Lightning Process/Switch

There are some therapies which are commercially based, and they come under many names.

The Lightning Process is one that has been widely known, but it has in some cases has been rebranded under other names and at present is called “The Switch” in New Zealand.

This is a psychological approach based on neuro-linguistic programming, a therapy which

may have benefits to some people with ME/CFS, especially those who have depression or anxiety. 

There have been claims made that the Lightning Process/Switch is a cure and some have said it did cure or significantly help them, but as yet no scientific trials have been done with a group selected from stringent ME/CFS research guidelines. It is possible responders may have conditions other than ME/CFS.

We are concerned by its promotion of it as a “cure” for ME/CFS. At present this is not scientifically proven. We have received reports from those who have spent a great deal of money to try this or similar treatments who have made no improvement, were not cured or

have relapsed severely. The guilt experienced by those who are not cured can be devastating.

On 27 September, 2017, the ME Association in the UK published this article on their website:

The following is a quote from Dr Charles Shepherd, medical advisor to the ME Association:

“The Lightning Process” is not a treatment that we endorse or recommend for people with ME/CFS.

“Patient evidence, gathered from our members over many years, indicates that some people who have gone through the LP try to make rapid and unrealistic improvements in their physical and mental activity

levels. However, this is followed by a relapse or significant worsening of symptoms.

“Others who have gone through the LP programme report that they have spent huge amounts of money with no obvious benefit.

“It may well be that there are some people with a general fatigue state, resulting from stress, emotional or psychological problems who could benefit from a ‘mind over matter’ retraining approach such as this. Such fatigue states are a separate entity and not to be confused with ME/CFS.

“There has been a very significant growth in biomedical research globally into M.E. in the past decade. This over-simplistic and largely psychological model of ME/CFS causation that is being put forward to patients is totally out of step with emerging scientific evidence as to the cause of ME/CFS.”

Since Dr Shepherd wrote this statement, there has been even more robust scientific research into ME/FS as a neuro-inflammatory disease. One might do well to remember that multiple sclerosis was once seen as a kind of “hysteria,” until MRI machines were able to identify the lesions associated with this disease on the myelin sheath of the spinal cord. 

Research into the biomedical causes and potential treatments of ME/CFS is proceeding at a rapid rate and new therapies are being developed, including the possibility of using existing medications to treat the illness.

Along with providing support, it is the aim of ANZMES to provide sufferers of ME/CFS with accurate and up-to-date medical information. We encourage all patients, medical practitioners, family members or the general public to contact us with any questions you may have. 

Associated Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Society of New Zealand

info@anzmes.org.nz