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Saturday 27 November 2021
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About our service - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

The CFS/ME Service supports people who have a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). You might also have had your difficulties labelled as Fibromyalgia, or Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome.


What is CFS?

The cause of the condition is as yet unknown. What we do know is that it is a condition consisting of various signs and symptoms, the main one being persistent and excessive tiredness or fatigue made worse by activity, and not alleviated by rest.


Other symptoms may include:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sore throats
  • Tender lymph glands
  • Headaches
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Memory & concentration problems
  • Dizziness & poor balance
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Fatigue that feels very different from ordinary tiredness
  • More sensitive to light, sound and smells


What keeps CFS going?

An individual’s CFS symptoms are likely to be exacerbated by unhelpful patterns of ‘boom-bust’ activity or by high levels of stress or emotional distress. 


We know that physical, psychological, social and emotional factors can all be associated with CFS and can interact in a complex way which serves to maintain your symptoms. Exploring these factors with a therapist can be helpful for recovery.


Who is the CFS team?

There is a multidisciplinary team based here at Salford Royal that includes:

  • Counselling Psychologist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Assistant Psychologist
  • Specialist Medical Consultants
  • Physiotherapists


Once you have been referred to the CFS Clinical Health Service we will invite you to attend for a comprehensive assessment looking at all biological, psychological and social aspects.  This will usually be over two 45 minute sessions, normally one session with a psychologist and one session with an assistant psychologist. After the assessment we will discuss further treatment options with you.



The team offers an outpatient service Monday to Friday, and you will typically be offered (as a first step) a place on one of our group programmes which will take place here at Salford Royal. However, individual therapy can also be offered depending on an individual’s needs.  


  • Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy combined with Graded Exercise Therapy


These 6-week courses are designed to help people to understand the main strategies for managing the condition.  Each week a new topic is covered, including;

  • Pacing
  • The effects of stress
  • Sleep patterns
  • Goal setting
  • Managing your mood
  • Planning for setbacks  
  • Gentle stretching and movement
  • Relaxation/meditation practices are also part of the programme. 


The groups are interactive and allow members to meet other people with CFS/ME.  This can be a validating experience as people with CFS/ME can often report feeling isolated and misunderstood.

The course also requires you to complete supplementary ‘home practises’ between sessions, or doing gentle stretch and movement exercise. 

Although there is currently no cure for CFS/ME, there is evidence that self-management programmes informed by Gradual Exercise Therapy (GET) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) have been effective at helping people to better manage their symptoms and feel better physically and emotionally.


  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy [link to mindfulness group description]
  • Individual Therapy


Our team are experienced in delivering a wide range of therapeutic approaches. These include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)


These approaches look at relationships between our thoughts, behaviours and mood.  CFS/ME, like many other conditions, is commonly accompanied by low mood and/or stress, which can make the condition worse.  These approaches may help us adopt techniques to manage these symptoms as well as adopting helpful behavioural changes, such as pacing.


Helpful resources

There are lots of different resources that can be helpful in supporting you to make changes with regards to CFS. Here are a few of those that you might find useful. You can also find some resources that can be helpful for aspects of mental health and wellbeing such as mood, anxiety and sleep, on our Useful Resources page.

Useful apps

 This app was designed to help people with CFS/ME track and monitor their daily activity levels. Activity patterns can be reviewed, and standards set. Allows the user to develop a daily baseline of energy levels, suitable for increasing in regular steps. Weekly charts can be emailed in PDF (perhaps to a doctor, or to a carer).
Remember the Milk
 make lists, set reminders, break things down into steps. Can include priority, due date, repeats etc.

Useful books

Coping Better With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for CFS/ME (2009)
Authors: Bruce Fernie and Gabrielle Murphy
Publisher: Karnac Books
ISBN: 9781855755376
This book is written to help patients to develop and apply new insights into overcoming some of their specific symptoms as well as coping with CFS/ME, both during the course of their therapy and afterwards.


Fighting Fatigue: Managing the Symptoms of CFS/ME (2009)
Authors: Sue Pemberton and Catherine Berry
Publisher: Hammersmith Press Limited
ISBN: 9781905140282
This book offers straightforward and specific expert advice, accompanied by real life stories, on managing different aspects of everyday life that can affect CFS/ME.


Living with Fibromyalgia (2010) 
Author: Christine Craggs-Hinton
ISBN: 1847090621
An easy read with practical tips and written in a caring way.  Provides sensitive tips on how to cope physically, mentally and emotionally with Fibromyalgia.


Overcoming Chronic Fatigue (2005)
Publisher: Robinson
Authors: Mary Burgess and Trudie Chalder
ISBN: 9781849011327
This is a self-help guide that can help you to manage your fatigue and overcome the restrictions upon your life that result from it.


Overcoming chronic pain: A self help guide to using cognitive behavioural techniques (2005) 
Authors: Frances Cole, Helen Macdonald, Catherine Carus, Hazel Howden-Leach.
ISBN: 9781841199702
Practical ways to improve sleep, relaxation, relationships, fitness and pacing of activities.

Useful websites

Action for ME
 Action for ME’s website provides lots of information about CFS/ME including advice about benefits, welfare and employment rights, local resources, and information booklets you can download.
Association of Young People with ME (AYME)
 The Association of Young People with ME (AYME) is a UK charity that provides support for children and young people aged up to 26 who have CFS/ME. AYME offers help and support parents, carers and professionals in health, education and social care. This site shares some of the wide range of information and experience AYME have available, including features on health, education and real life accounts from young people with CFS/ME. AYME run a members-only message board, where members can talk to each other online. If you are a young person in the UK who has ME/CFS, joining AYME is free.
British Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME (BACME)
 BACME is a multidisciplinary organisation which promotes and support the delivery of evidenced based treatment for children, young people and adults with CFS/ME throughout the UK. BACME have written a Therapy and Symptom Management Guide, based on clinician expertise, patient experience and the best available evidence, and is free to download from their website.
Fibromyalgia Association UK
 Fibromyalgia Association UK is a registered charity administered by unpaid volunteers. FMA UK was established in order to provide information and support to sufferers and their families. In addition, the Association provides medical information for professionals and operates a national helpline.
My Pain Management
 My Pain Management is for people who are experiencing chronic pain. It includes several interesting modules to help you gain the best from self-managing you own condition. For instance, in ‘Planning for Change’ you will read about How We Change, The Process of Change, Changing Your Response to Chronic Pain, and Taking Action.
Pain Science
 A good explanation of pain; what it is, how people experience it, different impacts and treatment options as well as multiple self-help guides.
Salford Fibromyalgia Support Group
 A local support group which meets in Eccles on a monthly basis.