Sunday Times, In Gear: Letter from Dr John Greensmith

Sunday Times: In Gear Letters section (in response to the “handy vibrating Massage Ball” article, Coping with ME, In Gear, 2 September 2007)

Well done, John!


Progress towards a cure for ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is being hampered and delayed because we are putting all our funding into trying to manage it (Coping with ME, In Gear, September 2) instead of trying to discover its physical cause and provide a definitive diagnostic test for disbelieving doctors.

This cart-before-the-horse approach has produced a multi-million-pound network of clinics offering two treatments, one of which, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) does no lasting good for people with ME, and the other, graded exercise treatment (GET), which does lasting, irreversible, harm for some ME sufferers.

Ignorance and desperation have also opened the door to a number of costly radical treatments that are unproven, rely on faith and only have the testimony of a biased sample of patients who claim success, many of whom go on to be therapists themselves in a money-making pyramid process.

Nothing will change for ME sufferers until the biomedical research is put first.

Dr John H Greensmith, Downend, Bristol


3 thoughts on “Sunday Times, In Gear: Letter from Dr John Greensmith

  1. Please could Dr Greensmith back up this statement with research evidence? I have successfully treated several patients with ME also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)using CBT techniques developed by experts in the field, most notably Professor Trudie Chalder at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, who has worked as a clinician and researcher in the area of CFS for 17 years. CBT for CFS has been evaluated in a number of clinical research trials with positive outcomes.

  2. Dr. Thrasher, you might do well to look at the following links and see that CBT and GET are not a successful treatment for ME. These are just a few of the many studies and reports from non-biased reserachers that show CBT does not return people with ME to good health. I would suggest that if you have had “success” (which you don’t qualify) with people supposedly suffering from ME then they either didn’t have true ME or were one of the lucky few (very few) who get better naturally. The “ME” patient example that you give on your site (promoting your money-making CBT centres) seemed to only have had a fatigue complaint for a short time. This is not the same as having true ME.

    [1] Rapport d’évaluation concernant les centres de référence pour le syndrome de fatigue chronique (SFC).

    [2] Evaluatierapport over de referentiecentra voor het Chronisch vermoeidheidssyndroom (CVS).

    [3] Whiting P, Bagnall A.-M., Sowden AJ, Cornell JE, Mulrow CD, Ramirez G (2001). Interventions for the Treatment and
    Management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Systematic Review. JAMA 286: 1360-1368

    There is much more information supporting the fact that CBT and GET are not helpful and in many cases harmful to people with ME. Just look at AfME’s own patient survey! I urge you to do the research and then leave us all alone and concentrate your efforts on helping people who really CAN be helped with CBT, but that’s NOT people with true ME.

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