Using neuroscience to rebuild health

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Research on Lightning Process for those with Chronic Pain

‘Evaluation of a treatment strategy’

Researchers evaluated the effects of the LP on chronic pain, studying 12 adolescents in Norway whose lives had been strongly affected by chronic headaches.

The researchers evaluating this pilot study reported that on follow up after twelve months:

  • 9 out of 12 reported that they had significant pain reduction. This trend was evident already after three months.
  • The majority had improved quality of life. They were more active, more able to spend time with friends and attended significantly more at school.
  • Before the course three reported that they ‘always / almost always’ were in school. At follow-up after one year, the situation changed, when 8 out  of 12 ‘always / almost always’ were in school.

and concludes:

A structured cooperation between doctor and LP instructor has contributed to significant pain reduction and improvement in the quality of life for nine of the twelve youngsters in the project. The remaining three participants had not noticed any effect, either positive or negative.

Full paper can be found here


Harvard University and King’s College, London

‘Experiences of young people who have undergone the Lightning Process to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: A Qualitative Study’

An independent study, published in 2012, found that of the 9 participants with CFS/ME “7 were satisfied and were much improved”. Click here for more information on the study.  Or to read Phil Parker’s summary of the full article and response here.


NHS and LP 

The Lightning Process has been working with the University of Bristol and the NHS on a feasibility study; full information can be found here.  Two papers have been published and you can find a link to them both here:
1. The feasibility and acceptability of conducting a trial of specialist medical care and the Lightning Process in children with chronic fatigue syndrome: feasibility randomized controlled trial (SMILE study)
2. Comparing specialist medical care with specialist medical care plus the Lightning Process® for chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (SMILE Trial)


Outcome Measures Study

We are pleased to report on the results from the preliminary data collected in a study looking at outcome measures from 205 clients who attended a Lightning Process seminar. The study, which has been done using the RAND SF-36, is a pilot study that was designed to provide some preliminary outcome measures which can be used to add weight to future grant and funding applications for larger-scale Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT).  The indications are that the LP is making a significant positive impact, resulting in increased health status at 6 weeks, persisting at 3 months, and demonstrating improvements in all areas that were covered by the RAND SF36 questionnaire.

outcome measure lightning process
Find the Outcomes Measures report here.


Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC, now part of MS-UK) and LP Research

Interim report on a research project with the MSRC and LP.

Abstract: This Proof of Concept (POC) study was designed to consider the validity of the Lightning Process as an approach to provide benefit, or not, to those with MS. … The interim data shows that the LP provided benefit to all participants and there have been no incidents of negative effects.  The data suggests that it would be worth pursuing a full Randomised Controlled Trial

“The Proof of Concept study, although being in a small number of subjects, has produced some encouraging and worthwhile results over the 12 month period following participation in the Lightning Process.  They indicate that the Lightning Process provides measurable benefits to those with MS and suggests that further larger randomised studies would be beneficial to investigate the role the Lightning Process plays in the well-being and quality of life of MS patients.” MS-UK October 2014.

Click here for the MS Proof of Concept Study Report at 6 months.

Read New Pathways magazine mention – page 6


Research into drug and alcohol misuse issues underway

This research project, run in conjunction with the London Metropolitan University, is now in the final data collection and analysis phase; to find out more please visit the RCT research site.


Other Research Headlines 

ME Association’s survey: The statistics on the benefits of the Lightning Process.  Read the report here.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the Sussex & Kent ME/CFS Society survey CFS/ME ‘LP most helpful approach’.  See the report here.

81.3% of clients report improvement after the LP course.  Read the survey here.

Read the survey on clients with ME/CFS here.


Charitable Projects

The Kenyan Red Cross requests Lightning Process for its healthcare workers. June 2011 marked the start of a pilot project of Lightning Process (LP) seminars to help improve the quality of life of those working with or affected by HIV/AIDS. They were run with the cooperation of the Health Department of the Mombasa City Council. This has led to the exciting request from the Red Cross in Kenya for 300 of their workers to attend Lightning Process  training seminars to help them deal with the challenges of caring for those with HIV/AIDS (full report is available here Kenya Red Cross Project).


Supporting Research

Dr. Bruun Wyller, who is considered to be one of Norway’s leading experts on ME, has published some interesting articles which concur with the clinical findings of the Phil Parker Lightning Process, which you can find here (1) (2).  His most recent paper in conjunction with Hege R. Eriksen, Kirsti Malterud who are university researchers from Bergen, can be found here (3).

Dr. Bruun Wyller says: ‘Recent research on CFS pathophysiology has revealed alterations of cardiovascular regulation and thermoregulation, characterized by enhanced sympathetic nervous activity and increased secretion of epinephrine.  These findings indicate a state of permanent distress response – sustained arousal – in CFS patients.  Based upon our findings, we have formulated a theory of sustained arousal in CFS, which seems to correspond quite neatly to the theoretical considerations underlying the Lightning Process.’

Theoretical basis of the Lightning Process

For more information on the established scientific theories that underpin the Lightning Process, please click on the links below:

  • Neuroplasticity – the ability of the pathways of the brain to change and develop in response to learning and repetition. (4) (5)
  • The physiological effects of Adrenaline, Nor-Adrenaline & Cortisol in the “stress” response. (6) (7)
  • The interaction of the body and mind. (8) (9) (10)
  • The osteopathic theory of facilitation and the impact of changes in structure causing changes in function. (11) (12)


1.       Bruun Wyller, Vegard MD et al, “Abnormal Thermoregulatory Responses in Adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Relation to Clinical Symptoms”,Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics, Vol. 120 No.1, 2 July 2007

2.       Bruun Wyller, Vegard MD et al, Multiple Articles, Various dates

3.       Bruun Wyller, Vegard MD et al, “Can Sustained Arousal explain the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, Behavioral and Brain Functions, 23 February 2009

4.       “Definition of Neuroplasticity”, Medicinenet, 11 June 2004

5.       Wikipedia contributors, “Neuroplasticity”, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 May 2010

6.       Mayo clinic staff, “Stress: Win control over the stress in your life”, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 September 2008

7.       Wikipedia contributors, “Stress (biology)”, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 May 2010

8.       Lerner, Baron H. “Can stress cause disease? Revisiting the Tuberculosis research of Thomas Holmes, 1949-1961”, Annals of Internal Medicine, n.d.

9.      Davidson RJ, et al., “Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation.”, Psychosom Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;65(4):564-70.

10.   Hennenlotter, Andreas, et al. “The Link between Facial Feedback and Neural Activity within Central Circuitries of Emotion- New Insights from Botulinum Toxin- Induced Denervation of Frown Muscles”, Cerebral Cortex Journal, June 17 2008

11.   “Obituary: Irvin Korr Ph.D. (1909-2004)”, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, n.d.

12.   “Osteopathy”, Osteohome, n.d. 

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