The Perrin Technique for CFS/ME

I first heard of this technique about 2 or 3 years ago when it was offered as a course at the Northern Institute of Massage in Bury where I trained in Remedial Massage.

Raymond Perrin has conducted clinical trials and received an award for his work on CFS/ME patients, he also submitted a report on his findings for the Gibson Inquiry into CFS/ME. And please see Gibson Inquiry blog

It was in 1989 in completing an osteopathic procedure on a patient that he also relieved the CFS/ME symptoms. Please consult his website Raymond Perrin for more information.

This is the first time I have got extremely excited about a procedure that aims to ‘cure’ CFS/ME. This procedure makes such sense to me perhaps because of my own training in Remedial Massage and in Exercise, and because of my own CFS/ME symptoms and CFS/ME experiences. I feel it should be the first treatment for all CFS/ME patients to try before anything else.

I spoke to Shirley Kay an Osteopath, trained in the Perrin Technique who is also trained in Metabolic Typing – an individualised approach to nutrition.

She explained that Perrin had discovered with most if not all CFS/ME patients that the illness presented itself with certain physical signs including thoracic spinal problems, particularly in the upper back.

(I nearly gasped when she mentioned this because it was one symptom I had never associated with my symptoms of CFS/ME that almost drove me crazy with a nagging pain in the lower part of the upper back. I had always felt the dull pain was due to poor posture while working and a lack of stretching which I continually tried to remedy with self-massage and stretches which did help but tiredness, feeling ill halted my own procedures and I would slip back.)

Shirley also said that it is not unusual in CFS/ME to also experience pain in the neck and other parts of the spine. This I could relate to and did associate the neck and spine pain with CFS/ME symptoms.

Perrin feels that the sympathetic nerves of the spine have become disturbed and therefore cannot operate as efficiently. The knock on effect of this is inadequate drainage of the lymph along the spine and into the thoracic duct.

The tiny lymph capillaries flow in one direction and appear to get obstructed by a back-flow of lymph similar to the problems associated with varicose veins.

Perrin has developed a technique which aims to clear the lymph pathways and re-address mechanical problems with the spine. To locate an Osteopath trained in the Perrin Technique in your area please go to his website.

While Perrin feels he has discovered why CFS/ME develops the question: ‘Why?’ still begs to be asked. Why a pain/problem in the thoracic spine? Why irritated sympathetic nerves?

Being a Remedial Massage therapist and teacher of Exercise I wonder if the answer to that question is that we carry all our stress, woes, worries, emotions in the trapezius muscle.

One of the attachments for this large diamond shaped muscle is the thoracic spine. The muscle attaches at the occipital bones in the head to the shoulders and down the thoracic spine. The muscle naturally tenses when we experience a stress of any type. Not being an animal which constantly stretches out its muscles, this muscle in humans remains in its tight, tense position pulling on the areas at its attachment points and slowly over time and continued stress – misaligning joints. Eventually the systems of the body are unable to operate effectively due to blockages caused by tight muscles and the body unable to drain itself successfully so causing a toxic build-up. The immune system kicks in to help the toxicity and then over-works itself, a virus comes along and the weakened immune system cannot fight it and the body reverts to a state of permanent illness – CFS/ME. These are just my thoughts, click the link to Shirley’s website to learn more.

Shirley Kay has also found increased success with CFS/ME patients when combining the Perrin Technique with Metabolic Typing – an individualised approach to nutrition.

Shirley gave an example of one CFS/ME patient who had been a vegetarian and through a Metabolic Typing assessment discovered she was a protein type. Shirley suggested that she increase her protein intake and eat more nuts and pulses etc. The patient in her eagerness to become well began eating meat and made significant progress in her recovery of CFS/ME in a relatively short space of time.

This is not to suggest that a vegetarian diet is not helpful, it suggests that we are all of a type, either protein, carbohydrate or mixed.

I did ask Shirley if she would treat me while I was staying with a friend in the area. She suggested that it would not be a good idea on this occasion because I was traveling home that afternoon and the first and second sessions are fairly long about an hour and a half and can leave the patient feeling drained. The treatments after the first two are shorter – about half an hour. I felt that the cost for the treatments were reasonable working out to be about £70 each for the first two treatments and honing down to £40 for the half-hour treatments. Please consult Shirley for an exact cost. She does offer concessions.

Shirley Kay has a website and now operates from the Whirral, Cheshire area. Simply click on her name.

At last a treatment for CFS/ME that makes perfect sense to me. It says what it is, and what can be expected, it is down to earth and obvious. As the character Henry Higgins, played by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, said: ‘by jove I think she’s (they’ve) got it!’

One thought on “The Perrin Technique for CFS/ME

  1. Thanks for this Marianne. My friend who got well from ME by doing the Lightning Process was going weekly for Perrin technique osteopathy before she did the LP and said that she felt it was working, but more slowly and expensively than LP. I have felt better after chiropractry which I had specifically for ME as I felt my circulation, body warmth and relaxation were better – my nerves were freed up. But this didn’t stop me relapsing. The Perrin technique does sound good though.

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