From walking to jogging…
I began working with Jaclyn about 14 months ago and the improvement I’ve made in that period, especially on the physical side, is significant. When I first started doing sessions I could only walk just over 5 minutes in a day before getting an increase in my symptoms. Now, through diligent support and expertise from Jaclyn (and a lot of determination and motivation along the way!) I’m now out walking 5-6 times a week, jogging once-twice a week, and I alternate between doing a few sessions of Yoga and Free-weights each week. I’m even back in paid work, doing something I enjoy and am very passionate about! We went at a pace that suited me, so that I never ended up pushing my body beyond its physical limits. I think the most important thing for me now is that I can physically do more, without the debilitating and demoralising after-effects of payback a few days later! My cognitive state has improved too, with brain fog and light sensitivity pretty much being a thing of the past now. There’s still a few steps to go before full recovery is achieved, but I now feel empowered enough to believe I am in control of this illness. The future is feeling exciting again, and the tools I’ve learnt through Vitality360 I’m finding not just useful in recovery, but in life in general too. A huge thank you to Jaclyn and the rest of the team at Vitality360, I’d recommend them to anyone experiencing a fatigue-related condition.
Adam Lomax, London
Getting through Final Year… with Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome
Final year was always going to be difficult, but when I was diagnosed with Post-Viral Fatigue, these difficulties took on a whole new form. Rather than studying in the few hours I had between lectures, fitness classes and hockey sessions, I found I had hit a brick wall and found myself too drained, exhausted and dizzy to contemplate getting out of bed.
By second term, I was lucky to have been put in touch with [a Vitality360 Physiotherapist] who helped me regain structure to my daily routine and sleep regime. Together we found a baseline of daily exercise I could do on both good and bad days, and I was able to gradually increase it. I soon found I felt more human during the day, and able to do some work. I stuck to my routines so that I wouldn’t burn out in the day and could get the best sleep possible at night. I was well and truly on the road to recovery!
I was so glad I had support through my final exams. A letter was written to my Uni explaining that PVFS comes under the ‘M.E’ umbrella, which my Uni of course recognised as a disability. This enabled me to take my exams in a separate room, to have rest breaks, and for my early morning exam to be moved later. My Uni was fantastic, and gave me all this as well as extra time.
Once this was agreed it was up to me to be strict with myself regarding studying, resting, exercising and sleeping. I kept the routine up rigorously, and found I was feeling progressively less dizzy, able to concentrate better and for longer, and could cope even if I didn’t sleep well. I continued my routines and my physiotherapy sessions, and managed my exams really well. I felt so healthy, not to mention relieved, by the time I finished my last exam that I skipped to the pub with my housemates for a well-deserved (small) congratulatory glass of wine.
This programme helped me regain my sanity, made me feel healthier, stronger and more like myself. It was what got me out of bed in the morning. I’ve now worked myself up to being capable of doing a ‘normal’ amount in the gym (45 minutes). I’m now back on track and feeling 85% better- 90% on a good day!
“I just wanted to thank you for all your knowledge, expertise, and encouragement over the last year, which has helped me transform my life as well as [my daughter’s] and [husband’s]. I know you say I am the one who has done it, but without you I could never have. Your help has been invaluable and indispensable, and I am really grateful. Our lives are so different – the world has opened up – and has changed in a way that [my husband] and I had stopped believing was possible. I can’t believe all of the things I have achieved with your help!”
“My quality of life has improved since starting this program. I now have structure to my day which has meant that I do not burn out too early. Incorporating exercise such as yoga has improved my mental state as well as my physical strength. I have found the 1:1 support to be invaluable. Working with [Vitality360] will improve your life! You will be supported on your journey!”
“When I first met [Vitality360 Physiotherapist] Jessica, I was off work with CFS and had been experiencing symptoms for over 6 months. I was spending much of my time indoors and felt physically and emotionally exhausted and defeated. Walking 5 minutes down the road would leave me out of breath and I was unable to read or even enjoy watching films as my concentration was so poor. Having seen several medical professionals over a period of months, I felt there was no further hope for my improvement in the foreseeable future. Thankfully, through complete good fortune, I was passed on [Vitality360’s] details. From the get go Jessica empowered me to not only guide my own recovery, but to put in place mechanisms that mean I don’t end up in the same situation again.
We started gently with a detailed analysis of my activity, and together planned levels of activity, rest, relaxation and exercise which allowed me to sleep more effectively, worry less and begin to do things I enjoyed. By building on my exercise and activity at a pace appropriate for me, I was soon able to work full time again. Not only that, but after having started my recovery programme with Jessica in February, by that September I was able to do a 5k run, and in good time too! That was a major achievement as I’d never been sporty. Achieving that gave me the self-belief that I could overcome any challenges or set-backs in my health or life stresses.
The skills Jessica has taught me have stayed with me day-to-day. I still do a full relaxation every day, exercise regularly, am aware of balancing activity and rest and overall I am more calm, confident and relaxed. I am proud of what Jessica has helped me to achieve, and have learned invaluable approaches which have seen me through a healthy pregnancy, something I never thought I would be able to experience.
But most of all I’m grateful, for having had the opportunity to work with Jessica, who has made me feel in control of my life, but has done so through her amazing expertise, experience and very understanding and gentle approach. I have gone from being a cynic about most therapies, to near proselytising to anyone who has a problem in their life about what I’ve learnt through my recovery programme. I felt the programme was tailored for my personal needs and abilities, was flexible and did not put undue pressure on me. Because of that I have been able to stick with it for over 18 months and feel like a different person now.”
“I just want to say a big thank you for all the support and help you have given me. I know I am better due to you and you will never know how grateful I am. I know you’ll tell me it was me who made it possible, but I know it was down to you! I’m going out after work (another first) and then going swimming – now I’ve got so many things to do!”
“I was referred to [Vitality360 Physiotherapist] Jessica by a private insurance company, and was unsure what to expect. As a fellow physiotherapist, I was impressed by her involvement in the clinical specialist team which developed the NICE clinical guidelines for CFS / ME, and in her research profile.
Although I approached the treatment with great anticipation, I was quite shocked when Jessica suggested that I could be walking for 30 minutes – a concept, so far from my expectation, that I was scared to believe it could be achievable. For two years I had only been able to walk slowly for short distances. Now after six months of rehabilitation, I am exercising daily for 30 minutes, and asking my friends if they could walk a little faster, so that I can get my heart rate up to my current training level! The ability to walk for 30 minutes has opened up all sorts of opportunities and has taken away the fear of going out. I am no longer unduly concerned about where I will park the car, or how far I might have to walk. I have now also started cycling, and am planning to rejoin my local gym in the near future. Every progression, no matter how small, has been celebrated by Jessica, and all my family and friends.
One of my other most significant problems associated with CFS was very disturbed, unrefreshing sleep. I followed all Jessica’s suggestions – some more unusual than others – and within a month I was sleeping much better. Getting a good nights sleep certainly contributed to my overall improvement.
As I live in Northern Ireland, I have had all my consultations using Skype, which has been very successful. It has made the relationship more personal than using the telephone alone.
I particularly like the very measured, objective approach of the programme, as I can easily monitor progress, even though it may be small. I like having a very specific treatment plan to follow, and love using a heart monitor to record and check my average heart rate, as I now increase the intensity of my exercise. Every stage of the programme has been tailored for my needs as an individual, and I have had control over every decision made. I was not always confident to make decisions for myself, and Jessica was always happy to guide me when I asked for her opinion.
My progress has not been without the occasional setback, but these were professionally managed, and in a short time I was moving positively forward again. This programme requires commitment and dedication from the client, and a willingness to take on board, and apply, all advice and recommendations.
I deem myself to be unbelievably fortunate to have been referred to Jessica, and will continue to work with her until I have gained the maximum benefit I can from the programme. She has given me real hope for a future I hadn’t dared to hope for, and I wait with anticipation to see what lies ahead.
I would highly recommend both Jessica and the Graded Exercise Therapy approach to anyone suffering from CFS.”
Pauline, Northern Ireland
“I’m sure you must have other patients, but somehow you make me feel like I’m special: you’re interested in me, and what’s important to me.”
“When I was diagnosed with CFS/ME (severe) I thought there was no hope. I was wrong. Jessica Bavinton re-seeded hope in me; it is possible, with the right approach and a lot of discipline and patience, to recover. Jessica provided the necessary long-term support, initially intensive one to ones at home and later arms length follow-ups. Her approach, which includes Graded Exercise Therapy and relaxation methods, got me walking again and back to a point where I have now rebuilt my life from a point of total collapse and devastation to a place of active fulfilment. I owe her immense gratitude! Her confidence, professionalism and flexibilty in responding to my needs – being there for me when I needed it – made all the difference to my recovery. I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone with this condition.”
“I had struggled with ME/CFS for over 7 years when I first met Jessica. Whilst I believed I had found some of the answers, I could not sustain my recovery and was at a low point. I wondered if I would be stuck with this illness and a limited life forever. Prior to my illness I had a very good job and was very active in sports and socially. When I started seeing Jessica I had stopped working, dared not even take a gentle walk for over 10 minutes, and seldom went out socially due to the potential after effects. At the time of writing I am looking at a range of back to work options, I am continuing to gradually increase my exercise (I am swimming or walking/running for half an hour every day. I believe I will be able to run for the full 30 minutes within 6 weeks). My energy has increased, my symptoms improved significantly and I am now going out socialising again. I feel like Jessica has helped me take back control of my life; I have exciting work and life plans. I plan to complete triathlons and climb mountains in the future to show what is possible! Watch this space.”
“Thanks! I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I feel like I’ve got my life back!”