Some CFS/ME Tips from Dr. Perrin

by Claire

A lovely friend of mine has just started seeing a Perrin Technique practitioner and kindly lent me his book to read over. I am enjoying it very much – Dr. Perrin is an osteopath and has grounded his theory of CFS/ME in his understanding of how the body and all its systems are interconnected with the central nervous system. A full book review is in the works, but in the meantime I’ve collated some of his common-sense tips for supporting recovery from CFS/ME.

Chapter Five briefly looks at current ways of treating CFS/ME. While only the Perrin Technique is a “lasting cure”, some of these treatments are helpful and some are not. Dr. Perrin gives his advice, do you agree with it? What have you tried?

  • diet in general – be sensible, eat well, drink water
  • elimination and avoidance diets – be sensible, try not to do this, always eat a little of foods you are intolerant to once every month or so (this will prevent the body from becoming super-sensitised to that food)
  • supplements – 500 mg of vit C and a complex B for immune system, intra-muscular injections of magnesium sulphate, increased salt intake, EPA (the essential fatty acid)
  • immunological therapies – unproven and expensive
  • graded activity – has a warning “if the graded activity is implemented too early in the patient’s period of recovery, the illness will be exacerbated
  • exercise – “too much physical activity can trigger a relapse in someone who is on the road to recovery” Dr Perrin suggests pacing – do half of what you feel capable of.
  • cognitive behaviour therapy – “may help the patient deal with secondary feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • antidepressants – low doses could assist with musculoskeletal pain and sleep disturbances
  • hypnosis – can assist with muscular pain
  • the Perrin Technique – a lasting cure

Throughout the book Dr Perrin has a number of extra tips that people with CFS/ME could do to support their health. Most of these are common-sense, but some should only be followed on the instructions of a qualified doctor.

  • Essential fatty acid deficiencies are common in CFS – make sure you take a combination of an omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and unprocessed and unrefined virgin evening primrose oil. **Don’t take DHA, it can lead to toxic build-ups.
  • Take antioxidants (vitamin C) to combat oxidative stress (free radicals).
  • Dr Perrin sets great store by pacing – doing half of what you feel capable of; “This prevents you from overstressing your sympathetic nervous system.” It is his golden rule that patients must keep to if they are going to recover. Pacing needs to be kept to until the patients are symptom free for over 6 months.
  • Rest is just as important: “CFS/ME is a profoundly debilitating disorder and requires as much rest as possible to reverse the process by minimising the amount of stress on the body… Reducing the demand on the sympathetic nervous system helps the patient on the road to a full recovery.”
  • Dorsal rotation exercises to improve and maintain the quality of movement of the dorsal spine. (explanation and pictures are in the book)
  • Cross crawl exercises stimulates both halves of the brain to work together in harmony with the whole body. (explanation and pictures are in the book)
  • Self-massage to assist with lymphatic drainage up to three times a day. (explanation and pictures are in the book)
  • Avoid stress.
  • Don’t be stationary for too long, take a short walk around the room.
  • Don’t slump in a couch.
  • Vary the diet as much as possible – it reduces strain on any region of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • No processed food or refined carbs (white flour and sugar).
  • No stimulants, including coffee.
  • Eat healthy, drink LOTS of water – 2 litres a day should be enough.
  • Keep smoking/drinking/meds to a minimum as they may strain the gut and therefore the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Take supplements: Vit C 1000mg three a week, B comlex once a day.