Learning to manage physical, mental and emotional activity and rest is referred to as pacing.
A form of pacing known as adaptive pacing therapy was one of four therapies – together with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy (GET) and standardised medical care - recently studied by the PACE trial.
While the trial found all four approaches to be moderately effective, it found this form of pacing to be less effective than CBT and GET.
This contradicts the findings of surveys by Action for M.E. and other M.E. charities, which have consistently shown that the majority of people with M.E. find that pacing helps them to manage their illness.
Our policy in promoting pacing
Our policy in promoting pacing is that:
- pacing has been consistently rated as helpful and safe by the thousands of people with M.E. who have participated in our surveys
- adaptive pacing as defined and applied in the PACE trial has now been proven to be safe for all and effective for at least one in three people
- pacing in one form or another remains one of the key approaches used by therapists in specialist NHS M.E./CFS clinics
- pacing is a valuable self-management technique that is free and accessible to all, including the considerable number of people who do not have access to a specialist NHS clinic.
How does it work?
Pacing organises your day into sustainable activity and regular rest, helping you to avoid setbacks. It gives stability and a sense of control, making things more predictable and enhancing confidence. It can improve your ability to cope with the illness and your chances of recovery.
The keys to pacing lie in understanding what is meant by available energy, types of activity, rest, finding a baseline, and planning and setting realistic goals. You may find it helpful to keep an activity, rest and sleep diary.
Our booklet on pacing is widely used by people with M.E. and healthcare professionals. Download it, buy it in our shop or get a printed copy free when you join as a member.
Read past articles about pacing in our InterAction archive.