What is The Perrin Technique?
The Perrin Technique is a form of treatment developed by the UK based osteopath, Dr Ray Perrin to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomitis also known as CFS / ME in 1989. It is based on the theory that certain stress factors such as physical, emotional, chemical or immunological cause too much strain on the sympathetic nervous system leading to CFS/ME. Examples of these stressors could be injury, psychological trauma, ingestion of toxic chemicals in the work place, allergies or infection. The sympathetic nervous system controls the drainage of the lymphatic system – an important network channel of small vessels around the body which carry a transparent fluid known at ‘lymph’. The lymph system is a waste disposal unit where toxic waste products of our cells and foreign bodies are dumped and flushed towards the liver where they are excreted. When people have CFS / ME research has shown that the drainage of the lymphatic system does not work properly, causing a buildup of toxins and congestion within the lymph system creating the symptoms we recognize as CFS/ME.
The treatment involves a hands-on massage of the soft head, neck, back and chest area aiming to manually push the congested toxins in the lymph system towards the liver where they are excreted. Manipulation of the spine is also offered to help with the drainage of these toxins. Over time as the load of toxicity is reduced, the burden of toxins affecting the sympathetic nervous system is less so is able to gradually regulate the lymphatic system flow better – as well as a form of detox, the treatment essentially teaches the sympathetic nervous system how to function correctly again so over time as toxicity and symptoms reduce, it can eventually work by itself again and there will no longer be a need for treatment. It’s important to know that The Perrin Technique may not work for everyone with CFS / ME, whilst a large proportion go on to see improvements in quality of life, some patients do become completely symptom free as health is restored.
Who can The Perrin Technique help?
As well as The Perrin Technique being an important form of treatment for those with CFS / ME, Dr Perrin can also provide a diagnosis of CFS / ME. In most cases, CFS / ME is diagnosed by exclusion by health practitioners around the world after multiple exclusive tests and if the symptoms do not improve or disappear after many months. Dr Perrin conducts a thorough consultation, going through your history, symptoms, and includes a physical examination to determine a CFS / ME diagnosis. A research study published by The British Medical Journal in 2017 has shown that 86% of patients with CFS / ME were diagnosed with The Perrin Technique evaluation compared to 44% in standard examinations, you can read more about the study here. With this illness, the sooner you get a diagnosis the better so you can put into place the necessary lifestyle changes and treatment to help with your recovery. Dr Perrin says that a CFS/ME diagnosis should always be considered if a patient’s symptoms are aggravated after exertion. Dr Perrin can also provide letters with evidence to support benefit claims and provide information to schools and places of work if people are unable to attend or are having difficulties with the need of some medical explanation.
The Perrin Technique is well known within the CFS/ ME community however It is not just those with CFS / ME that The Perrin technique can help; it can also help other conditions such as Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome). These conditions are known as co-morbidities of CFS / ME meaning they are often present alongside CFS / ME. It’s important for people to be aware that there is treatment out there that can potentially help these conditions and is something trained Perrin Practitioners encourage people to try. A study was conducted investigating whether there are abnormal MRI results in people with CFS / ME – the study showed that ‘longitudinal MRI shows no cereal abnormality in chronic fatigue syndrome‘. The study found that even though patients with CFS / ME were helped in the study by The Perrin Technique, there were no abnormalities found in the brain using standard MRI which doesn’t show the lymphatic system. This means that even though patients are having brain scans around the world that show nothing wrong, they do still have ME and abnormalities of the lymphatic system because they showed improvements with the treatment. These findings emphasise the need for doctors to not reply to heavily on scan results and ‘no abnormality detected’, which sometimes they go onto suggest it must be ‘all in the mind’ because of lack of abnormalities on standard tests. In conclusion, it shows that patients can still have CFS / ME and it’s only more specialised scans which aren’t available yet for the public which will show abnormalities. Dr Perrin will be publishing a second book this year where he talks more about these various co-morbidities of CFS / ME and expands further on his research studies, however if you are interested in learning more about this treatment approach then you can buy his original book off Amazon, here, The Perrin Technique.
We have spoken to Dr Perrin himself, to ask him some of your questions you gave us over on our Instagram page – @hellohealing
Q – Why do you think this treatment is so beneficial for people with CFS / ME?
A – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME I discovered 30 years ago is due to a buildup of toxins in the central nervous system which is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. These toxins are usually inflammatory and are often cytokines which are protein molecules that are pro-inflammatory and stuck in the central nervous system. This has been proven by Standford University and other researchers (include link to study here) that there are these inflammatory toxins in the brain and the spinal cord. My treatment The Perrin Technique drains these toxins away, it’s designed to drain the neuro-lymphatic system.
Q – If people have already bought the original Perrin Technique book why should they buy the new book as well?
A – The new book isn’t out yet but it will be out later this year. The new book has all the science backing up everything I said in the first book so it’s very good evidence for patients, for doctors and medical and scientific bodies to understand the rationale behind The Perrin Technique and to know that it’s all evidence based. Secondly, we deal with Fibromyalgia more in this book and we deal with other co-infections and co-morbidities such as Lyme Disease and POTS and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome with the names of the names of the patients and where they come from to show that they are real testimonials and patients talking about their experience over the year. There were also be a lot more advice about lifestyle, nutrition and self-help things you can do at home and also guides on supplementation so it will be much more comprehensive.
Q – Do you have any work trips up and what are they for?
A – My next trip is to Geneva in Switzerland to train up practitioners which will be coming up very shortly. In September I’ll be training up an osteopathic clinic there because I was approached by a patient with CFS / ME who lives there who is suffering quite badly. We have no practitioners in Switzerland yet but now we will have a whole group of osteopaths trained up in Geneva. I also have quite a few trips planned abroad for conferences and lectures in Poland, Germany and Israel.
The following are links of some of Dr Perrin’s research which can be found in peer reviewed papers:
Lymphatic Drainage of the Neuraxis in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Hypothetical Model for the Cranial Rhythmic Impulse in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (2007).
Muscle fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and its response to a manual therapeutic approach: A pilot study in the British Osteopathic Journal (2010).
How to book an appointment for The Perrin Technique?
The Perrin Technique website has a map of all the current licensed Perrin practitioners, who offer The Perrin Technique treatment, you can view the map here… We spoke to The Perrin Clinic who said the website is currently being redesigned with an up to date version of the map and there may be some Perrin practitioners who are not on the map so it is best to call The Perrin Clinic in Manchester to see if there is anyone near you, more information is available on their website. If you want to see Dr Perrin himself then you can see him at his clinic in Manchester or in Bushey in Hertfordshire. Practitioners are usually qualified as osteopaths, physiotherapists or chiropractors who have then gone on to train with Dr Perrin in The Perrin Technique.
What to expect from your first appointment?
Firstly, you will fill out a comprehensive questionnaire detailing your medical history. The Perrin practitioner will then explain the Perrin treatment and the reasons behind the technique and go through your medical history and symptoms in detail, they will also answer any questions you might have. This will be followed by an examination of your spine, abdomen, head and lymphatic system (mainly the upper body and breast tissues) with your consent. If the appointment is with Dr Perrin, a diagnosis can be made and the patient will also be given a score of 10/10 with 10 being perfectly healthy. Other practitioners will give a score in the initial consultation but they will not be able to give a formal diagnosis like Dr Perrin can.
Here is some more information about The Perrin Technique where Dr Perrin is interviewed by The Energy Blueprint, a platform designed to inform and share scientific evidence-based strategies to improve your health, and increase your vitality and energy.
Below is an article by The ME Association about a woman who battled with CFS / ME for nearly 20 years before discovering The Perrin Technique. She goes into detail about what her life was like before discovering the treatment and how The Perrin Technique turned her life around.
I would definitely say that the Perrin Technique was one of the big things which helped my recovery, I saw a wonderful practitioner in Westhoughton for nearly 5 years. When I first began it in 2008, my mum had to drive me in the car with my eyes closed because I was so light sensitive, she could just manage to get me into some clothes to make the trip from my bed and I would go in a wheelchair but now I am living a normal life (with lots of other interventions along the way). It’s always so reflective to look back on those days. My Perrin practitioner had also suffered with CFS/Lyme and so she was a great motivation for me to recover. Lots of clients now do the Perrin technique with great success. I hope that this blog post helps bring an understanding to The Perrin Technique and an awareness that there is treatment out there for people with CFS / ME and co-morbidities such as Fibromyalgia, POTS, EDS and Lyme Disease. This treatment is different from any other approach and there is a chance that if someone hasn’t tried it with the above conditions then it may help as you won’t know you need lymphatic drainage until you have an assessment and try a treatment. It might work but it might not however, I feel that it’s worth giving it a go! Don’t forgot to follow on Instagram and Facebook @hellohealing, I would love to know your thoughts and if you have any questions then get in touch!