Brain retraining and neuroplasticity has been, hands down, the tool that has provided me the greatest health benefits. I still use many of these techniques daily.
I think that anyone who has experienced a period of chronic ill health would benefit from these kinds of approaches, and I am aware of many people who have completely healed from their chronic illnesses, including Lyme, from brain retraining alone.
Brain retraining involves becoming aware of negative illness-related thoughts and beliefs, and using specific techniques to train the brain’s attention away from those thoughts. This is typically combined with visualising health, and other tools to calm the nervous system, such as meditation, mindfulness and pacing. These programmes are not implying that chronic illnesses are all in our heads. Rather, the theory is that chronic illness is caused and maintained by excessive stress to the nervous system, which increases vulnerability to all kinds of chronic conditions, including chronic infections because the immune system becomes impaired.
The two biggest brain retraining programmes for chronic illness that I know of are:
- The Gupta Programme. Originally designed for CFS/ME, but has now been successfully used for lots of chronic conditions include Lyme and coinfections, fibromyalgia, IBS, PTSD etc. The cost of the programme is, compared to many treatments, very reasonable and you really do get a lot of resources for the price, including a 12-week live webinar series with the founder Ashok Gupta, which I found to be invaluable. There are also live events that you can attend. I never did this, but imagine they would be pretty powerful. This was the programme I signed up for in 2018. I implemented the techniques fully for about 8 months, during which time I saw a lot of improvements both physically and emotionally. I still use elements of this programme.
- Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS). I have not used this programme personally, but I understand it is very similar to the Gupta programme and have heard many success stories.
Some other tools that involve brain retraining/neuroplasticity are:
- Joe Dispenza’s work. His principles are highly aligned with those of the Gupta Programme and DNRS. He has written books on the subject of neuroplasticity, some of which include CDs with exercises to practice. He also has YouTube videos and meditations available on his website. My favourite book of his is “You are the Placebo”. He also offers live events and again, I know of people who have found these events hugely healing.
- The Power of Belief – book by Dr Bruce Lipton
- The Brain’s Way of Healing – book by Norman Doidge
- The documentary “Heal” – available on Netflix.
- The Women’s Wellness Circle. Website and facebook community (@thewomenswellnesscircle). Webinars, interviews, meditations and other resources to support healing of the mind and body. Two of the Women’s Wellness Circle coaches are also coaches for the Gupta Programme, which was how I found it.