Recovery from ME/CFS Does Transformational Breath® have a role to play ?
Morag Wylie and Helena Boland, two TBF-UK Transformational Breath® Trainer/Facilitators, share their personal experience
Certified Transformational Breath® Facilitator
and Co-Trainer, West of Scotland
“My own story with Transformational Breath is closely linked to my journey from severe ME/CFS back to health. So just a bit of background. I was diagnosed with Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome in 1991 when the current range of alternative therapies weren’t available. I received little advice or support from my GP and my health quickly took a downward spiral. I was prescribed low dose anti-depressants even though I wasn’t actually depressed (to help with constant pain). Over the years I became severely affected and mostly housebound/bedbound with immune system abnormalities, multiple sensitivities, gastro-intestinal problems, sleep disturbances, neurological symptoms and allergies.I tried many many different alternative therapies, supplements, herbs and other weird things to get well.
I discovered Transformational Breath in 2004 by a rather unconventional route. But my breathwork journey really started when I was lucky enough to be a case study for a Transformational Breath® trainee back in 2005. The results were amazing and after every session, I felt my energy levels improving. It was like rediscovering life with fresh eyes. Being able to walk around the supermarket, having a night out with friends, meeting someone for coffee or getting on a plane for the first time in 18 years were all milestones in my recovery. I was so impressed that in 2008 I myself trained to be a Transformational Breath facilitator; I have since then worked with a wide range of people with different severities and types of ME/CFS with very good results.
During my recovery, I tried many different therapies and Transformational Breath® was the one thing that really kick-started my recovery. I’m very grateful to have discovered it. The great thing about Transformational Breath® is that it puts you back in charge.”
Certified Transformational Breath® Facilitator
and Co-Trainer, North London
“Its 7.55 am Saturday 8th June 2002. I have travelled to Egypt on my own, without friends or family. I am on all fours in a group of strangers crawling in the dark. We are entering the middle pyramid on the Giza plateau. I feel uncomfortable, though I don’t know why. I feel a little claustrophobic in these tight dark conditions. I am 5 ft 2ins and the doorway ahead must be only 3 ft or so. My camera is hanging around my neck and all I can see is darkness as I enter. The electric lights come on and I stand up, walk around, touch the ancient walls. There is nothing here; it’s just one great cavern; a space so vast and empty. It’s disappointing to have made the effort to come inside and find nothing at all. Just spaciousness.
I am bussed back to the hotel, a palace built for the Pharaoh’s wife. The place is furnished in dark, carved ornate furniture and looks straight on to the Giza plateau. I have a very large room all to myself and love the freedom of being on my own. This is bliss. It’s after lunch and I go swimming in the warm water of the main swimming pool. Lolling around I suddenly feel giddy. This is a weird feeling, I have not drunk alcohol, yet I feel everything is a bit floaty; a little surreal. It’s lovely like l have drunk a few gin and tonics. I’m not complaining. I’m a bit unsteady on my feet but can make my way back to my room, where I rest.
Later in the evening, I dress up and I am delighted to go out with all the others on an organised trip. Our group leader takes us on a harbour cruise in Cairo. I am really enjoying it all now; I sit back relax and enjoy the scenery. The world is fantastic. Little do I know, but this is the last time I will experience the world as the ‘old me’.
I return to work in September 2002, as a Specific Learning Difficulties Consultant in Further and Higher Education. I consult in two institutions, about 30 minutes drive and about a one- hour drive. I feel so exhausted each time I drive to work. My concentration on gleaning information from student interviews and writing reports are becoming way beyond my mental capacity. This is the first time that rational, logical reasoning deserts me. My thinking is not focused, in fact, I am unable to process information from my students and writing reports is akin to climbing Mount Everest. I am utterly disappointed that I must break my contracts and terminate the consultancy business I founded in 1998. I have spent my whole life up to now jumping one hurdle after the next to get all the qualifications I need to be my own boss, to have a business I call my own, to be in control of my financial situation, to have an identity within the educational system. I have to give it all up – overnight.
It is early November 2002 and I am convinced I am going mad. Everything I have known falls away. I no longer know how to talk; I don’t know what to say to anyone. It’s as if all my life I have been reading from a script and now the script has been pulled away. I simply don’t know what to say. There is no small talk, no cultural fabric of discourse left to me. I don’t know how to walk; it seems like I am a baby learning to crawl again. Although I can put one foot in front of the other, it’s all a mystery to me, how on earth is all this happening? How is it that I walk, how is it that I talk? Who is walking or who is talking? Everything is different. Who am I? I am a stranger even to myself.
By the end of November 2002, I am mostly in bed, struggling to put on my dressing gown each evening to come downstairs, when my husband and two children are home from school. My eldest son is now in university. The month of November is spent seeing various medics. I see a raft of professionals including an ENT specialist, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a specialist physiotherapist, an optometrist and the Harley St. consultants agree; I do indeed have a virus; Epstein Bar virus and markers of glandular fever in my blood. I am prescribed anti-depressants to relieve the acute anxiety I am experiencing due to my other symptoms. The neurologist’s advice is to stay in bed as I need a great deal of rest. When I ask how long, he is silent. He tells me I must be grateful for a diagnosis. He reminds me I am forty-four years old after all. I feel the weight of the medical profession in all its judgemental arrogance, pour down on top of me, but I say nothing. Inside I feel anger or more like rage rising up. I am diagnosed with ‘Myalgic Encephalomyelitis’ ME. The prognosis is – my life as I know it is over and the treatment is – stay in bed.
This is the beginning of extreme sensitivity. I cannot have anyone in the house; their energy is too much to bear. I am so sensitive: every breath, twitch, an utterance is too much, it could destroy me physically. I lie in a darkened attic bedroom day after day, unable to dress or do anything for myself, I make it to the toilet next to my bedroom and am grateful for that. Ever since going into the Egyptian pyramid in June 2002, I feel as if the person I knew disappeared, my body somehow opened-up and I sense everything in myself, in others and the environment. I shake uncontrollably, jerking, as energy passes through me like lightning bolts. My body is lifted off the bed in uncontrollable spasms. I have no idea when the next spasm will hit. It’s tiring to be swept along in these high energy assaults. I feel completely out of control.
I do a Transformational Breath® routine each morning; it’s the one thing I can rely on. I feel connected to the earth, to my- self and to something greater than me, when I breathe. My body however tired is always able to breathe, maybe only fifteen minutes, but that is enough to stabilize me for the day. I have a powerful self-healing tool in my own Breath. I don’t need to keep seeing therapists anymore. I have all I need in my Breath, a constant companion, to centre me, connect me and transform me each day into something greater than I could ever have possibly imagined back in 2002. I now have my own healing centre, where I run Transformational Breath® workshops and see many one-to-one clients. I am even contemplating becoming a Transformational Breath® trainer. Who knows where the Breath will take me”
If Morag and Helena’s stories resonate with you, please consider checking out Transformational Breath(® and maybe contacting a Transformational Breath® Facilitator in your area to discuss your needs and to see if Transformational Breath® could be useful to you. We know that everyone is different who has ME and we aim to listen to you carefully, analyse your breathing, understand your needs and tailor our work accordingly.
It may be that you may need to start with a short and gentle breath routine while you are resting, gradually building up to longer sessions. It may be that to build up your resilience you will need to be patient and progress more slowly than you may want to. We also know that when you have a diagnosis of ME everyone is keen to tell you what to do! So – absolutely no pressure – it’s your choice if you follow this up!
If you are a Certified Transformational Breath® Facilitator or Trainer reading this please see a longer version on the facilitator portal of the TBF-UK website which contains useful practice guidelines/guidance [first published in our TBF-UK Facilitator ‘Breath Mag’ in March 2020]
Certified Transformational Breath® Trainer/Facilitator
Breathwork Advisor to the British Register of Complementary Practitioners
Post date: 2 September 2020