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Dr Perrin's Theory

The Perrin Technique™ is based on Dr. Perrin’s theory that different stress factors whether physical, allergies, emotional or infections lead to an overstrain of the sympathetic nervous system. Further investigation has led to a probable cause of this nervous system overload being a build-up of toxins in the fluid around the brain and the spinal cord. Some of the poisons caused by infection or inflammation in the head or spine flow through channels from the brain into the lymph ducts of the head face and neck. The toxins are also meant to drain down the spinal cord and out into the lymph ducts lying along the spine. In a ME/CFS sufferer, there is a backflow of these normal drainage points which leads to further toxicity and dysfunction of the central nervous system. This leads to all the many symptoms we see in ME/CFS.

I was well, within weeks, after twelve years of a miserable life. It is incredible to me even now when I think about it.
Elizabeth Smith
Toronto, Canada


Research over the past 30 years has validated
Dr. Perrin’s theories.

The Perrin Technique™ is a manual method that aids the diagnosis and treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ME/CFS and was developed in 1989 by British osteopath and neuroscientist Dr Raymond Perrin DO Ph.D.

ME/CFS according to Dr Perrin is caused by an accumulation of inflammatory chemicals and other toxic substances in the brain and spinal cord leading to a dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system, part of the autonomic nervous system of the body, which deals with all the automatic functions of the body. Although it is known for being the system that helps us in times of danger and stress, often referred to as the ‘Fight or Flight’ system, the sympathetic nervous system is important in controlling blood flow and the normal functioning of all the organs of the body such as the heart, kidney, the bowel. We know it is vital for healthy lymphatic drainage. In ME/CFS sufferers the sympathetic nervous system will have been placed under stress for many years before the onset of the signs and symptoms. This stress may be of a physical nature due to postural strain or an old injury, it may be emotional, or environmental such as pollution, or it may be due to stress on the immune system due to infection or allergy.

Dr Perrin hypothesised that one final trigger factor, usually a viral infection, leads to a breakdown of the sympathetic nervous system’s control of the lymphatic drainage leading to a reversal of the flow of toxins toward the brain and the spinal cord. This produces further dysfunction of the central nervous system causing further backflow of toxins and further disruption of normal bodily functions and the disease that we know as ME/CFS. However, the final trigger may not be an infection but a physical, emotional or chemical trauma. The amount and type of toxicity is different in every patient and with over 100 Billion neurones (nerve cells) in the brain, it isn’t any wonder that every ME/CFS patient has a different presentation and many combinations of symptoms which adds further confusion in the medical world.

The connection between the lymphatic system and the brain was only discovered to exist in humans in 2017 so the scientific basis of The Perrin Technique that ME/CFS was due to a disturbed neuro-lymphatic system was almost 30 years ahead of its time and initially opposed by most scientists and medics around the world. Now we know differently, with the neuro-lymphatic (also known as the Glymphatic) system being a proven mechanism that drains large molecules and poisons via cerebrospinal fluid into lymphatic vessels lining the brain.

Some of the toxins caused by infection or inflammation in the head or spine should flow through perforations in a bony plate (the cribriform plate) just above the nasal cavity plus through other cranial nerve pathways such as the optic and auditory pathways and the trigeminal into the lymph ducts around the eyes, ears, and mouth and down the face and neck. The toxins are also meant to drain down the spinal cord and out into the lymph ducts lying along the spine. Dr. Perrin has discovered that the common finding in ME/CFS patients is that these normal drainage points are structurally damaged by prior trauma to the head and spine or developmental or congenital and hereditary problems that lead to structural disturbances in these important areas. The damage may seem quite minor but it can lead to a restriction of healthy drainage leading to congestion in the neurolymphatic flow that starts the vicious cycle of neurotoxicity that leads to the reversal of lymphatic flow also leading to engorged ‘varicose’ lymphatic vessels found especially in the chest and neck.




Further investigation has shown that the reversal of the neurolymphatic flow and the disturbed sympathetic nervous system has led to other common physical signs that are found in ME/CFS patients. 
ME/CFS is very much a biomechanical disorder with clear and diagnosable physical signs, including disturbed spinal posture, varicose enlarged lymph vessels, and specific tender points related to sympathetic nerve disturbance and backflow of lymphatic fluid. The fluid drainage from the brain to the lymphatics moves in a rhythm that can be palpated using cranial osteopathic techniques. A trained practitioner can feel a disturbance in the cranial rhythm in ME/CFS.
By identifying the common signs in all ME/CFS sufferers, Dr. Perrin has devised a physical examination that results in aid to a definitive diagnosis. The diagnostic signs of The Perrin Technique™ have been tested and supported by the rigor of an NHS-controlled trial, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open) in November 2017.



The Perrin Technique™ treatment manually stimulates the fluid motion around the brain and spinal cord by a combination of specific adapted osteopathic techniques and manual lymphatic drainage developed by Dr. Raymond Perrin which aids drainage of these toxins out of the cerebrospinal fluid.

Cranial and spinal techniques together with the massage of the soft tissues in the head, neck, back, and chest together with the gentle stroking lymphatic techniques direct all the toxins out of the lymphatic system and into the blood, where they are eventually detoxified in the liver.

Eventually, with no poisons affecting the brain, the sympathetic nervous system begins to function correctly, and providing the patient’s pace and not overstrain themselves their symptoms should gradually improve and in time some patients become totally symptom-free.


An adapted form of The Perrin Technique™ is also helpful in the treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) which is often diagnosed in patients who have ME/CFS. Dr. Perrin believes FMS is caused by the same biomechanical problems as ME/CFS with the toxins in these patients targeting the pain control centres in the brain leading to widespread severe myalgia (muscle pain) in all parts of the body and many of the symptoms of ME.

To see patients return to their normal healthy lives see the film ‘The Perrin Technique’.