Advice from brain retrainerWho wouldn’t want feedback from those who have gone first? Some of our recent brain retraining survey respondents share their best tips for those newly starting a brain retraining program for limbic system impairment conditions like multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and electromagnetic sensitivity (EHS).

QUESTION: What advice do you have for anyone just starting to do a brain retraining program for MCS and related conditions?


You can’t be a success story if you never try the program! Go forth and be brave, intrepid health warriors! Don’t be afraid to personalize the program if you don’t feel like the program is a “perfect” fit for you. But you have to do the work to be a success. You can read all the success stories you want, but at some point we have to stop reading and start DOING. Good luck to all retrainers! – Patrick, California (DNRS for EHS, lymphedema)

For six months, let go of any physical explanation for your symptoms, regardless of any diagnosis you have. Keep on going for the full six months, even if you have dramatic improvement. – Ellen, Arizona (DNRS for MCS, EHS)

Make it a priority. Finding the time, the money, the motivation — it’s not easy when you’re sick, and broke from being sick, but if you’re going to do anything — do this! Many of your symptoms will just resolve, and you will then save enormous amounts of time, money, and energy not having to track them down any more, and not having to constantly worry about/fix/change your external environment. This is the best bang for the buck (in terms of dollars, time, and energy) of anything out there — like, by orders of magnitude. – Leslie, Oregon (DNRS for MCS)

Have an open mind. Every medical breakthrough started with a lot of pushback and people thinking it was bizarre. Once some time has passed, people accept it more. – Tonya, Florida (DNRS for MCS)

Lesson 1: Let go of shame and blame. I wish the programs started with this lesson, as I see it as the biggest barrier that keeps people from embracing it. If your response to the idea of brain retraining is “this is victim shaming” or “people will think it’s all in my head,” then you have a shame and victim issue to work through. Of course you do! You’ve been victimized by this illness and probably a lot of people along the way. Accept and work through it. I highly recommend Brene Brown and Tara Brach for this. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

Don’t take getting it perfect too seriously. Find ways to adapt the principles that really work for you. Do commit to making the change in yourself, because even though your condition is not all “in your head”, changing your pattern of thinking almost always gets things moving in a freer direction. The important thing is to love yourself no matter what you do. – Ilex, Colorado (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, EHS, lyme, mold)

You really need to fully commit. Do the 1 hour faithfully. Stop your POPs 24/7. Do everything you can to keep your rounds fresh and fun. Have hope. And patience. If you give it 100%, you will start seeing results, which will become its own motivation to keep it up. I also would say – DNRS doesn’t say that “its all in your head,” which turned me off initially. If you engage their ideas more deeply, it’s more about the brain-body connection. We know the brain is the control board for literally everything in the body. Of course we’d never choose to be afraid of fragrances, we’re not weak in mind, we aren’t talking about some sort of failing or choice (which ‘all in the head’ seems to imply). But there’s plenty of evidence that anxiety and stress cause the brain to amp up sensitivities (as a protection mechanism, ironically). And the horrible physical reactions we start to have to things in the environment, and the fear that that very understandably causes, creates a feedback loop that makes the limbic system (and associated physical manifestations) spiral out of control. – Sarah, Oregon (DNRS for MCS, mold)

Just do it now, don’t wait 30 years like I did! – Dina, New Jersey (Gupta for CFS, FMS)

If MCS is affecting your life it is well worth it to take the DNRS or similar course. The sooner the better as the more exposures you experience the more stress you add to the equation and weaker your system becomes over time. I believe the earlier it is dealt with the better and it may be stopped altogether. As our doctors are at a loss dealing with environmental illnesses these retraining courses help you understand MCS and how to deal with it as best as possible. – Steve, British Columbia, Canada (DNRS for MCS)

Have an open mind — It really can work! As a science teacher married to a research scientist, I was very much a skeptic, but now I believe that my years and years of MCS were actually triggered by my brain trying to protect me from the toxins rather than by the toxins themselves — though exposure to those chemicals should still be avoided as they can cause other health issues. – Heather, Wisconsin (DNRS for MCS)

During the retraining process (and leading up to it; i.e. when deciding whether to undertake brain retraining), don’t take your own objections and doubts seriously–that’s just your limbic system resisting change…which it’s doing in a (misguided) effort to protect you, bless its heart. (Bless its heart–but don’t let it stop you!) – Leslie, Oregon (DNRS for MCS)

After trying programs on and off for years with no significant results, I decided to do a computer fast for 2 weeks and focus on brain retraining during that time — doing 2-3 hours of rounds in a row for three days straight, and then less so after that. The reduced EMF exposure allowed my brain to accept the brain retraining and I saw results the very first day! Doing the concentrated practice for 3 days in a row gave my brain the necessary repetition it needed to really dig some deep neural grooves. I was able to wear new clothes and use bedding for the first time in about 7 years. It felt like a miracle! So I always tell people who have been trying without much success, to 1) reduce any potential big exposures (in my case, the daily computer use) and 2) set aside 3 days and do the exercise rounds for 2-3 hours in a row each day. That’s my best advice to start seeing results, and after that your positive results will motivate you to continue. – Julie, (DNRS, Gupta, EFT, FasterEFT for MCS, EHS, mold, lyme)

Take everything with a grain of salt. These programs are not precise mathematical equations, and the people creating them are not experts in everyone’s specific life experience. They are not trauma experts, so take care of yourself if you have major trauma history and feel that you are pushing too hard. Some instructors will claim you “have to” do this and that, or you won’t get well. I’ve seen this create more anxiety and avoidance. Ignore these voices. For every claim like that, you will find someone who healed despite not doing everything perfectly. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

Use of this program WILL change your life. Believe in it. Practice it. Follow it. It will change your life forever. I know you don’t believe it… but you will be SHOCKED at how effective the program is. This program is a CURE that the typical doctor is trying (and failing) to cover up with drugs. The only side effects are a cure, excitement about being cured and getting your life back… can you live with that? – Paul, New York (Gupta for EHS, MCS)

If you are using Dan Neuffer’s ANS Rewire program I would urge you to do the program exactly as he recommends. He knows what he is talking about. I did everything he told me to do and had spectacular results. – Diane, Connecticut (ANS Rewire for CFS/ME + POTS)

Find a practice partner who is as serious about it as you are, so that you have support and accountability. (Accountability is very supportive! Having a partner that you don’t want to let down, so that you do it even when you don’t feel like it, is supportive. Having appointments to practice — with someone other than just yourself — is supportive.) – Leslie, Oregon (DNRS for MCS)

To all the sufferers of the world — listen to me, DNRS works so long as you stick with the daily practice of 6 months. – Bunny, Washington (DNRS for MCS)

Give it a try, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t cure your problem; don’t pin all your hopes on this — it may be part of the picture, but not necessarily the whole story. Continue to explore other approaches. – Peter, Spain (Gupta + DNRS for EHS)

You will get increased anxiety at the start but this is a good sign and will pass. Also just focus on and prioritize the program. Try to follow it exactly but don’t worry if you can’t do 2 meditations daily. It will still work but do as much as you can. The short version works amazing too. This stuff works!! – Sharon, Ireland (Gupta for MCS)

Keep an open mind. Listen and follow all of the instructions to the fullest extent possible, and remember to be kind to yourself, be patient, don’t quit, keep experimenting and don’t forget to pray. – Jeff, Texas (DNRS, then Gupta + Psych-K for MCS)

If you feel “I can’t heal because of ____,” that’s ok. But do knock it off. You may find that a lot of brain retrainers are not facing the same massive challenges that others are. And that can be frustrating and lead to a loss of hope. Some barriers are harder than others, for sure. But even if you have 24/7 dysfunction, have no money, are living with abuse or in toxicity, or have “experts” telling you that this will not work, you can always improve your state by taking out some time and letting your brain experience healing chemistry on a regular basis. You may not be able to recover completely while living with abuse. But you can improve enough to get out of the abuse, and then you can improve more when you are not facing constant triggers and stress. (You will also learn about the abuser’s triggers and can create more peace in the meantime.) Believe in making that next step, if you can’t believe in the end result. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

If you start a program that asks for a specific time commitment, my advice is to do it for the length of time requested. Stick with it even if you don’t see immediate results. If you give a program a good try and it’s not a fit for you, try something else. – Caroline, Ontario, Canada (DNRS for MCS)

During the visualizations, use whatever memories you have that create the biggest surge of endorphins in your body. I would re-live past romances — that moment you tell someone you love them, or right before the first kiss when emotions + feel-good brain chemicals are at a high. Find whatever memories do that for you, and use them over and over again. The deeper you can go into actually reliving those experiences on a visceral level, the better. I also would force myself to smile as often as possible – when we smile the brain produces certain feel-good neurotransmitters (like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin) that aid in the brain retraining process. I would go to sleep with smile on my face, I would smile anytime I started reacting to a trigger. – Julie, (DNRS, Gupta, EFT, FasterEFT for MCS, EHS, mold, lyme)

My advice to anyone doing DNRS is to do it during a time of low stress. Avoid triggers as much as possible and avoid toxic people as much as possible. Do the program for at least 6 months for best results. Longer if needed. – Sarah, Arizona (DNRS for MCS, mold, anxiety)

Read Norman Doidge’s books, especially chapters 1 and 2 of The Brain’s Way of Healing. Use the forums to help you stay on track. Work with a coach and be willing to change coaches if you don’t see any improvement. You have to be alert to your brain telling you the program isn’t working and consistently challenge those thoughts. – Lina, Arizona (Gupta + now DNRS for CFS, chronic lyme)

Take care of your body as well as your brain. Trauma and stress can be stored in the body, not only as a limbic loop. Addressing both simultaneously can do wonders. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

Don’t quit, even if you don’t believe it will work. – Robin, New Mexico (Gupta + DNRS for MCS)

Don’t just practice one program. Be open minded to incorporate other programs that suit you like FasterEFT and TRE and be consistent. – Vera, Ontario, Canada (FasterEFT for MCS)

No matter how weird it feels, just keep moving forward. – SeaCrone, Florida (DNRS for Lyme, MCS, CFS)

Join a group of others who are practicing. Drop the negative “support” groups. Pay attention to the role of oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Use it to your advantage. Again, drop the shame in the groups. Allow others to point out the triggers, POPs, and negativity that you don’t see. The Gupta support group on Planet Thrive was integral in my growth and healing. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

It is important to understand that brain retraining principles and techniques do not imply that MCS or other syndromes are “all in your head” and that central sensitization is physiologically based. It is important to find health care providers who understand this and are not dismissive. – Peggy L, Wisconsin (DNRS for MCS, EHS)

Please know the power of your brain. Doctors do not! – Marie, Louisiana (Gupta + DNRS for MCS)

Practice radical open mindedness and a know-nothing mind. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

For most people, I would recommend getting to a seminar — even if it’s REALLY hard, financially or logistically or health-wise; the support and immersion of the seminar setting is very helpful in getting over the initial energy of activation and getting on the road to recovery. I didn’t think I could do it (“I’ve had it too long….” “Yeah, some people are getting better, but I’ll bet my case is more resistant than theirs….” “It’s going to be too hard to get there/be there/ do that…,” etc.) — but I could do it, and I did. And it WAS hard, but it was more worth doing than anything else I have done in a fairly long life that’s been pretty full of interesting pursuits and accomplishments. I am more happy to have done this recovery process, than any other thing I have ever done. I am more proud to have done this (despite my own internal objections, at first; and despite the severity of my illness, and how long it had gone on, and how tired and discouraged I was when I started) than anything else I have ever done. Don’t let yourself talk yourself out of it. This is the real deal; this is what it takes to get better. And getting better is the best feeling–ever! One that I wish for everyone in need who is reading this…. – Leslie, Oregon (DNRS for MCS)

Use this as an opportunity to grow spiritually. Look forward to many epiphanies about your life. I was overly left brained and confused as to what “spirituality” even meant in my former life. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

Go to it hard from the get go cause the longer you do it the harder it is to keep your mojo. Use a coach. Make a 6 month commitment. – Laurie, California (DNRS + Gupta for MCS, mold)

Have adequate emotional support. – Sati, South Carolina (DNRS for MCS, EHS)

Do not just “try” the program. It literally took me months of working hard every day, even when I was bedridden, before I made any noticeable progress. I have heard that others seem to get results much faster. For me I really felt this program was my last chance at having any sort of recovering my health and my life. I was determined to be calm and patient with myself. I felt like I had to literally start life over again from scratch. It was so worth the effort! – Peter, California (ANS Rewire for CFS/ME + FMS)

Find compassion for yourself and others. Fill your mind with books, lectures, meditations, and conversations that train your thoughts in that direction. – Jeny, Texas (Gupta + DNRS for MCS, CFS, FMS, EHS, mold)

If you start to find the monotony + repetitive nature of the exercises excruciating (like I did, after trying on and off for five years!), you can eventually just use real life to brain retrain. I moved away from the safety of my MCS community and put myself in new situations daily, forcing myself to expand my perception of my own limitations. It was a wonderful adventure! – Julie, (DNRS, Gupta, EFT, FasterEFT for MCS, EHS, mold, lyme)

Brain retraining revisited: A follow-up survey
How long before you see results from brain retraining?
How brain retraining changes lives
The challenges of brain retraining
Advice from brain retrainers
Would you recommend brain retraining to others?

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