When Steve Harmison’s biography Speed demons was published a couple of years ago it was variously described as searing and brutal. I thought it was a bit more than searing – more like a red hot poker up the bottie. And not for the first time I found myself thinking, here’s another cricketer who had a miserable time flying around the world business class and being well paid for a sport he was supposed to love.

But of course there is a lot more to it than that. I remember a period of sheer hell going to work in a corporate environment with a bullying boss who almost sent me into therapy. I thought Harmison’s book might end on a positive note – not a bit of it, very depressing indeed.

We all know that mental health welfare has moved up the agenda, especially in cricket, which appears to have a statistically higher rate of suicides amongst men than the general population. Indeed, the Professional Cricketers’ Association now has a 24-hour hotline, an app and a number of former players who act as contact points for those in distress.

Essex cricket chairman Ronnie Irani is no stranger to stress, nor are members of his family. But he found a unique way of dealing with issues. Back as a player he visited a Munich clinic where a doctor was dealing with mental and physical ailments by zapping patients with an electro-magnetic waves machine. It was so successful that Irani often thought of bringing such treatment to the UK – now he has done just that, opening a therapy centre with Patsy Coughlin.

The Perfect Combinations clinic has opened in the Cheshire countryside using the Impuls7 machine. It emits pulses that correct imbalances in the electro-magnetic fields surrounding the human body.

Irani explained: “I experienced at first-hand the effectiveness of this therapy developed by Dr Knut Pfeiffer in Munich. The impact is incredible and has helped various members of my family but as you can imagine it’s quite expensive to be paying to go over there for several days.

“I have been thinking about this for a long time and now with Dr Pfeiffer’s support we have brought the Impuls7 machine to the UK.”

l-r Knut Pfeiffer, Patsy Coughlin, Ronnie Irani

Patients enter a cube to be subject to impulses from an electro-magnetic machine that focuses on nerves around the body. It is reputed to be able to alleviate stress, anxiety, insomnia and even back pain.

Irani added: “Stress seems to impact on so many people now and not in just professional sport which is my background. When I was playing and players had some sort of emotional turmoil, it was often bottled up and that leads to long term problems. Players wouldn’t dare voice their concerns in case they appeared weak.

“I first went to Dr Pfeiffer’s for a knee injury as this therapy can tackle physical problems not just mental ones. It was very effective in helping my daughter when she went through a period of anxiety.

“Of course clubs are much more aware of the issues now. At Essex we have professional support available and I had a talk with the players before the season started and told them to come and see us if anything was affecting their emotional well-being.

“I think this therapy could help some players but it is for everyone, it is not restricted to aiding mental health in a sports environment. There is no need to suffer in silence any more.”

Knut Pfeiffer said: “In the modern world 50% of ailments are stress -related and the statistics are rising – fast. Doctors are giving out anti-depressants in unprecedented numbers but the problems aren’t going away. You have two types of people; those suffering from burn-out and those who are clinically depressed. What we do is attack the root cause of the problem with sessions on four consecutive days. We then leave it six weeks to judge the effect.”

Patients lie in a cube which prevents interference from other sources and repairs the electro-magnetic field, noticeably reducing cortisol, the stress hormone.

Irani searched the UK for a practitioner who could help which is why he settled on patsy Coughlin, a well known therapist in the North West. Perfect Combinations has opened in Wervin Road, Chester.

Barry Turner