Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Perrin Technique Part 1

For those of you who aren't familiar with Raymond Perrins work, the following is a brief introduction to the techniques used.

Perrin is an Osteopath. He has recently been awarded a Doctorate from Salford University for his contribution to ME/CFS. About 17 years ago Dr Perrin treated an ME patient for back pain, who subsequently overcame his ME and claimed that Dr Perrin had cured him. This sparked an interest in Dr Perrin which led him to extensive research on the links between ME/CFS and lymphatic drainage. The lymph system drains toxins from the body and deposits them in the blood stream where they are removed by the organs of elimination. In ME sufferers Dr Perrin found that the lymph at some point has been flowing too fast, causing a congestion in the chest area - he discovered that the lymph vessels can actually varicose and eventually become blocked or dysfunctional. In addition, Dr Perrin has studied the work of earlier pioneers which indicates that cerebro-spinal fluid (the fluid found around the brain and in the spinal column) actually drains into the lymphatic system around the point of the midback. In CFS/ME patients it appears that there is little movement in the cerebro-spinal fluid which means that the toxins around the brain are not being moved away from the brain (a feasable explaination for brainfog). He found a number of common pointers in ME/CFS patients that he has developed as a diagnostic technique for the condition. These include a flattening of the spinal column in the thoracic area (between the shoulder blades); hard, painful lumps in the breast area, significantly one inch lateral from the left nipple (i.e. one inch to the left of the left nipple); pain on palpation of the area just below the rib cage; and a dulling of the cranial rhythm (detectable by cranio-sacral therapists).

As is a popular theory among many practitioners and some doctors who have been working with ME/CFS patients, Perrin believes that there is an overactive hypothalamus associated with the condition. The hypothalamus controls the output of a great number of hormones which circulate the body. It governs: the autonomic nervous system; appetite; thirst and water balance; body temperature; emotional reactions; sexual behaviour; and the biological clock, including sleeping and waking cycles. The trouble is that although the hypothalamus is a commander in chief governing all these systems single handedly, as far as Western medicine goes, NOTHING CONTROLS THE HYPOTHALAMUS.

Perrin's treatment involves deep lymphatic massage, particularly on the chest area, to encourage the flow of the congested lymph. It also involves back massage to encourage the flow of cerebro-spinal fluid, plus cranio-sacral work. As well as a weekly session with a qualified practitioner, a home technique is taught which you can practice on yourself or with help of a partner or family member. A series of extremely gentle exercises are taught in order to encourage the flow of the lymph, and hot/cold packs are used on the spinal area. As well as removing the congestion in the lymphatic system the treatment is devised to help calm the overactive hypothalamus.

Perrin does not offer a quick fix for the condition. However, he does offer hope for OVERCOMING the condition, rather than just managing it. He has devised a method where a grade can be given (1-10) on the severity of the condition and the anticipated time of complete recovery. He also has a DVD available which is very encouraging as it interviews many recovered patients. It is also very empowering to be given exercises and things to do that can help, rather than just sitting it out hoping for the best!

Details of Raymond Perrin's work can be found at:

The sight also contains a list of practitioners and details of the DVD.

In following posts I will outline my experiences with the treatment so far.

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