurasthenia was used by Beard in 1869 to denote a condition with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, headache, neuralgia and depressed mood.

Most of the world, including USA, UK, Canada have abandoned the term Neurasthenia as a medical diagnosis and has for the most part been replaced with ME/CFS. The ICD-10 system of the World Health Organization categorizes neurasthenia under "F48 - Other neurotic disorders"

Americans were said to be particularly prone to CFS (neurasthenia), which resulted in the nickname "Americanitis" (popularized by William James). Today, the condition is still commonly diagnosed in Asia.

Below are a couple of excerpts from articles I read today which seems to describe my situation exactly.

1. "Neurasthenia is still diagnosed in Oriental countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. But chronic fatigue syndrome CFS used to be termed ‘yuppie flu’ because it was first identified as a problem experienced by those who were striving to climb the ladder of success and it often occured after the person had a viral infection, such as flu. It was also known as ME, but chronic fatigue syndrome is now regarded as a better name on account of the symptoms."

2. "Typically, it was associated with upper class people and with professionals working in sedentary occupations (Sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity)."
Likes: Merry


Chinese medicine is also responsible for destroying many of the world's endangered speices, and largely, but not completely, full of crap! :/
But try what ever works for ya ;)

and like, ME is not psychological. It kills. Kind of hard for a psychological problem to cause DIRECT organic damage.
as opposed to indirect, such as say, addictions which usually start with psychological problem then after use of drug they become also physically addicted, or, death due to starvation etc from anorexia)

not getting at you, just Chinese "medicine"...lot to learn from ancient healing arts, lot of it also is craaaaaaaaaaaaap! :p
I was actually in Taiwan for about 6 months seeing various doctors for CFS. Unfortunately, I don't believe there are any experts there. Conventional medicine in Taiwan is good, but in terms of CFS knowledge, they are behind the United States and Europe I would say. I saw various MDs who said that everything was fine, and was very confused when I told them that I felt worse after physical exercise.

I saw Chinese medicine doctors, and they gave me herbal formulas for my symptoms. I found some of the medicine to be mildly helpful but nothing significant. I've been taking Chinese herbs for about 3 months now. IMO, I think Chinese medicine needs to improve before it can be taken seriously. A lot of their formulations and explanations are outdated and vague. I do think they can be helpful, but I'm not so sure about CFS. It is probably helpful for mild symptoms of fatigue.

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