Research into the Lightning Process

There is a growing amount of published research on the Phil Parker Lightning Process® (LP) with 12 clinical studies by 2018.  Research is important for providing clarity about the effectiveness of interventions, but it often takes years from designing a study, to ethics aproval, funding, running a project, analysing the data and writing and publishing the results. And for many the results are often written in an academic language that is difficult to understand.

On this page we present the most important studies, with highlights from the papers for those who want the key facts and links to the papers for those who wish to read them in full.

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Randomised controlled trial: CFS/ME

‘Clinical and cost-effectiveness of the Lightning Process in addition to Specialist Medical care for pediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: randomized controlled trial.’

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Two papers had previously been published on this study 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)

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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)

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Review of the Lightning Process approach to CFS/ME in JEP

‘Understanding the Lightning Process Approach to CFS/ME; a Review of the Disease Process and the Approach.’

Conclusions: This paper resolves the identified gaps in the research and clarifies the hypotheses behind this approach, which has been identified by the evidence base as providing successful outcomes for some. It is hoped this clearer understanding of the approach will assist researchers, clinicians and those with this disabling disease to identify some additional options for potential recovery.

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 Qualitative study: CFS/ME

Experiences of young people who have undergone the Lightning Process to treat chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis – a qualitative study

Overview: An independent study, published in 2012, found that of the 9 participants with CFS/ME “7 were satisfied and were much improved.

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Evaluation of a treatment strategy: Chronic Pain

‘Evaluation of a treatment strategy’

Conclusion: 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.

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Multiple Scelerosis

Proof of concept study: MS

Proof of concept study: Multiple Sclerosis 

Abstract: 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.

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Drug and alcohol misuse issues

4 research projects on drug and alcohol misuse issues and the Lightning Process

This mixed methods research project evaluated The Rediscovery Process (a version of the LP for alcohol and substance misuse), consisting of a preliminary RCT, a qualitative study, an association study and a systematic review, run in conjunction with London Metropolitan University, has now been completed and published. to find out more please visit the RCT research site.

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Outcome Measures Study

Study reporting on outcome measures of those taking the Lightning Process for a range of issues

Overview: Outcome measures data was collected from 205 clients who attended a Lightning Process seminar, using the RAND SF-36 form.

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.

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Snapshot Survey of Lightning Process Outcomes and Experiences

Snapshot Survey

Overview: The snapshot surveys were completed by 1297 people who attended a Lightning Process seminar, in a variety of locations throughout the UK and Norway, between January 2007 and May 2010.

Results: 81.3% of clients report improvement after the LP course.  Read the full survey here and the survey focused on ME/CFS here.

Me association

ME Association’s Survey 2010

ME Association’s 2010 Survey

A UK based charity survey (N = 4,217, female = 78% age range 11-66), asked respondents about their experiences of managing their ME. Perceptions of using 25 different approaches, including standard approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (n = 997), Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) (n = 906) and the LP (which was the third least used of the approaches, n = 101) were rated on a Likert scale.

The survey found that the LP received the highest percentage out of all the 25 approaches for those feeling they had ‘greatly improved’.

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Brighton & Sussex Medical School and Sussex & Kent ME/CFS Society’s Survey

Brighton & Sussex Medical School and Sussex & Kent ME/CFS Society’s Survey

Results: In this study the LP was identified as the ‘most helpful approach’.  In this survey of 457 members, tracking their experiences over two years, 44% of the society’s members found the Lightning Process “very helpful” and 36% “reasonably helpful”.

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