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November 30, 2010 / zzirf

The Peters’ Protocol: Graded Excercise Therapy non-PACE style

Laugh Bag

Click the photo to link to someone’s store if you want a laughter bag.  A bit of free advertising for them will not hurt since I pinched their image.

I have just come up with a new protocol for the management of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in Australia and Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS ) in the United States of America. I am not a medical doctor so you must use this protocol at your own risk or by your own intuition.  This protocol I provide free – a little tongue in cheek but quite possibly it will be just as successful in managing CFS and post-viral fatigue syndrome as any other protocol existing today.  It will be teaching you to work with your modified Anaerobic Threshold by using some light-hearted exercise of the internal kind.  If you would like, you may use the 15 minute-laughter block as a gauage as to whether you should return to work or not after a prolonged illness.  I would not recommend returning to work if you so not outlast the 15 minute mark.  Try it with a friend.


Background Information

This protocol is based on Heart Rate Monitoring and laughter tolerance.  I am designing this protocol around the fact that my heart rate can go over 60% of my personal Anaerobic Threshold by laughing.  I know because I briefly participated in a Laughterclub on Skype knowing the many benefits of Laughter Yoga.  The 15 minutes of non-stop laughing did not rejuvenate me as promised.  Instead I felt horrible about an hour afterwards despite the fact I was enjoying it at the time.  My energy stores were totally depleted and I did not notice it straight away.

Wayne phoned me today.  He was just as funny as I remembered him and it was a lively and giggly conversation conducted sitting in a chair (with my legs up to help avoid blood pooling).  Healthwise it sounds like both of us have ended up disabled and in pain but that only seemed to add to the humour.  My heart rate was 1 over threshold at the end of 55 minutes so maybe I over-stayed the connection but if I had been wearing a heart-rate monitor I would have heard the alarm.  During another more stressful phone conversation which lasted less than 15 minutes my heart-rate was below threshold but only by 1.  I have concluded that laughing was the more pleasant of the two conversations and that it would be a good gauge of how ready we are to take on non-sedentary activities without causing a relapse.  What better way to test ourselves than by laughing –  given the psychological and physical benefits already documented elsewhere in the medical literature?

I have learned a lot about laughter from my sister, a retired laughter therapist, and about the variety of laughs that a person can produce on command.  After a small amount of practice you can make yourself laugh even if you do not feel happy.  If you are a cynical type of person maybe a sarcastic laugh would suit you best.  If you like faeries then you may choose to adopt a laugh that is just a little tinkle of a laugh.  You can make your own rules at home but laughter clubs have some very creative ideas , like pantemiming at the same time as laughing and that ability to keep the laughing experience novel is in itself probably helping with brain cognition symptoms so feel free to improvise and dramatise.  There you go, you don’t have to just stick to memory matching games to help prevent brain aging.  Laughter definately helps.  Please note: If you are severely physically compromised by your illness, I would never advise you to laugh for 15 minutes continuously like I tried so let your heart-rate-monitor be your initial guide please.  Do not exceed your anaerobic threshold because you are having too much fun!  Please buy a heart-rate monitor, preferably of the continuous type.  I used a Polar One with chest strap until the battery died.  A blood pressure machine is not really portable enough unless it is a less accurate wrist type meaning mainly that the wrist-type tend to be misused with regards to position more frequently.  A blood pressure machine is not a continuous measure either.

The Peters’ Protocol Version One

  • Set your heart-rate monitor’s alarm to sound at your modified AT which should be calculated by proper medical tests if you can afford it or via the following formula which is provided by the CFIDS and Fibromyalgia Self Help Web Page : 220 minus [your age] times 0.6

((which means 60 percent of a “normal” person’s Anaerobic Threshold (AT)).  I have heard of this threshold modification at 50% and 85% which would alter the above formula but I am sticking with the Dr.  Bruce Campbell formula).

  • Find a posture that you can maintain that keeps you consistently below your modified AT
  • Find out for yourself what kind of laughter and how loudly and strongly you can project it which you can maintain without going over your modified AT.
  • Find out how long you can continuously maintain it for within safe limits.
  • You may have some fun experimenting with different kinds of laughs but I would recommend not going straight for a “gorilla laugh”.  Perhaps start with a “pixie giggle”.
  • The aim is to be able to laugh for 5 minutes continuously.  So practice every day whenever you like but do not go over your AT.
  • The Peters protocol now suggests that you do not leave the original safe posture on a daily basis until you can safely laugh for 5 minutes.  Please note that if you start your laughing bedbound, then you are not given permission to leave your bed until you can laugh for 5 minutes continuously.  If you can maintain your laughing in a standing posture then you are given permission to try bending or raising your hands above your head and build up to 5 minutes laughter.  In this way you may be able to increase your threshold for laughing which to my warped mind is a good pre-requisite to the normal resumption of activities and a good indicator of your current level of functioning.




Leave a Comment
  1. alisa / Dec 2 2010 2:35 AM

    i couldn’t help smiling as i read this. yes, you do have a good protocol, albeit tongue in cheek. during a recent holiday here in the u.s. my beeper kept going off during conversation, while sitting up, every time i laughed. so i need to work on my laughter posistion, tone, and muscle.

    • zzirf / Dec 2 2010 5:50 AM

      Thanks Alisa for commenting and it is all very interesting getting to know our own bodies – wasn’t it Socrates or someone? who said – “know thyself”.

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