“Thanks! I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I feel like I’ve got my life back!” Thomas, London.
“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!” Annabel, London.
“Thankyou for your kindness and thoughfulness. I now realise just how much you did for us; it was such peace of mind.” Mrs T, carer of mother with dementia, Holloway.
“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.” Nick, London.
“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!” Janet, London.
“When I first met 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 Jessica’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 through a detailed analysis of my activity, and together we planned levels of activity, rest, relaxation and exercise which allowed me to sleep more effectively, worry less and begin to do some of the things I enjoyed. By building on my exercise and activity at a pace which was 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 the February, by the following September I was able to do a 5k run, and in good time too! For me that was a major achievement as I’d never in my life been sporty. Achieving that gave me the self-belief that I could overcome any challenges, 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, make sure I 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 such invaluable approaches which have seen me through a healthy pregnancy 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 and how others could do the same. 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.” Daniella, London.
“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.” Philippa, Scotland.
“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 for ever. 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!” Robert, Sussex
“I was referred to 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. I was aware of the controversy around GET, but had confidence that if anyone could make it work, Jessica had the skills and knowledge.
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)
“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.” Anthony, Bournemouth.
Getting through Final Year… with PVFS
Final year was always going to be difficult and stressful, not to mention exhausting. When I was diagnosed with Post-viral fatigue in the November of my final year however, these difficulties took on a whole new form. Rather than cramming in writing history essays and French translations into the few spare hours I had between lectures, fitness classes and my 4 hockey sessions each week, I found myself too drained, exhausted and dizzy to even contemplate getting out of bed.
By second term, I was lucky to have been put in touch with Jessica. She helped me regain structure to my daily routine, and stopped me sleeping when it wasn’t night time so that I wouldn’t get stuck in the habit. It was difficult at first to ‘rest’ but not fall asleep when I was so desperately tired, even after the rare occurrence of a good night’s sleep. But I persevered, and soon found that I felt a little more human during the day, and able to do some work. I really noticed a difference when I stopped being stubborn and decided to follow her guidance rigorously, sticking to my morning and evening routines so that I wouldn’t burn out in the day and could get the best sleep possible at night.
Having reluctantly and eventually been forced by my body to reduce my hockey time from 10 hours a week to just 1, I felt I was losing myself to the fatigue. Jess helped me find myself. We worked together to find me a base of exercise I could do each day- on both good and bad days. This was difficult at first, keeping myself motivated to go to the gym for a few minutes each day even when all I felt like doing sometimes was napping. I persevered, my will to get better and back to hockey propelling me through, and with the structure Jess helped me add to my daily routine too, I was able to slightly increase the amount of exercise I was doing each day. 4 minutes seems a tiny increase, but to me it was monumental- I was well and truly on the road to recovery!
This gradual increase in exercise 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’d go to the gym, then get started on my revision. My days would be the same so I could monitor my progress and any changes in how I felt. My evening routine would be the same too- dinner, watch tv, shower, stretches, relaxing music, then (fingers crossed) I’d go to sleep and sleep well, ready for the next day. Keeping everything the same but gradually increasing my exercise when my body was ready, meant I could really feel myself getting better and decrease the likelihood of relapsing and doing too much. I’ve now worked myself up to being capable of doing a ‘normal’ amount in the gym. My body is able to cope better with setbacks and when I overdo it because it is fitter and stronger- much like how a ‘healthy’ fitter person would cope better with exercise than an unfit ‘healthy’ person . I’ve had one relapse in the last 6 months, but the structure and guidelines Jessica worked with me on have helped me see how and why that happened, and I’m now back on track and feeling 85% better- 90% on a good day!
Please note that some people have preferred that I not use their real names or locations, so to protect their confidentiality please note that some names and locations have been changed.