Dynamic Neural Retraining

What to Do When Hypersensitivity
Goes Too Far

What does Dynamic Neural Retraining have to so with sensitive skincare?   Actually, quite a bit, if you have become so hypersensitive to everything that you can no longer function. 

Or, if your health (and as a result your skin condition) continues on a downward spiral despite every kind of possible medical, alternative healthcare, or energy medicine treatment ... 

When healthy eating, cleansing, exercising, home remedies, detoxification, and even prayer and spiritual healing do not help.

When you have tried everything and simply cannot find a solution, then perhaps you are looking in the wrong place for your answer!

My journey started in the summer of 2014 when I found myself sleeping in a tent, unable to live in my own home. 

My Nightmare

First, let me just say that before this whole ordeal, I was reeling from the effects of a deer tick bite in 2013 which had led to joint pain, inflammation, extreme chronic fatigue, infections and 14 months of antibiotics. 

This is where I was BEFORE I ended up in the tent.

My troubles started after some work was done on our master bathroom.  The company said it used only non-toxic ingredients, however the second day into the work,  we noticed chemical odors in house and especially the entire upstairs.

I thought that this would dissipate over a few days, and we aired out the rooms, used fans and air purifiers, but I actually found myself getting more sensetitized to all chemical smells!

I started feeling sick after opening up a trash bag, or when I purchased something new from a store.   Everything I touched or used had some kind of chemical smell! 

Going out had it's own problems, as suddenly stores and restaurants were overwhelming places filled with chemical and fragrance smells that made me feel sick and unable to breathe.

That was very scary, and I started to panic, remembering all those stories I've read about people who had become so chemically sensitive that they needed to move to the desert and live in a trailer. 

After several weeks of living outdoors and having to wear a breathing mask in the house, we consulted with an Environmental Home Specialist and set about doing a number of different things to remove VOC's and chemicals from the rooms.

We used fans, air purifiers, carbon filters, permanganate, zeolite, and finally a Sanuvox UV light air purifier.  We washed everything including the carpets, multiple times.

I kept trying to spend time in the room, but I'd develop chest pain, heat in my chest, burning eyes, and a chemical taste in my mouth and rashes on my skin.

I love nature, and it can be very healing to sleep outdoors occasionally, but it really wasn't a sustainable on a daily basis.  Some nights the thunderstorms or the frogs outside would be so loud, I would have to come indoors and sleep in the basement. 

That had it's own problems, as the fold out couch had a chemical smell, and of course the air quality in the basement was not great.   My back and neck hurt from the uncomfortable mattress, and I had difficulty sleeping there which added to my misery.  I had to take sleep aids which produced headaches.

I purchased a carbon blanket and used Myalar emergency blankets to keep myself away from the chemical offgassing of the couch, and got another air purifier for the basement. 

My Search for a Solution

I was so overwhelmed and frightened that I began researching everything I could about multiple chemical sensitivity.  I had been moderately sensitive to fragrances and chemicals for quite a while, but I'd never been in such a state of simply reacting to everything!

I discovered that often the onset of a chemical sensitivity can appear after a chemical exposure or other stressors.  I certainly had already had my hands full with a number of other chronic health challenges, even before the chemical problem started.  Perhaps they were related?

Most of what I read about healing from multiple chemical sensitivity had to do with avoidance of chemicals, and strengthening the body's detoxification systems.  Since I'd already been doing this quite extensively, I didn't see how I could do any more!

The Answer Was Not What I Expected

One day when searching on the internet I discovered the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, also known as DNRS.  They have a completely different approach, one that I had never considered.  They consider multiple chemical sensitivity to be a limbic system impairment. 

Although this sounded strange to me, as I had been focusing on removing toxins, this was the first real sense of hope that I felt about any possibility of recovering. 

One the one hand, I felt an intuitive sense of truth about their approach, even though I didn't really believe that it would work for me.

Dynamic Neural Retraining was developed by Annie Hopper, a successful professional counselor with a thriving practice who became severely ill with multiple chemical sensitivity and electric hypersensitivity syndrome after her office building was renovated. 

None of the medical or alternative healthcare approaches that she tried were able to help her. At the worse of her illness she was living alone on a houseboat, with no real hope of getting better. 

During this very dark time, she had an intuition that her problem was related to brain functioning, and she ended up doing a great deal of research on neuroplasticity.   From this she created a program of limbic system rehabilitation for herself.

Amazingly, within several days of practicing her new program, she began to notice improvements, and eventually over many months she fully recovered. 

She began teaching others her method, and as more and more people have found success with the program, she began training facilitators and traveling to do live workshops.

My Super-Skeptical Start

I read every page of the Dynamic Neural Retraining site, watched all the videos and then learned more about other people's experience with the program.  I felt integrity in the people offering the work, and the whole idea made sense to me...

BUT ... I really didn't think it would work for me! Most of my health challenges have appeared to have no medical solution, and have stuck with me for years and years.

After thousands of medical and alternative healthcare treatments, drugs, herbs, homeopathic remedies, crystal remedies, spiritual healing, bodywork sessions, acupuncture, etc. etc. etc. ... I really didn't have much hope left.

I can't describe to you the despair I felt, as I watched what little I had of my life slipping away. 

Finally, after a great deal of research and prayer, I felt that I had no choice but to try the program and see for myself.  Their DVD training program offered a 6 month money back guarantee, that if you didn't see some improvement they would refund your cost.  That helped me to feel comfortable to try it.

Initial Experiences With the Dynamic Neural Retraining DVD

Thankfully it was summer, so I sat outside with my laptop to start the course on June 1, 2014.  They recommended that you immerse yourself in the course by focusing on it for four entire days, but I could not do this because I was living in a state of crisis. 

In addition to being unable to tolerate being indoors for any length of time, I was completely exhausted and had difficulty completing even the most basic of daily living tasks, not to mention my work responsibilities. 

I had multiple healthcare appointments, ongoing consults with our Environmental Consultant, family emergencies that needed my attention, and if that weren't enough, one of my cats became very sick and had to go the emergency vet hospital. 

Even with this rocky and very un-optimal beginning, I did notice some changes right away after starting the program.  Here are some excerpts from my Recovery Journal. 

  • June 5, 2014 - Finally learned the steps of Day One enough to do them without looking at the video or book.  I felt something click inside of me that felt very good.  My husband noticed that I looked good.  I felt stronger.  I practiced for an hour or more and committed to practicing daily.
  • June 6, 2014 - Able to be in the house without a mask and not react with fear when I felt the lung inflammation.
  • June 24, 2014 - Amazing experience in the checkout line at the supermarket.  I ended up in my least favorite line, the one that has a display of scented soaps.  Usually this causes me to cough and need to put on a mask.  Today I hardly noticed it!  I was thrilled!  Still not sure if they changed the soap to one that was less strong, but I felt really excited and motivated!

Incremental Improvements

By July of 2014 I was seeing many exciting improvements, so that I could spent some time indoors without a mask, but I was still running into a brick wall of symptoms anytime I tried to use the upstairs.   Thankfully, the weather was still warm, but I knew that sleeping outdoors for the long term was simply not an option.

I availed myself of all of the supports that the DVD training program offered, including the DNRS discussion forum, which is available to all course graduates.  They recommend training for a full 6 months to see the maximum benefits, but I really needed to progress much sooner, since I didn't have many options available past September!

My intuitive guidance kept telling me that I needed to attend an in-person Dynamic Neural Retraining workshop.   Whenever I would hear this gentle whisper of inner guidance, I immediately rejected it.  I just couldn't imagine how I could make it happen, given how completely overwhelmed I felt.

"It's too expensive, I can't travel, I should be able to do this on my own" etc. etc. etc... "

These and more objections came up over and over again, until I received a clear intuitive message that the workshop would really help me.

I realized that I had no other options that I could perceive.  I had searched and searched for months, and even found other limbic retraining options, but none that I felt good about and that had the high level of integrity and professionalism that I felt from the DNRS program.

So, with a mixture of hope and skepticism, I went ahead and registered.  The next upcoming program was offered in a beautiful location, but it was a 14 hour plane ride!  

I was very worried about how I would manage the travel, not to mention the ever increasing debt from the already huge burden of expense that I had incurred from dealing with multiple chemical sensitivity.

The DNRS Workshop

After a very long journey that resembled "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", including a harrowing mad dash through customs and security to make a connecting flight (unbelievably, the airline had allotted me only 50 minutes to go through a huge airport and an even longer line at customs!) I finally made it to the last leg of my journey, on a small plane that flew over the most unbelievably beautiful ocean of British Columbia. 

The incredible peace of the ocean enveloped me, and I was so grateful to have arrived that I was only mildly upset to learn that the airline had lost my luggage!  I arrived for the workshop a day early, and since I had no luggage to unpack,  I had plenty of time to visit the ocean and hand wash my clothing! 

New and Bigger Shifts

Fast forward to the day of the workshop, thankfully my luggage arrived later that afternoon, and I had the great pleasure of meeting the creator of the program Annie Hopper, her co-facilitator Candy, their delightful trainer in training from Finland Tina, and 13 participants of the group.  I was amazed that several of the group felt familiar to me, even though we hadn't met!

The first session was difficult for me, as it started in the early evening (I was already jet lagged, beyond exhausted and stressed out) and I had difficult sitting in the room.  I had to leave early, but on the second day, we started the DNRS practice, and it was then that I started to feel a change.

I already knew the Dynamic Neural Retraining steps from my DVD training, but it was very different to do the practice with the coaches and my fellow participants.  Each time one of my fellow students practiced, I felt the benefits of the practice in my own body.  I felt the strength of each member of the group, and somehow this seemed to strengthen me!

Our first homework exercise of the second day, we practiced the first 6 steps of the DNRS practice.  I immediately felt a shift directly in my body and nervous system.  I don't have words for it, except that I knew something important was happening.  That night, I found that I was no longer reacting to the chemical smells in some new scarves that I had brought.  I also was not tired!

On the third day of the workshop, I felt another large scale shift when our coach led each one of us in the group through one full round of the training steps. 

It was profound, and yet I have no words for the experience.  I felt my whole body and nervous system somehow "getting it" and having some kind of breakthrough.  It was beyond words, but I definitely felt different. I noticed that I was not fatigued, and if I felt tired in the afternoon, doing the practice steps actually energized me.

It was also quite exciting to experience the shifts that my fellow participants were experiencing.  One woman who arrived unable to walk up the steps on the first day, was walking up the steps by the third!

The last day of the workshop seemed to arrive quickly, and I was amazed at how much had changed for me in such a short time.  Here I am on the last day of the workshop!  Thanks to one of my dear friends from the group who took this photo!

After the DNRS Workshop

My journey back home was quite different than the one I took to get there.  Here is an excerpt from my Recovery Journal.

  • August 18, 2014 - I breezed through the perfume shop at the airport (was every perfume in Canada there?!) with no reactions at all!  When I arrived home to my local airport, someone was standing there with a sign that said "Turning Point"!    On one of my flights, I was seated next to a woman who was literally starting a whole new life.  I am feeling  great, spending time in rooms that previously triggered me!
  • August 23, 2014 - Reduced reaction to chemicals in clothes, able to use plastic bags again, able to sleep in my room again!!!

My recovery process had a lot of ups and downs, which is part of the process for almost everyone.  I had some setbacks and needed to go back to sleeping in the tent for a few more weeks. 

  • August 28, 2014 -  I became extremely overreactive to chemical smells, beyond my earliest starting point.  Practicing resulted in more sensitivity.  The last two steps of the practice produced nausea and headaches.  

At this point I got a bit panicked, but I kept practicing the Dynamic Neural Retraining steps.  I found it very helpful to practice with some of my friends from the workshop.  That seemed to help me to move beyond the setback. 

I also had a DNRS coaching session, which made a huge difference in helping me to adapt my practice to the changing needs of my recovery process.

By mid-September, I was finally able to sleep in my room again, and stay there!!  After this, I was able to return to work!!

I continued practicing the steps to help address some of my other symptoms that I consider 'secondary' issues, since while challenging, they are not as debilitating as the multiple chemical sensitivity.

I am so deeply grateful to have my life back, and for the tremendous support and training that Annie Hopper and her coaches provided to me and the many other people who are recovering from multiple chemical sensitivity and other related conditions. 

Is It For You?  Benefits and Drawbacks

Realistically, the Dynamic Neural Retraining program is a lot of work.  It's not a quick fix, even though some people do have more rapid recoveries. 

It requires discipline to learn the practice, and apply the principles to your daily life.

You have to REALLY want to get better, and to do everything in your power to focus in that direction.

You will need to train for at least an hour a day for 6 months, or perhaps sooner if you recover more quickly.

Once your brain is retrained, you don't need to continue the practice unless you find yourself getting over-sensitized again.

The benefits to the program are pretty obvious ... they have a phenomenal success rate.  Close to 90% of the people who do the training experience some improvement.

Another huge benefit is that the training steps become something that you can do for yourself, any time that you need help. 

You are not dependent on healthcare practitioners, which is very empowering to those of us who have lived through the seemingly endless arrays of appointments that come with having health challenges.

Starting with the DVD training is a great start, and for some people that is enough to help them recover completely. 

Others, like myself, will benefit from the immersion that comes from being in a live group and training with the experts.

I was extremely impressed by the Annie Hopper and her co-facilitator Candy Widdifield, who exemplified the perfect balance of so many qualities that brought out the best in each one of us. 

I experienced their compassion, wisdom, heart, clarity, humor, firmness, discipline, professionalism, along with their extensive  knowledge of the brain and the miracle of neuroplasticity that science is now discovering.

They know exactly what we are going through because they have been there too... and they have fully recovered using the DNRS practice.   I found them incredibly expert in helping each one of us to find exactly what we needed to get the most out of the practice.

Once you've completed the DVD or in-person course, you have access to the online members community, which allows you to share and connect with others who are retraining. 

If you attended a live training, you'll have an additional private group to share with your fellow participants. 

I found it very helpful to do the DNRS practice steps with my fellow workshop participants for the first few months after our workshop.  I felt very strengthened and supported by this.

The one thing that I feel is missing from their program is a support series for those of us that need a refresher, or who are training for a longer period of time. 

They do offer individual coaching, but I feel that many participants could use some ongoing group support.  They do have a weekly series in the planning stages, but at the time of this writing it is not available yet.

I hope that my experience has been helpful to you.  If you are finding that chronic, inflammatory skin and health conditions are becoming overwhelming, the DNRS program may be helpful to you in stopping the downward cycle of chronic inflammation.

With blessings and much love,

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