In my chronic illness journey, I have been diagnosed with many things including: ehlers-danlos syndrome (EDS), dysautonomia / POTS, chiari malformation, intracranial hypertension, gastroparesis, and chronic lyme disease. At my worst, I was bed-bound and barely surviving. For years, I went down the western medicine route and tried all sorts of treatments, medications, and surgeries (I had 5 brain/neurosurgeries). While some provided temporary relief, nothing I tried brought me true healing or significantly improved quality of life.
About a month ago, I started a brain retraining program called DNRS—which stands for Dynamic Neural Retrain System—to help to heal from my chronic illnesses. DNRS uses principles of neuroplasticity (meaning the brains ability to change) to help your body get out of the constant "survival state" state that it gets stuck in with chronic illness.
This "fight or flight" or "survival state" makes it almost impossible for those with chronic illness to heal, because our brain is so focused on the "eminent threat" that all other important bodily functions are put on the back-burner. Our gastrointestinal system, our respiratory system, our autonomic nervous system, our endocrine system, our vascular system, our immune system...essentially every system in our bodies can become seriously affected. No wonder so many people with chronic illness have systemic symptoms.
When I first heard about DNRS, I was skeptical. I thought to myself "I don't think it's possible to help such a serious illness through retraining my brain". I wish I had looked into it further at the time, but I'm really glad I finally decided to give it a try years later. Once I learned the science behind it, I knew it was something I needed to try.
Our brains have an incredible ability to heal our bodies—it just can be difficult to access, especially in situations of severe chronic illness. Unfortunately, modern medicine doesn't give us the right tools for this.
DNRS is based upon principles of neuroplasticity, which basically means our brains have the ability to change. Though I can't share all the details of the DNRS program here, it involves a lot of visualization, elevating state of emotion, and redirecting negative thought patterns. It requires a daily commitment of one hour of "practice" where you go through brain retraining steps and engage in visualizations where you are healthy, physically strong, and happy.
In these daily visualizations, you focus on past memories (before you became ill) and future memories (when you are recovered). Because the brain doesn't know the difference between visualization and reality, this consistent repetition of visualizations starts to create new pathways in the brain. Creating these new pathways start to signal to the brain that it's "safe", which leads to us to a parasympathetic state where our bodies can finally start to heal.
DNRS isn't the only brain retraining program, but its the one I chose to start with in my journey to healing. The main reason I chose DNRS over other programs really was because I was able to find more success stories with DNRS than with some of the others. But that doesn't mean you can't have just as much success with another program/method.
I read Annie Hopper's book "Wired For Healing" and listened to some of her podcasts to get an idea of what the program might be like (Annie is the creator of DNRS). It resonated with me, so I went for it, and I'm really glad I did.
The DNRS website has lots of information on the program and testimonials. A few other limbic system retraining programs I considered were The Gupta Program or ANS Rewire. At some point, I plan to try the Gupta Program just to compare and see if I can glean anything helpful/insightful from it. Gupta has some free meditations available on his app which I have enjoyed!
So far, DNRS has brought me a lot of progress in many aspects of my life. Thankfully, when I started I had already done a lot of healing (through the carnivore diet, mindset work, etc) and was in a more "stable" place health wise. Though I'd say at that point, I was still only about 5% of where I was before becoming sick.
In the first few weeks of DNRS, I went from walking to the end of my driveway for the first time to walking an entire mile. I now walk a mile almost every day and I'm consistently improving symptom and functionality wise. I truly believe that I'm healing and that I'm going to get my life back. I wrote in my journal the other day, "It doesn't feel unbearable to be awake anymore". I'm really starting to see glimpses of living rather than just surviving. And what a miracle and blessing that is.
I have so much more progress to share, but I'll leave that for my next update! Just know that I'm so thankful I decided to give DNRS a try. For me it has been worth every penny and then some. I'm really starting to dream again and it feels good!
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