Scepticism about the Lightning Process

Source: Action for ME newsroom

Two letters, one from Neil Stanghan from Bideford and the other from Karen Rippon from Ceredigion, voicing their scepticism and concerns about the Lightning Process. Both have M.E. Neil is worried that this miracle cure entails spending a large amount of money and Karen has tried the Lightning Process and it did not work for her.

North Devon Journal, p 44,22/01/09]

Views on Lightning Process and ME sufferers

I WAS delighted to read in Dr Greensmith’sletter in the Journal (January 8 edition) that Judith Christie has had a positive response to the Lightning Process. I had seen Ms Christie several years ago now when she was really ill with ME, in her wheelchair, and felt for her and her situation though I didn’t know many details.

I too was struck down with ME two and a half years ago following a bout of shingles. I was on the mend from the shingles when one afternoon we went for a stroll on Instow beach. I got to the water’s edge and I said to my wife: ‘I don’t feel well, I need to go back to the car’.

When I got to the car I was totally exhausted – like tiredness I’d never experienced before. This exhaustion hasn’t left me since (I have had shingles subsequently on two more occasions, as ME attacks your immune system).

After numerous visits to the doctor and extensive blood tests and a full MRI scan I was diagnosed with post viral fatigue. After six months, when all other illnesses are discounted, then ME is diagnosed.

I share Dr Greensmith’s opinion about the Lightning Process. I am a qualified optician by profession and I suppose my scientific background makes me ask why and how all the time.

In the last two and a half years, when I could, I researched extensively about ME and cures and came across many supposed remedies with no evidential backup of success, only hearsay.

The Lightning Process was one I heard about on several occasions from different sources, and I too found it difficult to get the facts on the process so I could make an informed decision about whether £560 would be a good investment for me.

It seems to be a mixture of therapies from hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy, head and neck massage and life coaching.

My symptoms were very real – I was plagued with terrible headaches on any exertion, sleeping during the day, extensive pain around my body and arms and in my muscles. This list goes on and on. I could not see how helpful hypnosis could be, apart from dulling the sensations I was experiencing and developing positive attitude to the illness.

I went to see, over a period of eight months or so, a CBT therapist in Braunton – Avril Parker – and she helped me assess my life and thought processes to manage my symptoms. I was very sceptical if this could help me.

But this was really helpful, as you are trained to start to store energy – all be it in tiny amounts – until you get enough to walk to a post box, pick up rubbish in your garden etc. I was also trained to have something pleasurable to look forward to, however insignificant, and to congratulate yourself on achievement – however small. In my case it was photography.

I am now at the stage where on good days I can walk unaided and unsupervised and go out alone but I still have a walking stick just in case my balance goes shaky. For that I am most grateful. I am even considering starting work on a part-time limited capacity basis to see if I can take that. I still sleep sometimes in the afternoon and I find the key is pacing yourself and to stop what you are doing before the symptoms appear. This is very hard to get your head around but with practise it does help.

The research behind the Lightning Process seems to rotate around the cause of ME symptoms – excess adrenaline – and the Lightning head neck massage is supposed to (along with the other elements of the process) reduce this. It is widely thought ME can be brought on by stress, which it can, but also can be brought on by trauma, or virus in my case, or a lot of other causes. But there is no scientific proof this is the cause. It is only thought to be the cause. I can not get an answer to the question: "If you know what adrenalin is, and there is a test and a measure for it, why not prove scientifically this is a cause?"

I believe this is because they are unsure if it truly is and as the whole thing seems to be a money-making organisation, a lot of money and customers would undoubtedly be lost if it were found not to be the case. And this is  the rub. All these miracle cures seem to revolve around spending large amounts of money. Funny though there still is no proof in the 21st century that there is an actual cure.

As I say, I am delighted for Judith and her family and for that matter all who have had success on it, but I advise anyone who is intending to enrol on this process to think long and hard before committing yourself, as there are failures as well, and ask, is it really as good as the glossy brochure? After all, why is it so expensive? Get more patients on it and the price will fall. Funny how that hasn’t happened. Maybe the local Lightning Process organisers would like to air their views?


NEIL STANGHAN,

Bideford.

I FEEL I must write in support of one of your readers who had a similar experience of the ‘Lightning Process’ as myself (C Puddifoot’s letter, Journal January 15), despite it being undertaken in a different part of the country.

I too am not reluctant to come forward and say that this process does not work, even though the same 96% success rate was given when I went for it in 2006 in South Wales.

Indeed I was told that I would begin to feel better before I’d even done the course but did not; was left exhausted and in pain after only the first day; and will most definitely not believe that I am to blame for it not working.

This process is for psychological problems not a physical illness like ME. In addition, to claim it is a cure for cancer is, in my opinion, downright dangerous.


KAREN RIPPON,

Ceredigion.

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