The PER is the flight or fight response ((Selye, H. (1936). A Syndrome produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents. Nature, 138(3479), 32–32. https://doi.org/10.1038/138032a0)) ((Parker, P. (2012). An Introduction to the Lightning Process®: The First Steps to Getting Well. Hay House.https://www.amazon.co.uk/Introduction-Lightning-Process-First-Getting/dp/178180057X)) – it’s our body’s natural reaction to any threat and provides amazing bursts of strength and speed, changing our body’s hormones and fuel usage and so on – and is ideal for escaping a tiger in the wild – this ability to manage our body’s system depending on what we need is called Allostasis ((Sterling, P., & Eyer, J. (1988). Allostasis: A new paradigm to explain arousal pathology. In S. Fisher & J. Reason (Eds.), Handbook of Life Stress, Cognition and Health (1 edition). Chichester ; New York: Wiley.https://www.academia.edu/21182641/Allostasis_a_new_paradigm_to_explain_arousal_pathology)) The PER is generally a good thing, but it’s really designed to be activated only for very short periods of time.
Unfortunately, the ‘threats’ ((Ursin, H., & Eriksen, H. R. (2004). The cognitive activation theory of stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 29(5), 567–592. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0306-4530(03)00091-X)) we find ourselves under, such as illness, chronic infections, pollution, relationships, jobs, exams or paying the mortgage, tend to last for longer periods of time. And research shows that long-term activation of these changes as a result of the PER is really bad for us – creating havoc with our sleep, healing and immune system, digestion, clear thinking and general mood – this is called Allostatic Load and has been shown to be linked to chronic illness, including heart disease, abdominal obesity, hypertension, diabetes, ((Mattei, J., Demissie, S., Falcon, L. ., Ordovas, J. ., & Tucker, K. (2010). Allostatic load is associated with chronic conditions in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study. Social Science & Medicine, 70(12), 1988–1996.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20381934)), migraines and pain ((Borsook D, Maleki N, Becerra L, & McEwen B. (2012). Understanding migraine through the lens of maladaptive stress responses: a model disease of allostatic load. Neuron, 73(2), 219–34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22284178)), asthma ((Bahreinian S, Ball GD, Vander Leek TK, Colman I, McNeil BJ, Becker AB, & Kozyrskyj AL. (2013). Allostatic load biomarkers and asthma in adolescents. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 187(2), 144–52. https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201201-0025OC)) and CFS ((Maloney EM, Boneva R, Nater UM, & Reeves WC. (2009). Chronic fatigue syndrome and high allostatic load: results from a population-based case-control study in Georgia. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71(5), 549–56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19414615)).
Reducing allostatic load is considered vital for improving chronic health conditions (Logan & Barksdale, 2008); the Lightning Process does this by teaching you how to spot when the PER is happening and how you can calm this response down, allowing your body to re-balance itself.