The Autonomic Nervous System, Post Viral States, Research and Recovery

Updated: Feb 4

Many Years ago Dr Darrel Ho Yen in his book book better recovery from viral illness described looking for the cause of post viral fatigue states as like looking for a contact lens on a beach and then said unfortunately there weren’t many people looking.

At that time there were few effective treatments for postviral states. Cause was unknown, people managed their illness, and hopefully, recovered slowly, over time. There are more people looking now for cause and routes to recovery. If looking for cause and recovery is like looking for a contact lens on a beach, surely a beach where there already is evidence is a great place to start?

In the 2000s I was running a Support Group for people with CFS/ME and people started to ring me up and tell me they were better. I then trained in a process that did that, the Lightning Process. As a practitioner working fulltime for more than 14 years I have seen the Lightning Process (TM) create extraordinary rapid changes in health in people recovering from viral infections.

So for example I have seen clients who have been confined to bed for years with severe disabling fatigue create extraordinary change. After a 3 day training a client who had been confined to bed was walking to the park across the road building their fitness. A few months later they were in part-time voluntary work building up to paid work.

Sometimes changes are less dramatic, for example a long covid client went from enough energy to potter about the house, and a carefully planned trip to a supermarket to a graded return to work, backed by enough energy to do that.

How are my clients doing that? Could the autonomic nervous system be a key?

Issues with the autonomic nervous system have been shown to have wide ranging affects including symptoms that are affected by standing, and other issues including poor sleep, cognitive decline, inflammation and increased pain and fatigue (4)

Practically we know that approaches like the Lightning Process help people diagnosed with long lasting post viral states like glandular fever. (3 )What's more we know that change can be rapid. (3) How is the Lightning Process helping people to do that? What are the mechanisms underlieing rapid sustainable change? Are changes in autonomic nervous system function important here? The answer is we don't know yet.

But what we do know is know that there is widespread dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system in people with a diagnosis of CFS/ME. For example research here in the North East of England in 2007 funded by ME research UK and the UK Medical Research Council showed a significant subset of people with ME/CFS had autonomic dysfunction.

Robinson et al. (2015) found evidence of dysautonomia in almost 90% of CFS patients. (3)

Interestingly people with Long Covid (who testimonial evidence shows are also benefitting from the Lightning Process) research is finding dysfunctions in the autonomic nervous system. For example leading science journal Nature last year published a paper on NOL index in Long Covid, a way of measuring Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of the modulation (variation) of the sympathetic and parasympathetic functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System.

"Long COVID-19 participants with fatigue may exhibit a dysautonomia characterized by dysregulation of the HRV, that is reflected by the NOL index measurements, compared to control participants. Dysautonomia may explain the persistent symptoms observed in long COVID-19 patients, such as fatigue and hypoxia." Nature, Science Reports, July 2021 (2)

A correlation, a link between two things, doesn't always mean its the cause. If looking for cause is like looking for a contact lens on a beach, surely a beach where there already is evidence is a great place to start. Perhaps that place might be the Lightning Process?

#autonomic nervous system #long covid #lightning process


(1)Newton JL Symptoms of autonomic dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome Quarterly Journal of Medicine, 2007 Aug; 100(8): 519–26

(2)Nicolas Barizien etal Clinical characterization of dysautonomia in long COVID-19 patients Nature Science Reports, 11, Article number: 14042 2021

(3) Rijk A systematic review of the evidence base for the Lightning Process Explore Volume 17, Issue 4, July–August 2021

(4)Robinson, L.J., et al (2015) Autonomic function in chronic fatigue syndrome with and without painful temporomandibular disorder, Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health and Behaviour, 3, 4

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