This blog is meant to be a clearinghouse for those interested in exploring the potential of brain exercises based on the concept of neural plasticity to heal chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia, chemical and electrical sensitivity, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and related conditions. We will post articles, web resources, and other information to help keep you on top of the latest developments in this exciting field. Sign up for email notifications to be the first to know about new posts on our site.
The concept of brain plasticity is relatively new; it has only been about twenty years since neuroscientists discovered that the brain is not hard wired for life, and that we are constantly growing new neuronal pathways throughout adulthood and into old age, with parts of our brain capable of taking over the functions of other unrelated parts. This discovery has completely transformed the field of stroke rehabilitation and phantom limb pain. Patients who lose the use of a limb after a stroke can now use therapies based on the concept of neuroplasticity to regain use of that limb. Another groundbreaking discovery was made by neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, who discovered a way to perform “phantom limb surgery” on amputees who have endured years of “phantom limb pain” by fooling the brain to create new neuronal circuitry that resets the pain signals coming from the missing limb. Inspirational stories of real people overcoming extreme physical challenges using therapies based on simple brain plasticity concepts fill the book components of a thesis paper The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D., a must-read for anyone interested in this topic. Now programs with immensely exciting potential are being developed to help those with biotoxin illnesses and other disease processes initiated by neurotoxic injuries.
The theory behind some of these therapies, such as the Gupta Amygdala Retraining™ Program (ART) and Annie Hopper’s online creative writing certificate Dynamic Neural Retraining System™ (DNRS™), is that there is a class of related illnesses that are catalyzed by an acquired neurotoxic injury to the brain centers that control our responses to perceived threats, whether they be viral, bacterial, fungal, chemical, immunological, physical, or other types of threats. These areas of the brain are located in the limbic system. A hallmark symptom of these illnesses is an overactive amygdala, stuck in “overdrive” and creating increased electrical activity in the brain. The overactive amygdala keeps us in a state of emergency, and various systems in the body – our detoxification system, our immune system, etc. – are tamped down in order to focus on the emergency at hand. Our ability to detoxify environmental toxins becomes compromised, and we can quickly become virtual hazardous waste sites, overflowing with multiple bacterial, viral, fungal, chemical, and immunological assaults which are extremely challenging to manage.
Certain disease processes appear to correlate to the type of injury incurred; chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is commonly associated with viral injury, fibromyalgia is often precipitated by a physical trauma – such as a car accident, chemical sensitivity is often induced by a chemical injury (including by neurotoxins with a structure very similar to certain synthetic chemicals produced by toxic mold, or by pathogenic bacteria like the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete that causes lyme disease).
Once the original brain injury is received, repeated fight or flight responses to the new distressing and destabilizing symptoms further entrench the neuronal pathways set up during the injury. The patient finds himself falling further and further into a hellish black void where multi-organ symptoms mysteriously increase, pushing many towards total disability. With regard to chemical, electrical and other environmental sensitivities, a process of sensitization often occurs where the sufferer will find himself reacting to more and more classes of substances (e.g., synthetic fragrances, smoke, pesticides, etc.) which increasingly limits the quality of life of the individual.
The brain retraining programs help us to “rewire” our brains, creating new, healthy neuronal pathways to take over previously damaged functions. We learn how to send our subconscious mind new messages about how to react to perceived threats like chemicals, mold, and electromagnetic fields. We train our limbic system to be at rest when not faced with real emergencies. Our detoxification, immune and other body systems return to normal function. This is the basic premise behind these programs.
We are the pioneers. Let’s make history together!!
We do not claim that brain retraining is a “cure” for any of these conditions. We do believe that healing is possible, on many levels and to various degrees, and that brain retraining and related therapies hold immense promise for symptom improvement and enhanced quality of life for millions of sufferers, at minimal cost. There will be many of you that disagree and we only ask that you keep dialogue in the comments sections of our website civilized and respectful. We welcome impassioned debate but will not tolerate personal attacks of any kind.
This website is a stand-alone satellite site of PlanetThrive.com, an online community for people recovering from chronic environmentally based illnesses like lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia, chemical injury, and mold illness. There has been so much interest in brain retraining programs for these related health conditions since we presented the information to our readers several years ago, that we decided the topic deserved it’s own site where it could be fully fleshed out and explored. We hope you enjoy the resources we provide.
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