Updated: Apr 18, 2019
If you’re like me, then you’ve tried endless therapies throughout the years. Not because you want to be spending your money on alternative treatments or because your illnesses have become your sole purpose in life, but because you’re desperate to get better and to reclaim your health.
It’s rare when you do find something that offers relief, but the drive to be well keeps you searching for answers. Perhaps you have the intention of sharing what works with those in need. I do too, and I've found something that I feel is worth noting and possibly even shouting from the hilltops.
Introducing the Dynamic Neural Retraining System or DNRS
Since I last wrote, I took a big step toward recovering from Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), fibromyalgia, Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), chronic Lyme, food sensitivities and much more by enrolling in the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS). This brain retraining program focuses on rehabilitation of the limbic system.
The course is based on the idea that trauma (chemical, viral, bacterial, emotional, psychological, etc.) may result in neural disorganization and cause over-activation of the “fight or flight” centers in the brain. By calming the limbic system and shifting out of survival mode the body begins to heal from the top down.
My rehabilitation program involves working to change the way my brain’s limbic system interprets and responds to stimuli. The techniques are based on the science of neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to change. Neuroplasticity based interventions have been used with remarkable success in treating physical ailments (e.g. strokes, brain injuries, hearing impairment) and psychological impairments (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder). Current evidence suggests that CIRS, MCS, ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and Lyme impact both neurological and physical function.
So how does neuroplasticity work? Check out this 2-minute video to learn more:
As a result of the DNRS program, I’m no longer focusing on symptoms (which we refer to as “its” in the program). In fact, I’m actively diverting my brain’s energy to other endeavors. If you’re curious, or know someone with severe sensitivities, I highly suggest learning more about DNRS training at their website. Additionally, I recommend that you read “Wired for Healing: Remapping the Brain to Recover from Chronic and Mysterious Illnesses” by Annie Hopper (founder of the DNRS program.)
I began by reading “Wired for Healing” over a long weekend and that Monday I signed up for the 3.5 day online training program, which was excellent. I did that by sacrificing my daily naps and waking up an hour earlier each day, but it was well worth it. By the end of the immersion I was already seeing progress. I had a solid understanding and appreciation of Annie’s program, and I felt hopeful for the first time in many years.
By the end of the 3.5 day online immersion I was already seeing progress. I had a solid understanding and appreciation of Annie’s program, and I felt hopeful for the first time in many years.
From there, I transitioned into one hour of limbic system exercises daily for six months. For the first month, I woke and wrote my proclamation 10 times, “I am calm and confident in ANY situation!” Following breakfast I spend 30 minutes doing the DNRS exercises to forge new neural pathways. I still wake earlier than usual to make this happen. By doing the exercises early in the day, it sets a positive tone and results in increased ease and productivity throughout my day. Following the exercises I record my improvements from the previous day on my calendar, and then I read Annie’s Wellness Prayer out loud to my limbic system in a soothing voice - sort of like reading a poem to a 2-3 year old, since the limbic system has the emotional maturity of a toddler. I perform another 30 minutes of DNRS exercises later in the day following appointments, triggers, or when I need a pick-me-up. I also do a round as I fall asleep at night.
I’ve added prompts in my home environment to remind me of my practice and resulting metamorphosis! I’m altering my speech, shifting my thought patterns, and living as intentionally as possible (moment to moment) in regards to which neural pathways I’m strengthening (with use) and which I’m weakening (by avoidance). This takes ongoing diligence and effort. Interactions and appointments can feel like regression, but the more I practice the more natural it becomes. I’m pleased to report some small (and BIG) successes as a result of the work I’ve done so far.
Improved energy and mood. Feeling more relaxed.
Noticing a reduced sense of smell: not smelling gasoline from cars on a walk.
Joe (my husband) and I are working better together on home tasks and beginning to talk and think about our future.
Less social anxiety and nervous energy.
Improved tolerance to chemicals and fragrances.
Joe is sharing more with me about work now that I don’t look like I “have the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
I’m lighter and happier as a whole, smiling and laughing easier.
Less reactive as a passenger in the car.
I could not have anticipated the positive effect DNRS has had on my husband! He is really responding to my work, which enhances our relationship as well.
My productivity is increasing.
Joe says I seem happier and calmer - even more flexible at times.
I enjoyed a fragrance at the gym! Rather than shrinking away from it, I inhaled (shock and awe!)
Joe and I jogged up a hill behind our house, which was the first time he’s seen me run in years. Now I’m thinking about running again.
I’m tolerating louder music for longer periods of time.
I’m moving through my days with more ease as I shift out of survival mode and keep my mood elevated.
I began running again for the first time in 9 years (despite many “its”) - at a slow pace!
I have more energy and am napping less.
I’m getting more organized and caught up on life.
I’m running errands again without a mask.
I filled my car with gas and barely smelled it, no petroleum mask!
Joe says he sees me appearing “safe and happy” as I only had in Lititz at my mom and dad’s home.
I’m becoming consistently more productive and positive.
I sealed furniture without a mask (which I needed previously even though the seal is formulated for MCS).
I’ve been much less feverish.
I took my first trail run!
I reduced my daily Excedrin by 1/3 for the first time in 10 years!
I’ve worked in my office until 7 or 8p rather than retiring to the couch after dinner.
Using peppermint oil less for "its."
I'm cooking and preparing food more often.
I'm tolerating more meds orally.
I stopped taking ibuprofen daily.
I'm running 1-2 times per week for 20 minutes, with a 10 minute warm up prior, and free weights following without feeling unwell!
I have increased stamina and ability to perform house work.
My NMD (aka: "Doc") reports reduced neck and lymph node inflammation (with the help of a new nasal spray for neurological inflammation that I’m tolerating.)
I felt confident enough to book our first overnight trip (for June) in 4 years!
Less pain at night and rarely icing my head.
Doc is pleased with my ongoing progress: improved color (not so red), less inflamed and spinal adjustments are easier. He believes the DNRS work will make my other treatments more effective.
My chiropractor reports that my neck feels “much better.”
My voice has been less hoarse and broken when performing a voice analysis biofeedback.
My organ priorities have reduced from about 10-15 organ and nutrition needs each down to 5 each via biofeedback analysis.
Joe says my “inner child” is coming out and he feels like he’s getting to know the real me!
I “spring cleaned” for the first time maybe ever.
I'm having productive days consistently with fewer setbacks.
Doc says my back is less inflamed and feels stronger.
My adrenals now show a small curve and are making cortisol again.
I’m having less pain overall with half as much painkiller!
How does one know if they're suffering from a limbic system impairment?
Well the first step is to complete this brief questionnaire. If you answer ‘yes’ to more than 5 of those questions, it is possible that you are experiencing a limbic system impairment. If this is the case, you would likely benefit from ‘rewiring’ your limbic system. For example, I answered 'yes' to 28 out of the 29 questions.
It may be early to be sharing this program, but if you’re like me, then you can’t afford to wait. Three months ago I was at an entirely different place. I thought I was destined to live with these conditions in isolation, but I no longer believe that. I still have really tough times and some days it feels like, as Annie says, "defying gravity" to do the mental work. However, now I have a roadmap that has helped many people before me with many of the same mysterious "its."
What this program does so well is that it identifies a systemic problem which is rooted in the brain, and it provides a step-by-step solution for calming and rewiring your limbic system to bypass those faulty neural pathways.
If you have sensitivities to life (chemical, food, light, sound, touch, smell, etc…), I highly suggest checking out Annie’s DNRS program. My only regret is not beginning it sooner. This program had been on my radar a few years back when it was buried by the unexpectedness of life. My Doc recently brought the DNRS program back to my attention after one of his patient's attended a DNRS seminar. Then I heard the program mentioned time and time again on The Toxic Mold Summit, including Annie's talk, and I knew I had to try DNRS as soon as I felt like I could give it my full devotion.
This program isn’t ideal if you’re in a crazy transition, dealing with a housing crisis, or a recent death. It’s best that you wait and commit the time and attention required to really reap the benefits. If you can’t do the initial training in 3.5 days, or commit to the 1 hour of practice daily - this probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re still in an unsafe environment (i.e.: mold or chemicals) DNRS could help you navigate the storm.
If you think you’re too tired, DNRS will likely add back energy and productivity to your day.
If you think you’re in too much pain, DNRS will make the pain more bearable.
If you think it will take away attention from your family, DNRS could offer something for each of you while improving the quality of your time together.
If you think DNRS is just another gimmick to try that probably won’t work, you could be missing out on the opportunity to recover. These are life skills that will serve you well. I have zero ties and affiliation to the program other than the results that I’ve seen thus far.