Diaphragm Breathing‏ ~ My Experience

Largely or completely altering our respiratory habits e.g. re-training, can be quite a mission! However, I’ve found that once you get into the swing of regular diaphragmatic breathing it soon becomes like second nature, provided the conditions are right *


* Examples of conditions that may hinder routine diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Structural, or muscular, tightness of the trunk, including thoracic/rib cage
  • Bad posture e.g. slumping (spine must remain straight day and night)
  • Playing a lot of sport (encourages chesty, or ‘costal’, breathing)
  • Poor dietary discipline e.g. overeating, or lack of essential nutrients
  • Poor sleep habits e.g. sleeping on one’s back
  • Emotional aspects e.g. stress,* anxiety, anger

Computer games can be a source of adrenalin release/chronic hyperventilation


I have found the following to be helpful in re-training my respiratory habits:

  • Habitual deep/slow breathing as part of my morning routine e.g. in the bath
  • Including breathing prompts in my alarm reminders for other things
  • Tying a theraband around my chest for a while during the day *
  • Reclined seated posture ** ~ freer abdominal motion
  • Irritable bowel and bladder issues addressed ~ freer abdominal motion
  • Mental checklist when going to bed, includes posture and breathing

This should not be done long term as it may interfere with blood/lymph flow

** This is advisable for people with M.E. (PWME) anyway, as hip flexion ~ nerve sensitisation


For me the most important times to try to remember to train diaphragmatic breathing are at the beginning and the end of the day, as this sets you off on the right footing in both active/sleep phases. In a matter of a few weeks I’ve seen a marked difference in my habits

The Perrin Technique ~ My Experience

In February 2012 I decided to investigate The Perrin Technique (PT) following a recommendation by a fellow student with ME/CFS. When I suspended my university studies (not for the first time, due to ill health) I decided to give PT a good go


At first I got friends and family to help administer the full routine (from May 2012) but finally decided to go and see Dr. Perrin himself (at the behest of my parents) a few months later

Since then I have been receiving regular treatment from a qualified practitioner (mostly local, although I have had two sessions with Dr. Perrin himself) roughly in line with the treatment schedule he details in his book, on top of daily ‘self treatment routines’:

  • Quarter 1: A session every week
  • Quarter 2: A session every fortnight
  • Quarter 3: A session every 3 weeks
  • Quarter 4: A session every month

I have completed about a year of treatment, and it feels (both to myself and my practitioner) that lymph transit has improved. This being the case, going forward I will not be attempting anything like the recommended frequency of full routine self treatment (the back massage part is a killer) but do intend to continue to do most of the self treatment routine, and to attend sessions with my local practitioner (monthly at present but I may further reduce frequency)

Improvements I have seen to date, arguably attributable (at least in part) to PT:

  • Improved congestion/inflammation of the cerebrospinal region e.g. back ‘crankiness’
  • Improved mental functioning e.g. mental energy, concentration, and cognition *

* I should note that this may have more to do with starting to supplement with D-Ribose


Drawbacks associated with PT:

  • The impact of the body having to deal with processing the lymph is quite intense
  • The treatment precludes all but very mild exercise *
  • My POTS seems to have worsened this year (possibly a link with deconditioning)
  • Reaction to treatment (thirst/drinking a lot) has the potential to disturb sleep
  • Reaction to treatment involves ‘BACNE’ (spots on your back, as toxins try to escape)
  • Cost (£40 per session locally, £95 per session with Dr. Perrin)

* You are told not to do anything that stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. I had a unique acute PENE relapse when I had just started PT and attempted to play tennis


From a theoretical perspective, if the improvements described are attributable to PT then it’s also fair to say that it may be part lymph drainage improvement and detoxification, and part reduced neuromuscular tension, plus possibly functional mobility e.g. nerve glide and joint interaction

These themes are associated with restricted/diminished neurodynamics and neural and neuromuscular strain ~ reduced neural or ‘neurogenic’ peripheral-central sensitisation (Rowe et al.2013). See Wolfe Hypothesis and Wolfe Protocol for further detail

Low Carb Regimes ~ My Experience

At the beginning of August 2012 I embarked upon my second self imposed anti-Candida Albicans regime – my first having proved helpful back in 2003/4. I did this as I had:

  • Re-developed symptoms consistent with those seen in Candidiasis * (see bottom)
  • Realised that my diet was punctuated with snack food/high in sugars
  • Performed a spittle test, the results of which were positive
  • Come across Candida Albicans in reading up on CFS (see this page)

I started out by narrowing my carbohydrate intake to just brown rice and select cooked vegetables e.g. cauliflower and broccoli, as well as introducing mild probiotics (yogurt) and natural anti-fungal foodstuffs (virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, and raw garlic)

After a couple of weeks I decided that the ‘die off‘ (unpleasant side-effects of the bacteria dying off) had peaked and it was time to move to the most extreme phase of an anti-candida regime, the ‘cleanse‘ phase. The effects in this phase were, as anticipated, rather hard going:

  • Toxic stress ~ pronounced inflammation e.g. a ‘thick’, deep headache and mild pressure in my head that remained with me every day + nausea (as my liver tackled ‘die off’ toxins)
  • Weight loss ~ as one might expect from someone with M.E. whose metabolism is on the extreme side as it is, on such a limited diet) ~ 65kg to 61kg in a matter of weeks
  • Weakness ~ no strength in my limbs combined with faintness that had me ostensively bed-bound for the entire first week

Having persisted with the cleanse phase for the maximum recommended period of a fortnight, and having returned to the more balanced ‘strict diet‘ (which included eggs and meats), I was over the worst of it

The next phase was to introduce concentrated probiotics (tablet form), so as to repopulate the gut with ‘friendly bacteria’, to continue with natural anti-fungals so as to purge any residual Candida (you never get rid of it completely), and to monitor improvement in symptoms

Once all signs of candida overgrowth are gone, one may begin to re-introduce different types of complex carbs and build carefully back up, over time, to a fairly normal diet

Source: thecandidadiet.com

- – -

I went on to pursue a leaky gut protocol and in general felt better/clearer both in the head and the gut, although I had lost a lot of weight by the time I was back on something approaching a normal diet (down 6kg to 59kg)!

- – -

2013 Re-intervention

Week 1: Lowering carb intake (14/10 – 20/10)

  • Oat bran breakfast (oat bran, water) + currants
  • Hemp protein for brunch (11am) and tea (4pm)
  • Sardine salad (sardines, lettuce, olive oil, lemon juice) + chickpeas for lunch
  • Cooked veg (broccoli, cabbage) and chicken for dinner

Head felt clearer but headache, weakness and fatigue kicked in quite quickly

Weeks 2-3: Maintaining low carb intake and introducing mild antimicrobials (21/10 – 10/11)

  • Oat bran breakfast (oat bran, water) + currants + modest amount of coconut oil
  • Sardine salad (sardines, lettuce, olive oil, lemon juice)  - no chickpeas for brunch
  • Home made chicken curry (contains garlic + onions + chickpeas) for lunch
  • Hemp protein or chicken stock for tea (4pm)
  • Cooked veg (broccoli, cabbage) and chicken for dinner
  • Small amount of oat bran before bed if necessary

Hard going, felt very low energy

Week 4: Cleanse phase I – starve microbes with minimal carb intake (11/11-18/11)

  • Oat bran breakfast (oat bran, water) – no currants
  • Hemp protein for brunch (11am) and tea (4pm)
  • Sardine salad (sardines, lettuce, olive oil, lemon juice) – no chickpeas for lunch
  • Cooked veg (broccoli, cabbage) and chicken for dinner
  • Small amount of oat bran before bed if necessary

Very hard going, felt very hungry/weak

Month 2: Cleanse phase II – kill remaining microbes with anti-microbials (19/11- Xmas)

  • Coconut oil, or raw garlic, or grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbials) first thing
  • Oat bran + currants for breakfast
  • Hemp protein for brunch (11am) and tea (4pm)
  • Sardine salad or homemade chicken curry + chickpeas for lunch
  • Coconut oil, or raw garlic, or grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbials) before dinner
  • Cooked veg (broccoli, cabbage) and chicken for dinner
  • Small amount of oat bran before bed if necessary

Body acclimatised to low carb environment, felt better, weight stabilised, but remained weak

Month 3+: Rebuild phase – reintroducing ‘good bacteria’ & select carbohydrates

  • Probiotic first thing
  • Oat bran + currants for breakfast
  • Hemp protein for brunch (11am) and tea (4pm)
  • Coconut oil, or raw garlic, or grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbials) before lunch
  • Probiotic before bed
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots (modest amounts)
  • Quinoa (modest amounts)
  • Potatoes (small amounts)
  • Parsnips (small amounts)
  • Almonds (small amounts, soaked overnight)
  • Pecans (small amounts, soaked overnight)
  • Walnuts (small amounts, soaked overnight)

Continuing to generally avoid:

All alcoholic beverages

Grains ~ some brown rice is ok, in moderation

Milk products ~ undenatured whey protein is ok

Industrial seed oils and nuts

High glycaemic foodstuffs

Starchy vegetables ~ some sweet potato/potato/carrots/parsnips is ok

Legumes some consumption of beans is ok

Artificial additives

Caffeinated drinks

Red meat

Have regained most of the lost weight, GI feel healthier and IBS symptoms/digestion much improved!

Further reading: Wolfe Protocol: The Leaky Gut

Healthy Nutty Chicken Korma

A delicious dish that is safe on an anti-Candida or Leaky Gut diet, and fights microbes too!

Costs £5-10 to make (depending on type of ingredients used). Feeds 4 people

 Ingredients //

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of soaked almonds
  • 5 tbsp virgin coconut oil (or 3 tbsp olive oil)
  • 2 thick nobs (50g) of butter
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 3 or 4 medium size tomatoes
  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced and diced
  • ½ tin (200ml) of coconut milk
  • 50ml water
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ a large pot (250g) of yogurt – ideally Greek yogur
  1. Finely slice onions
  2. Place the butter in a wide pan and set over high heat
  3. Add the cinnamon, stir once or twice, then add the onions
  4. Stir and fry for about 3 mins or until the onions turn brownish
  5. Prep the garlic (sliced) and almonds (broken up a bit)
  6. Pop the garlic + almonds + coconut oil/olive oil + 3 tbsp of water + onions in blender
  7. Pour the blended ingredients back into the pan again, over a high heat
  8. Blend the tomatoes and pour them into pan
  9. Pour the 200ml of coconut milk into pan
  10. Shake the 50ml of water around in blender to then pour this liquid into pan
  11. Dice the chicken, and add it to the pan along with the coconut milk
  12. Stir in the cayenne pepper and chilli powder
  13. Bring to boil. Cover, turn the heat to med and simmer for 10 mins (stir halfway through)
  14. Remove the cover and cook on high heat stirring regularly, until sauce thickens
  15. (You may wish to add chickpeas and/or [pre-cooked] chana dal at this point)
  16. Turn heat down to low, stir in the yogurt and allow to warm through before serving
  17. Optional seasoning: Add 1 tbsp of Stevia or Xylitol (to sweeten) + salt to taste

Serve with chickpeas, beans, wild or brown rice, or chana dal

Joining the ‘blogosphere’


Having resisted the nascent trend for a number of years, recently I created formal email, facebook and youtube accounts, and have now decided that it is time to break my vows and contribute to the billions of pages of drivel now in circulation in cyberspace via a ‘blog’

“Nerds of a feather blog together”

For many years I mocked overly enthusiastic, stereotypically self obsessed/narcissistic, oddball bloggers for their foolishness but now the time has come to join their number as I can see no better way of formalising and sharing misguided views and earth-shatteringly dull experiences.. and it’s high time I did both, particularly on health matters where there is something of a serious, ethical impetus