IT was a newspaper article by Esther Rantzen, former presenter of the classic TV show, That’s Life! that helped save Donna Paris from a living death.

For ten years Donna suffered with ME – a condition that brought the former professional dancer turned dance teacher literally to her knees.

“It started when I was in my late 20s,” she explains. “I started feeling as though I couldn’t cope and that I didn’t have enough time to get everything done.

“I was running three local dance schools at the time and helping my husband with his family business too so it was a bit of a juggling act.”

Looking at Donna now, it’s hard to imagine that this bright, vibrant woman was once so low she struggled to get out of bed in the mornings.

“I started not sleeping very well at night which takes its toll after a while and my body felt terribly achy all the time. I used to wake up feeling as though I had been running a marathon all night.

“But I was always one of those people who believed in getting on with life – I never had a day off sick – when you are running your own business you need to keep going.”

Donna feared that her symptoms were due to a lack of fitness so she embarked on a new exercise regime to build up her strength and stamina.

“It was the worst thing I could have done in fact, as it was just draining me even more. My glands in my neck would swell up and I was either in a hot sweat or shivering with cold.

“But the really scary part is that it began to affect my brain. I remember sitting with my husband having a cup of coffee in Bournemouth. He was talking to me but I just couldn’t take in what he was saying and I remember putting my hands to my head and feeling as if my brain was full.”

Donna, 39, who lives with her husband in Ringwood, says she went to see her doctor a couple of times but was just told to try and take more rest.

“I looked perfectly well so it’s difficult for people to understand,” she admits.

The crunch point came one evening when she was preparing dinner and didn’t even have enough strength to mix a salad.

“The next time I saw the doctor I was crying and in a bit of state and that’s when he started to do some tests.

“We are fortunate in Dorset that at least doctors do recognise ME as there is a clinic at Wareham Hospital.

“But it only teaches people how to cope with ME and make certain changes so they can get on with life, but it is still a very limited lifestyle.

“The worst part though, is not knowing how long it’s going to go on for. No one has any idea whether it will last a couple of years or a lifetime.”

Following her diagnosis two years ago, Donna had to sell her dancing schools.

“It was devastating as dancing had been my passion and I had always thought I would be a dance teacher all my life.”

But then she read an article by Esther Rantzen whose daughter had been cured of ME by a training programme called The Lightning Process.

“I’d heard about it before and decided to give it a try.

“I think the name can be a bit misleading – people think it’s some new age thing but it’s actually a lot of common sense – it’s a combination of different therapies that make it so effective.”

Donna explains that many people who have ME tend to be very driven perfectionist types who run on a lot of adrenaline.

“It was known as yuppie flu in the 80s. If your body is running on adrenaline all the time eventually the body burns out.

“If you don’t give your body time to recover, the hormone levels get to a point that the body begins to shut down.

“The Lightning Process teaches you how to intercept the stress hormone cycle. Once the penny drops, you start to feel better almost straight away – that’s why it’s called The Lightning Process.”

Donna is now a qualified practitioner of The Lightning Process and is now running courses at The Wimborne Clinic in Wimborne and The Arch Clinic in Fordingbridge.

“It comes with a lifetime guarantee – you just need a little bit of discipline to do it when you need it.”

For more information visit the website or call 01202 813303.