Complex chronic diseases require an increasing proportion of society's resources and represent a growing challenge. Valid biomedical models of etiology, pathogenesis, treatment and prognosis are inadequate for understanding these diseases. The article discusses current knowledge about the impact of stress on the immune-, hormonal - and central nervous systems, and integrates this knowledge with a phenomenological understanding of the body in an attempt to explain the complex chronic fatigue syndrome. The medical significance of the individual's biography is highlighted, and the inadequacy of statistically grounded biomedical research when aiming to understand complex disease is presented. By regarding human beings as persons who experience bodily and who both create and convey meaning, we claim to have transgressed the mind-body-dichotomy in complex disease development. The dichotomy converges in the living body.