Book Review: The Perrin Technique

by Claire


Dr Perrin is an osteopath who found that his work with CFS/ME patients was improving their condition. Osteopaths focus on how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve your health & well-being. The Perrin Technique explores the relationship between the mechanical strain on the thoracic spine and CFS/ME.

Chapter One takes you through a basic understanding of the central nervous system, and how a weakness in one part of this complex system can lead to an escalating and ongoing chronic illness:

  • The Central Nervous System has no lymphatic drainage system – if it is bombarded by toxins it has limited drainage options in the head and the spine to get rid of toxins.
  • In CFS it is the drainage pathways in the head and spine that are not working properly, leading to a build-up of toxins within the central nervous system.
  • The reasons for these blockages vary – physical trauma, hereditary, problem at birth, the spine being out of alignment.
  • A build-up of toxins can affect the hypothalamus which will affect the sympathetic nervous system, which will affect the ability of the body to process toxins, which is A VICIOUS CYCLE!

The theory is that people with CFS/ME have had stress of the sympathetic nervous system for years before it develops into CFS/ME, but once the lymphatic system is coaxed back online, the reason for the blockage is fixed, and the sympathetic nervous system is soothed, there can be a pathway back to health.


Dr. Perrin has developed a theoretical model of the stages of development of CFS/ME. It all starts with a predisposing history of sympathetic nervous system overload: physically (by doing too much or too little), chemically (through exposure to toxic chemicals), immunologically (through chronic infections or hypersensitivities to multiple allergens), and/or psychologically/emotionally (by family and or work related mental stress).

The following stages are a build up of toxic factors and restrictions on the detoxing mechanisms of the body such as the lymphatic drainage system and the hypothalamus.

It all cumulates in stage 8 where “the continuing irritation of the sympathetic nervous system results in further systemic disturbances, leading to a chronic adaptive state known as CFS/ME

We all have different levels of sensitivity to toxins. This is due to many factors such as previous exposure, genetics, health of the immune system, and age. The important thing is that if your detoxing drainage systems are functioning well, you will be able to tolerate the toxic onslaught.

The main thing to take away is that this is not a ‘detoxing’ regime that focuses on reducing the amount of toxins we are exposed to (although obviously it is wise to reduce your exposure to unnecessary toxins). Instead, the Perrin Technique ensures that our natural detoxing pathways and drainage systems are working well, which allows us to tolerate the toxic onslaught of everyday life.

The Perrin technique helps drain the toxins away from the central nervous system and incorporates manual techniques that stimulate the healthy flow of lymphatic and cerebrospinal fluid and improve spinal mechanics. This in turn reduces the strain on the sympathetic nervous system, which aids a return to good health.

So what does the Perrin technique actually entail?

Osteopaths aim to treat CFS/ME by reducing the irritation of the sympathetic nervous system in the patient, thus allowing a return to a healthy homeostatic state… The osteopath gently applies manual techniques of massage and manipulation to encourage movement of body fluids, eliminate dysfunction in the motion of the tissues, relax muscular tension and release compressed bones and joints.”

You can expect consultations weekly for 12 weeks, and then spaced out gradually as the symptoms improve. Extreme cases should expect to take 3 plus years to be cured. Dr. Perrin goes in to minute details of the massage and manipulation techniques used illustrated with pictures so you can know what to expect from a certified Perrin Technique practitioner. Often the symptoms will get worse initially as the toxins are purged from the lymphatic system. But “eventually, with no poisons affecting the central nervous system, the hypothalamus and the sympathetic nerves start to work better, gradually stimulating improved lymphatic drainage. Thus, the body starts to function correctly and, providing patients do not overstrain themselves as the nervous system is recovering, their symptoms should gradually improve.”

Looking beyond just a cure, the Perrin Technique could help with the identification and diagnosis of CFS/ME by testing for the following physical ‘flags’: a tender “Perrin’s point”, congested lymph vessels in the cervical region and breast tissue (which will feel ‘beady’ when palpated), tenderness at the solar plexus, a mechanical disorder of the thoracic spine, and changes to the cranio-sacral rhythm. This is a ground-breaking thought as currently CFS/ME can only be diagnosed through exclusion. To be able to diagnose CFS/ME based on physical, observable signs that can be tested for would be incredible and would positively impact so many lives. Furthermore, because “the physical signs are very real and usually are seen long before the symptoms begin” Dr Perrin is one of the few people who maintain that CFS/ME can be prevented.

He believes that “early rest, pacing at the outset, together with prompt treatment to restore a healthy lymphatic and nervous system, will one day make CFS/ME an illness of the past.”

Amen to that.


Also read Some CFS/ME Tips from Dr. Perrin