A few years ago, I had a patient in Australia who was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, an illness that impacts every cell and organ system of the body. She was a teenager, and her parents were concerned about the long-term treatments for Lyme, especially with antibiotic therapy. Having heard a good report of another teenager with a very similar symptom picture using Annie Hopper’s Dynamic Neural Retraining System to recover from her illness, this teenager and her family opted for Annie Hopper’s program as well, in place of more traditional treatment regimens. Guess what? She got well.
Of course, we all hear of one system that worked for one person, and to be honest, it kind of went off my radar. But recently I’m hearing more and more positive reports about the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, and so now I’m learning more about it and talking with more of my patients about it.
What is the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS)?
We all know that the brain is the central computer for our body, and that problems with the wiring in our brain can cause many issues in our body – issues that appear as physical symptoms, not just issues with thoughts and emotions (although it impacts those too).
DNRS is based on the premise that in chronic illness, the limbic system of our brain gets into a state of dysfunction. The neural networks get disorganized, which causes rapid and inappropriate firing of neurons. This in turns leads to a chronic stress response, that can lead to a myriad of symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Emotional imbalances
- Sensory disorders
- Cognitive deficits
- Chronic inflammatory states
- Poor memory
- Digestive issues
- Lowered energy
- Chronic pain
- Chemical sensitivity
In her presentation at the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which you can access via YouTube here, Annie Hopper describes how external stressors can contribute to this limbic system dysregulation, including chronic infections such as Lyme disease, mold toxicity, chemical sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity and so on. This helps us to see how chronic illness can provide the impetus for dysregulation, but the symptoms we relate to it can also be a result of limbic system dysregulation.
Annie also describes how emotional trauma and negative emotional states can contribute to limbic system dysfunction. She is clear to point out, that she is not saying that chronic illnesses are “all in one’s head” as some people have been told. More than neurons relating to unhealthy thought patterns and prior emotional traumas can get tangled up with the neurons that regulate our bodily functions. And thus the importance of working to untangle those things is paramount.
I am a firm believer that chronic illness can cause its own version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I believe that this program could be pivotal for people to untangle those stuck neurons and get their brains working for them in more health-promoting and productive ways.
Annie Hopper’s program is based on the concept of neuroplasticity. This means that the brain is capable of rewiring itself when given the right environment and the right prompting. “Neurons that fire together wire together”. We can use that to strengthen healthy neural pathways, or unhealthy neural pathways. For example, repeating negative thoughts will strengthen unhappy neural pathways, and make it that much harder to feel positive about one’s self and one’s life.
Similarly, using specific systems to retrain the brain towards health will then promote health. Using DNRS to rewire the limbic system from a dysfunctional to a functional state, allows the body to get out of the chronic stress response and back to the parasympathetic state, which is required for true healing to occur.
I highly recommend you listen to Annie’s presentation at the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. You will notice that she refers to the benefit of DNRS for patient’s with multiple chemical sensitivity – because that’s the most relevant to the audience she’s speaking to. But she does point out, that you could insert “Lyme disease” or “mold toxicity” or any number of disease processes, and the way it works would be the same.
Again – the link is here. Or search Annie Hopper AAEM on YouTube.
The program itself is a step-by-step process that involves visual, spatial, movement, language and emotional restructuring exercises. There are in-person retreats where this is taught over a 5-day period. For those who are not able to go in person, one can purchase the DVD set with the course taught in it, to watch at home. There is also an audio-only version for people who cannot use TVs or computers.
The DNRS website is here – www.dnrsystem.com.
I think this is fascinating, and I’ve heard enough positive feedback on the program now to really pay attention and learn more about it. I am recommending it especially to people who feel that there is a large emotional/traumatic element to their illness, and for those who struggle with significant cognitive and emotional symptoms. I’m also recommending it to patients who experience POTS-type presentations as part of their chronic illness, given that several of the case studies I’ve heard have cause massive improvements in those symptoms.
I feel that if we can get the brain wiring untangled, for want of a better word, then it makes sense that every system in the body is going to function better. Science is showing that we can rewire our brain circuitry and is giving us some great tools to facilitate this process. I’m excited to see what this program can do for many more people.
If you have done Annie Hopper’s DNRS program, or if you choose to do it in the future, please let me know – I’d love to hear other people’s experiences of it.
I’ll be chatting more about this in The Naturopathic Mama Community group on Facebook so make sure to join us there too.