A Psychotherapist Reviews Ashtok Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining Program – by Tamara Lewis


A Psychotherapist Reviews Ashtok Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining Program – by Tamara Lewis

There’s been a lot of interest, and of course questions, in the CFIDS community about this new form of treatment called Amygdala Retraining by Ashtok Gupta. I have listened to the DVDs and employed some of the techniques over the last three months and would like to share my thoughts about it. I am a psychotherapist of 20+ years and also taught psychology classes at a Seattle graduate program for 4 years, so I bring professional training to my review. I have also had CFIDS for 18 years and have achieved about 75% recovery.

Tamara LewisFirst I want to say that I like Ashtok. He is sincere, very positive, encouraging and a CFIDS survivor himself. His enthusiasm is contagious-and I am a hard sell. He is a kind and patient teacher.

My first question mark when listening to his introduction was about what a relatively short time he had (yes, past tense-so a second question mark went up in my mind). I wondered if he had the same depth of brain injury and debilitation that those of us who have suffered much longer have. But listening to his experience, it does sound like he had CFIDS. But are treatment approaches more effective for people who are in the early stages? The jury is out, but I do think that is likely true. I believe that the earlier people accept their diagnosis, the seriousness of the illness, make dramatic lifestyle changes and begin effective treatments, the greater the likelihood that their arch of illness will be much shorter. As the CFIDS Association once said, “The longer you have it, the longer you are going to have it.” To which I’ve said: “Ugh.”

Regardless, Ashtok has done his homework and has packaged a comprehensive and well thought out treatment program. There has been some negative reaction among the community that he is an “entrepreneur.” So what! What is wrong with innovators wanting to make a living off of their innovation?. I want to make a living as a singer/songwriter and no one would think there is anything wrong with that. Also, Ashtok spent a lot of money producing a quality DVD and he keeps it very affordable. Right now you can get it for about $200. A steal.

Also, this man has put his money where his mouth is: he offers a money back guarantee if after 6 months you are not satisfied with your experience with the program. Because I am in the public eye as a singer/songwriter, I am often interviewed about my path from illness to music. I always take the opportunity to educate the public about CFIDS and to speak honestly about the suffering due to both symptoms and people’s unwitting cruelty due to ignorance and fear. Ashtok saw an article about me in a UK publication and contacted me in order to offer his program to me for free with hopes that I might some day speak about my experience with it-”no strings attached, however.” That certainly shows how much he believes in his product as it just as easily could have turned out that I would go public with an unfavorable critique. But that is not my conclusion.

Over my years with CFIDS, I have used many of the techniques he is teaching, so many elements are not new to me. However, the comprehensive way he offers a synthesis of approaches is worth the money to anyone who has not developed any or even just a few of it’s disciplines.

The first thing he teaches about is from, what you would call in my business, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am unclear why some of his literature says that his approach is not CBT. CBT includes what is called Thought Stopping. Ashtok teaches people to be aware of their anxious, negative or even destructive thought patterns about the illness that he believes serve to keep the up-regulated brain in over-drive, and then consciously stop those thoughts, “stop, stop, stop.” I certainly agree with him that there are stress hormones racing through our bodies much of the time and that the source of this is a dysregulation in the brain. I learned from Ashtok that the part of the brain that is damaged is called the amygdala. Prior to his program I assumed the brain injury was permanent damage, but part of his program is his heartfelt belief that this can be retrained and corrected. I don’t know if this is true. I hope he is right, but I do feel skeptical. Let me repeat: I hope he is right and he clearly believes it is absolutely possible.

After saying “stop, stop, stop,” Ashtok adds the other steps of his protocol a full protocol with what my business would call Cognitive Restructuring. He believes that changing these thoughts rewires the brain. Also for any of you familiar with “the secret” and other paradigms of thought consciousness, you will recognize that one aspect of his paradigm is about the power of thought.
This is not to blame the victim. No one wants to be sick or goes looking for it. But shouldn’t we pull out all of the stops to seek improvement?

The next step in the core of his protocol is visualization of being well. This can be a tough one if symptoms are crushing and also if you have had the illness a heartbreaking number of years. However, I do believe in the power of visualizing. At the very least it can turn around your mood afterwards and can instill an image of the possibility of a brighter future. After all, the CFIDS Association has always maintained that “most people get better over time.” But Ashtok takes it one step further and says his program can speed up the recovery process. And while I am skeptical, he also states that CFIDS can be healed. Only time and the dedication of PWC’s will tell.

He offers other valuable stress management and relaxation techniques such as a yoga breathing and mindfulness meditation. He believes both of these things help correct the brains dysfunction. I think he could be right.

The form of meditation he teaches is also called Insight Mediation or the Indian word for it, Vipassana. I have studied and practiced this form of meditation for many years and can speak to its value. One thing it can help with is to increase our awareness of how we clench our bodies and how to let go. This can lead to us being more fully in our bodies and increase attunement and paradoxically show us that we are more than just our bodies.

Also of tremendous value, which he does not speak to as much, is that meditation increases our insight (hence the name) of our thought patterns. I learned that most of my mind’s time went toward “remembering (mournful thoughts), worrying or planning, depending on which stage of recovery I was in. So, this discipline can then help us be much more aware, when we aren’t meditating, of the thoughts that we need to apply his protocol to.

I have only a couple of critiques. The first is his belief that we need to focus less on the body and do less of what he calls “body scanning.” But I think there is an important distinction to be made. I don’t believe it helps at all to obsess about the body, especially if the consequence is creating anxious thoughts about it. But I am completely convinced that it was (and is) my own highly honed attunement to my body that helped me gain so much recovery. First of all, it helped me to know what treatments helped and what did not. But more importantly, my devotion to my body helped me become clear about my true level of energy on any given day (which for a few years was NONE) and ultimately how to function within that box so as not to be constantly tapping my reserves. The CFIDS Association has always labeled this “lifestyle change.” Lord, that always annoyed me. More like “lifestyle destroyed.” Nonetheless, I think it is key.

There is a psychologist named William Collinge who puts forth a theory he calls “the 50% solution.” He takes the role of “resting” and “lifestyle change” to a whole new level. He states that we should never expend more than 50% of our day’s allotted energy so that we never hit what I call “the wall” and what he calls depleting your reserves. Instead, we reserv energy that can then go toward healing. As we all know, many times life’s necessities makes this impossible. Still, for me, it was an invaluable way of thinking about it-and it helped me truly believe that every time I honored my fatigue as a sign it brought me one tiny step toward recovery.

One fine point with which I do not agree is Ashtok’s statement that the core of our sleep disorder is anxious thoughts. No way, baby. I am basically a fairly calm person. My sleep disorder is a CNS problem-several times a night it’s as if someone has entered the room and turned on the lights shouting “time to get up!!” Sometimes I THEN get an anxious thought like “Crap, I am going to be wiped out for my gig tonight,” but that is not the core problem. The chicken (the CNS problem) definitely comes before the egg (anxious thoughts) in my case, and many others who I know.

I don’t have negative thoughts about CFIDS very often anymore. I get anxious about my finances (dismal) and about the music business, but not about CFIDS. This would NOT have been the case the first 10 years and so Ashtok’s protocol would have been more helpful for me back then. I highly recommend getting a handle on these thoughts. Having said that, Ashtok did remind me of the things I used to do that helped. Once I began turning the corner, though, I couldn’t wait to get away from all the things that constituted my “treatment,” but was actually a way of life.

Mind you, I didn’t throw caution to the wind and turn into an idiot about CFIDS, but I did move away, a bit, from various disciplines
that I was sick to death of like yoga and meditation. But Ashok has renewed my commitment to these things and made me believe, once again, that “everything I do helps.” Nice.
Tamara Lewis With Guitar
So here’s how my daily life has changed as a consequence of this DVD program:

  1. I Drink more water (so simple and yet so important)
  2. Do morning yoga stretches (a gentle way to reintroduce yourself to your body and to calm yourself and keep yourself limber).
  3. A brief meditation in the AM and sometimes another at night. This not only calms the brain, but attunes us more to our inner world.
  4. I have renewed my awareness of how I clench my body and now I say “relax and let go.”
  5. When I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like I won’t fall back to sleep, I tell myself “rest is almost as good as sleep”(as he recommends) and because I have not worked myself up, I am more apt to fall back to sleep.
  6. Due to a discipline of energy work called Pranic Healing that I began receiving two years ago, I also soak my feet in salt water and lavender tincture every night. I was taught that this removes the day’s “negative energies” from the energy body. I have been profoundly helped by energy work and I strongly recommend it. There are many different forms and I believe that all are very valuable. For me it’s been nothing short of a miracle-after I’d basically given up that I would ever make further gains.

Perhaps the best thing Ashtok is doing for me is renewing my commitment to myself and given me some hope that I can still move forward, even after 18 years of this illness. I think that’s well worth the price of the DVD.

To learn more about me, my late-in-life path to music and to hear song samples (some inspired by the illness experience), go to my website

27 comments

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Susanne Smith January 25, 2013 at 7:05 am

Thanks for this. I only came across the Gupta info yesterday( not sure how) and of course became immediately suspicious. This has been helpful . I also clicked on ‘my website’ and listened to Down River I guess because I’ve always been drawn to rivers. I cried while I listened for all kinds of reasons.
Susanne

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Kate February 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Hi, Tamara,

I am also in Seattle and I have been on the Gupta Programme for nine months. In that time I have reversed my food intolerances. I am eating foods I haven’t tolerated in thirty years. Nine months ago I was barely tolerating six foods but now I eat nearly everything. I have been seriously allergic to cats for 5 decades. Now I have a kitten sleeping by my head without any reaction. A miracle. I had no idea this was reversible. Last spring I was house bound, MCS, mask wearing, unable to tolerate being in a car, collapsing when the alders bloomed, etc. This is all gone. I still have most of my CFS fatigue but only half the other CFS symptoms on my list and the ones I do have left are weakening. The CFS fatigue is of a different nature. Instead of tired but wired I am simply tired which indicates I have moved into more of a healing state.The pain in my hands is all gone and my peripheral neuropathy is almost unnoticeable.

I am deeply skeptical like you by nature and at one time was considering returning the Gupta Programme for my money back. But concurrent with working the program I started to do research and discovered how much brain science is behind it all. A mere ten years ago people thought you couldn’t regenerate brain cells and indeed most still do. But now it is known this is not the case and a whole industry of “fast food” brain retraining programs like Luminosity have come out of it. If you want to read some excellent popular authors on the subject read Norman Doidge and Daniel Amen and Mark Robert Waldman. Probably some TED talks in there.

But there is nothing fast food about the Gupta Programme. It is hard work every single day and yes it works and yes you do get better. He has, if anything, too much material and I am still trying to learn it all. But as I do my parallel research I discover more and more of his light suggestions have huge heavy science behind them which he never explains. This is a highly intelligent man.

Ashok Gupta was reading economics at Cambridge when he got ill. He did huge research, recovered, and since he is a businessman by training, made it his business. He also does corporate training and other kinds of DVD and online training. When criticized he once reponded (I saw this on a forum) that his other businesses provided the $60,000 the Gupta Programme cost him to produce.

I had the same reaction as you did about the body scanning. But I think there is more to this. Ashok is trying to get CFS folks to stop trying to scan their bodies looking for symptoms since this reinforces the lizard brain’s conviction there is something very wrong and hyper awareness of the symptoms must be stopped to heal. The mind body connection. Yet in Newsletters and his live webinar which I also took, also cheap, he recommends yoga nidra which always includes a body scan, as does Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class, available in Seattle and many places, which dovetails nicely with Ashok’s program. And yes your brain lesions are probably much worse because of the duration of your illness, and yes you can heal them.

If you decide to go this route I would suggest you also get Optimum Health Clinic’s Secrets to Recovery. This is a $150 package of 100 hours of talks and recovery stories and training that I have found invaluable to my healing. It is connected to the Gupta Program in that Gupta counselors (skype counseling is an option for some) go to the Optimum Health Clinic for their training. OHC not only offers a very different version of the same material as Gupta but also important diet and psychological advice (essential). Plus 4 or 6 CD downloads, plus, plus, plus. Alex Howard (was ill 7 years) of OHC is very young and deeply influenced by motivational speakers so you must put that aside to profit from the riches this body of work has to offer. He annoyed me at first but now I feel affection for him because he is so sincere and good willed.

The other document I have relied upon for guidance is Daniel Neuffer’s CFS Unravelled (Amazon.) Daniel (was also ill seven years) is a brilliant physicist who, god help us, read all the studies available about CFS, chemistry and all and came up with an explanation and procedure to put a healing program together. I used this as my overall plan. Again there is a strong personality involved which is uncommon in conventional publishing. Overlook it. He mentions Timeline therapy which is unavailable here but just use EMDR or EFT or TRE instead. (He is Australian.)

Which lead me to trauma. Chances are if you have CFS you have some sort of stored trauma that somaticized. Here Robert Scaer’s research comes into play. He is a neuroscientist with an interesting history of discoveries. He believes that all our various stress ailments, CFS, MCS, Fibro etc are basically brain injury (as does Gupta) but adds that trauma can be stored indefinitely in an organism and to heal we must do the work to release that trauma. I am going there next with EMDR work. EFT and TRE also work to heal trauma. I love TRE. David Berceli is a wonderful human being.

That’s my story. Perhaps a piece of it will help someone.

Kate

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Nicole July 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I’m so glad I have come across this site.
I’ve been thinking about ordering the Gupta Therapy for three months. I guess I’m
skeptical and don’t look forward to the hard work, if I don’t get results. Also he doesn’t
give any insight into his program. That would be helpful. I don’t like ordering it blindly.
Kate thank you so much for your post. I too have researched and am aware of some of the names you mentioned. Your post has helped me and validates some of my research and I feel more confident in trying the program.
It would have helped me, be less skeptical, if I would have seen your post on Ashoks website and some MCS videos. I have only MCS.

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Kate KV November 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Another Kate here. I am VERY interested in speaking to you, both about CFS, but also about ALLERGIES. I have very bad allergies and have to take anithistamines every day – I have recently been wondering if they are tied with stress/fatigue, because when I spend time relaxing and sleep better, the allergies also tend to be better. Could you please shed some light on this facet of your experience? If you want to email me I’m open to that also. gotmusikk AT gmail DOT com

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Graham March 14, 2014 at 1:43 am

Hey Kate,

Sounds like we’re on a similar path. I also believe that nervous system trauma is behind me falling ill with CFS. I’ve explored TRE and Somatic Experiencing along with the Gupta Program, and I slowly seem to be recovering. My recovery accelerated when I started doing Mickel Therapy, and I tried doing some physical activity instead of just lying down when I felt ill.

I believe physical activity is necessary to release trauma and heal the nervous system, and the big catch-22 with CFS is the post-exertional malaise that conditions us to avoid any kind of exercise. Daniel Neuffer’s book CFS Unravelled also made a big impact on me and helped me learn to switch off the sympathetic hyperarousal, which made my PEM go away. Now I play tennis regularly, and play drums in a band for up to 4 hours at a time!

Cheers,
Graham

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Kate February 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I will also mention the Dynamic Neural Retraining System is a Canadian alternative to Gupta Programme. I know little about it but on Planet Thrive forum there is a thread comparing the two.

Also there is another woman, a sweetheart of a human being, named Loz Evans who has a .pdf book with many of the same ideas as Gupta though much lighter fare, available on her website for a voluntary donation. Her site is A Rational Approach.

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Kate February 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Here is my description of the Gupta Program, a little different from Tamara’s.

A brain retraining course which involves many techniques. Neuroliguistic programming, hypnosis techniques in the form of binaural guided meditation, a great introduction to mindfulness and an emphasis on meditation including the particular techniques such as alternate nostril breathing, yoga nidra and art of living which are specific to the nervous system. Also included is a program focussed on discovering what your particular triggers are that upset you and diffusing these so they no longer instigate inner stress. Toward the end one is instructed on how to create a new identity based on a happier, calmer, more self loving version of the self. There is also a supportive forum. This is the most profound and profitable therapy journey I have ever been on.

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Laura February 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

thanks everyone for their reviews. This is helpful.

Kate, I am very interested in talking to you more. Could you email me so we could talk further? Or pm me ? (user name lef07003) hope to hear from you!

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T.GUPTA July 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

THANKS For Sharing valuable informations and experiances.

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Cheesus June 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Thanks for this review, I really appreciate the independent advice.

I am already whole-heartedly dedicated to mindfulness. I find that when I do not push myself physically, mindfulness really smooths out the ups and downs of dealing with life and sickness. I have also suffered from an anxiety disorder for many years (much longer than CFS – I am still a newby to my CFS diagnosis), and I am finding mindfulness to be very beneficial in helping to alleviate anxiety.

I think this programme will work really nicely with my NHS treatment (Graded Activity (not exercise) Therapy), which essentially aims to take away the sharp rises and falls in energy levels PWCs tend to experience over the course of weeks and months by carefully managing activity.

Interestingly, I saw a report of some research recently that suggested meditation actually favourably alters mitochondrial gene expression. The following is quoted from New Scientist:

“The boosted genes had three main beneficial effects: improving the efficiency of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells; boosting insulin production, which improves control of blood sugar; and preventing the depletion of telomeres, caps on chromosomes that help to keep DNA stable and so prevent cells wearing out and ageing.” (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23480-meditation-boosts-genes-that-promote-good-health.html#.UcdAu79S0SZ)

Perhaps, then, the meditative aspects of this approach go above and beyond its impacts on the amygdala.

I think I will probably end up winding my way towards the Gupta programme once I find I am in a place where I am ready to add in other therapeutic devices. Though you could probably try to do the whole thing by yourself, I think how extensive it is, and also the cumulative experience of Gupta, allows you to avoid the energy draining process of attempting to figure it all out by yourself.

It will take dedication, however. You’re essentially trying to learn a new skill; a new way of thinking. As with all the meditative traditions, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. I imagine a programme like this cannot be done in a half-hearted sort of fashion (hence my need to only begin it when I am in a good position to).

I will bookmark this page, and hopefully remember to report back x months down the line.

Cheesus

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Kimberly Nelson July 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

Just a note: His name is Ashok Gupta, not Ashtok. Thanks for this good discussion of his work and the related work of others.

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Nicole August 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

I have used EMDR with good results, reducing my trauma significantly each time. Now, I’m in an area that doesn’t have EMDR therapist, so I’ve tried TRE. I became depressed more and more, each time I did the exercises. After five days, I had to stop.

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Susan August 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm

What a lovely discussion and a pleasant surprise! In the last five months I’ve discovered Planet Thrive, DNRS, Chronic Fatigue Unraveled (Dan N’s website and book), the Optimum Healing Clinic (I am a patient now via phone), and Mind Over Medicine (book, website). One led to the other. All build on and support the other. Kate, I feel we are on the same path.

I feel this is the path to healing this condition. Slowly, slowly. One step at a time. Thank you all for posting.
Love and High Vibrations

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Bill Pilgrim October 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

Hi Tamara & all others of our erxclusive club. I have only just found this entity, who may perhaps offer some help, this evening and I am a little impatient to gert into things and see what changes it may bring to me, my son & other family members who all may be afflicted in varying degrees, by this strange phenomenon. I am usually a very logical person & have attempted to apply Logic to what ails me.

To start with I need to say that this thing has worked me over now for around about Fifty-seven years. At first nobody had any answers, excepting for, “Its all in your mind”. I initially thought that perhaps the clever people were correct and if I ignored it for long enough, it would stop bothering me. So I have gone through my life for these +/- Fifty seven years, alternating between ignoring the Pain, Fatigue & more specific illnesses and trying all sorts of treatments based on “Science” & all sorts of beliefs, which I believe in some cases may have been based on an honest desire to help, even if there may have been a lack of true knowledge in many practitioners, who swore they had the answer if I followed their advice.

Along the way I have fallen victim to a variety of problems, which I am inclined to think may have been a result of this hoprrible affliction & if not, I do believe they may have been exacerbated by it. They have certainly been made a large degree more difficult to bear.

At the onset of my list of symptoms, for which I have been examined and told be several imminent specialists that I had either Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia or both together, as I responded correctly to tests for pain in all the right places. I believe I had problems with either 13 or 15 of the Pressure Points, before I had even read about them. I developed what has long since been diagnosed as Atrial Fibrilation, with a Heart Rate that can change between 72 to 150 to 200 to 30. I had surgery to Zapp that part of my Heart where the Electrical Signals originate to make my Hearet beat as it does, but it simply grew back again. I developed both Obstructive Apnea and Central Apnea. My Brain will noty recognize what my eyes can see. My Optomertrist asssured me that I should be able to see a little Arrow, but it only came into view when I closed one eye. I have had a real problem with Anaesthetics not working withoput a very large dose being administered and this a long time before I was prescribed heavy Pain Killers which I am attempting to wean myself off of.

There are so many strange things happening in my body that I no longer know what is real and what is not. I have said that I try to apply Logic to my life, but this thing seems to defy logic. I have fouight it, tollerated it and at times have given in to it, but it has not beaten me —–yet. At times I have thought that there is no point in continuing, but how to stop, without causing grief to others, so I keep on going. Don’t let anybody tell you they know what yopu are putting up with, as nobody can, unless they have to same degree of Pain & Tiredness that you have endured. I have been trying to get myself organisaed to attempt Meditation, to see if it could help me manage my body and my life a little better. I hgave worked in my trade and tried to study almost continuously, Ran my own Business for 12 yuears, on an on call 24/7/365 basis and was very successful, except I had to have Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABGs) Twice & a Stent once. After the first CABGs I had a TIA and had to leave my business. I have always had some problems following that, but I studioed and got a Dip. Teach (TAFE) Travelling about 150 km daily to do my study and prac.and got into the workforce again, with even more aches and pains, only to be made redundant after about Twelve years.

Sorry if I have borec you, but I have a very good reason to attempt anything that seems good. If anyone would like to give me any information I would love to hear from you. My email address bilpil@hotmail.com. Just maybe someone hasd an idea that has worked for them, w ith this new idea. Do you know oif it could possibly work with a person who has had problems for so long.

Regards and the best of luck to each and every one of you, who have travelled this road. Bill.

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Edwin December 29, 2013 at 9:19 am

Many thanks for this inspiring overview and discussion! I’d love to start the program, but it seems that the website is no longer available. Does anybody know how to order these DVDs?

Best wishes and a happy, healthy New Year!
Edwin

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Sheila January 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

I also have tried to get on to Ashok Gupta’s programme website but it comes up as not available – does anyone have any information on this as I am really keen to try it

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Jon Moore February 3, 2014 at 2:30 am

The website has been updated to a new one don’t think I can add a link directly to a comment but type “gupta programme” into google and you should find it

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skygoer February 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Hi all who travel through here! I too have been on an incredibly long journey. It’s nice to meet fellow travelers. I have gotten on top of my condition (lifelong result of early childhood trauma) at a few points in my life, thinking I had entirely healed myself. I discovered so many wonderful modalities that alleviate symptoms and that actually heal. But a cure?

Ah, there’s my next lesson to learn. The cure is in heeding the wisdom of the illness. After many relapses, this last one unbelievably difficult, I can truly affirm that this affliction has been in my life to guide me to wholeness and that I can only keep the health I create by learning to be true to myself utterly, and to live from that place of integrity (i.e., global wholeness). I am so lucky to be privy to this wealth of information and the amazing practices that come to us from far flung cultures, both cutting edge and ancient. But it is solely up to me not to squander this free and well favored birth. I am reminded anew of our preciousness and the imperative to realize it.

On the Road with you,
Skygoer

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Ian Mitchell February 12, 2014 at 12:12 am

This corrects wrong date in first line

I was diagnosed with CFS and invalided out of work in 1996. By 2007 I was at least 90% recovered. Dietary modifications were the major part of my recovery. Very low natural food chemicals, no food additives, no starch, no eggs, no dairy and very low carbohydrate. Basically this means lamb, white fish, chicken, lettuce, celery and beef tallow. I take supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps of this diet plus high salt intake and very high magnesium – 2000mg.

In 2008 my minor chemical sensitivities quickly became very much worse, to full blown MCS. The symptoms were the usual CFS of fatigue, brain fog and aches and pains, but with the addition of muscle twitches on my lower face. If I wore a half face carbon mask I had only minor symptoms or none at all. However, sleeping and talking with a carbon mask were awkward. I began the Gupta program in late 2008.

Three weeks into the program, I thought that things were improving. Eight weeks into the program I had a reaction with the most florid symptoms ever. The muscle twitches extended down my chest for the first time.

It was the worst reaction, but it was also the last. I have had no MCS since early 2009.

I continued doing the Gupta Program intensively for another eighteen months, hoping for reduction in my food intolerances. This did not happen.

I have no deep psychological insight into origins of my MCS. I just did the program and my MCS disappeared, for which I am very thankful to Ashok Gupta.

I posted a long story of my recovery from MCS on the Recovery topic of the Gupta Forum on 17/06/2010.

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Jodie March 3, 2014 at 3:27 am

Hi, I help run a resource for those with Environmental Illness & I bought the Gupta course mainly because several members had had good results with it but no-one would ever give more detail of what was involved – even the number of hours a day you needed to practise! I did a write up here http://www.ei-resource.org/forum/multiple-chemical-sensitivity-mcs/3287-a-write-up-on-gupta-retraining/ in case anyone would like this info..

Jodie.

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Nicole June 29, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Honestly, this sort of comment rambling on, isn’t helping anyone. Not trying a therapy, then suggesting people to sell them?? Really?

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Jason April 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm

To Bill above who has a myriad of symptoms. I was actually reading the forums today as I’m researching for my book – I’ve previously used Ashoks program (in 2009) for personal use and wanted a quick recap of the whole process, I no longer own the program (sold it on eBay). I’m actually writing it about me and for me about my experiences, like an account of all of these weird and wonderful symptoms, what they really mean and what I did to get shut. I will not be selling the book. More importantly it’s about how to prevent any further setbacks as it were. Been there done it, and got the proverbial T-shirt! Where do I start: Anxiety, Panic, Agoraphobia, LGS, MCS, Food Allergies, AFS, POTs, etc, etc. But I’m not a fan of a doctor led diagnosis’ and labels for such conditions as I believe it gives the person a stamp as such on their forehead which they rightly or wrongly advertise to the whole world – and often proudly – “I am or I have X”. Anyway, stories like Bill’s tug on the heart strings, so thought I’d comment.

Please trust in my comments and experience. Over thinking is the issue here and that which perpetuates and exacerbates the “problem”. What caused this is important (to prevent further setbacks) but it’s not imperative to know for recovery. I say that because you may never find the real cause/s and if you don’t, then you’ve potentially wasted decades trying to find it. If it’s an obvious behavior like overwork or debt stress then the solution in essence is simple, remove the stressor as soon as possible. Another thing is about doing the right thing. What’s your real purpose on this planet, what moves your muscle? Go towards that. If you aren’t, you’ll feel it. Maybe this is esoteric but it’s true, you have a passion, this is what you should be doing or at least pointing towards this “real-you”. Start ASAP.

What I’ve found is when you get sick it tends to follow a process of Psychology > Neurology > Physiology. Recovery I found is best working backwards. Physiology > Neurology > Psychology. It’s also important to treat the worse symptom first. If you have for example a Leaky Gut because it’s inflamed or because of Candida and you have food sensitivities/allergies as a result, then get the gut healed ASAP with Aloe Vera, L-Glutamine, Probiotics, etc. Then find the cause of that and start to climb the ladder upwards, treating the next worse and so on and so forth. But you may not need to if the below helps, this for me sorts any issue.

Is it all about the mind? What I’ve learned is It’s about mind and body. They need to unify and work as one.

Ashok uses a very simple modality called EmoTrance on track one of his CD, this is the golden nugget in the program for me. It changed my life. All of the other processes are not required if you make full use of Emotrance which is not actually a process designed by Gupta, it’s by Silvia Hartman. Since the human body is about Charge > Discharge, (think food, water or even a car battery if that metaphor helps) the discharge process is where the cause/problem occurs. Because the human body for whatever reason fails to discharge, be it because of the mind and/or body feedback. Until there is technology which can diagnose this we’ll never really know. Think energy in, energy out. Trauma and all other symptoms are ultimately stuck energy. If you can remove the energy from a thought = Recovery.

I know this 100% to be true and I’d put my house on it. I don’t want to over complicate this but any “traumas” AKA trapped/stuck energy cause the mind and body to separate, it’s a protective mechanism. Translated, you become afraid of the physical body, the very vehicle which transports the mind around. The flow of energy (AKA emotion) which follows thought takes a specific route through the physical body. If the energy cannot complete = symptoms.

I’ve had a 4 month long agoraphobia fixed within 30-60 minutes (not the first session BTW) of using EmoTrance on myself. I didn’t even know it was badged EmoTrance at the time. So, if what all of the so called experts say is true, that it’s about exposure which creates new neural pathways is correct, then how could I go from a quivering wreck (hitting the roof when the phone rings) to being outside with zero panic/symptoms in an hour? Maybe the experts don’t know that energy channels in the mind are linked to neural pathways and that the 2 are inextricably linked? Maybe they are.

But EmoTrance and my adapted version is simply about using intention to notice any discomfort in the body or head and following this process. Notice, Accept, Observe, Soften and flow and follow the energy. I like to use the words Melt and Move as opposed to Soften and Flow. This technique can be used anywhere, anytime. EmoTrance recommend doing it standing up, even moving at the time such as dancing. Personally I prefer to lie down with eyes closed to have a really good focused session. But its good for maintenance to run it at various times of the day, I’ll give them that.

The caveat is, it may take practice because if you are dissociated (mind and body separated) these need time to reunite. But persist. You may initially need to use either mediation or BrainEntrainment (a lazy but powerful meditation audio with no work required at all, just lie back and listen) to fully reunite.

I actually like to combine the 2. I’d typically do a BrainEntrainment session for 30 minutes and this I find also loosens the energy channels, what some disciplines call Nadis. Then I will do EmoTrance for 30-60 minutes, just focusing lightly with intention, but without any judgement at all on the discomfort. Typically if I get tired after 30 mins, I’d call it a day. If I’d get some really good energy movement, I’ll continue until all is clear. This is exactly what happened to fix my agoraphobia but a myriad of other conditions mentioned above. It literally melted the stuck/toxic energy and it literally moves from my head (my weak spot is located back left of my head) through and out of the body. EmoTrance call these weak spots (which basically block-up first) fault-lines, like a geological fault line analogy.

The only word for when the stuck energy melts and moves, is WOW! It’s literally euphoric beyond any explanation. The problem with these fault lines is they may take some work to loosen, especially if they have history. So taking it slowly and lightly and not going for the big release would then be a better strategy. To implement all you have to do is, find discomfort by thinking or even saying a statement about your insecurities for example. Feel it in your body and go for that.

This process also gives us empowerment, it puts you in control. We make friends with the energy and the body as a result. If you over think on the discomfort, you can even say to yourself, “it’s just energy”. You’ll find that by seeing discomfort as just energy, that when you remove thought, the energy gives up and dissipates. But again it could take discipline to clear all.

Process again: Either as you go about your day, sat at the PC, sitting or lying down (there are no rules), or with eyes open or closed.

1) Feel the discomfort or activate it purposely by thought or statement.
2) Notice it, put your intention (but without force) into, on or around the sensation. Try different methods of approach.
3) Accept it, do NOT fight it or wish it to go. You can say to yourself “its just energy”. Or you can even make friends with it, welcome it in.
4) Observe it without any judgement. Just sit with it.
5) Say to yourself as you breathe out (or in whatever works for you) “Soften and Flow” or “Melt and Move”.
6) The energy will eventually start to move. Follow it or give it a gentle push with intention. Let it move wherever it wants. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes down, sometimes it just dissipates on the spot. When I was really tight and resistant mine would tend to go round in set pattern in the same area. But big WOW releases for me would rush from my head right down through and out of my feet. Once the channels have opened you can then push more and more energy by intention alone. Just keep emptying the stuck energy, I’ve lay on my bed for an hour or two even just dumping energy out, out, out.

On the days when it melted fully the result was and is complete bliss!

I have to give this disclaimer. I have absolutely no association with EmoTrance or any other modality. I even urge you not to spend a penny on any program, modality or therapy. Nobody has trademarked or owns energy as far as I know, maybe god? Try this method above instead without any judgement.

All the best
J

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Brigid June 16, 2014 at 7:10 am

Thanks for your article/review it was great. I had just watched this documentary yesterday Changing Your Mind where Dr Norman Doidge (The Brain That Changes Itself) shows some very compelling neurological cases to illustrate how the changing brain plays an important role in treating mental disorders and diseases that were once thought incurable. (From Canada, in English and Spanish) Documentary) And then I was looking at latest on CFS(I’m a long term sufferer, hopefully nearly over it ) and came across the GUPTA Program and then your review – and all the reference about neuroplasticity just a day after watching the doco which shows the amazing ability the brain really does have to be refocused and retrained so to speak – so interesting how all the bits of the puzzle suddenly fit together. It is also fabulous to know and to believe CFS could be a thing of the past….. :) Thanks for sharing

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Nicole July 5, 2014 at 7:20 am

I would like to share this EMDR protocol for MCS. I have gone to a new EMDR therapist who uses it and I’m going to try it. It works on the same premise as Gupta, only using EMDR. I would think, like Gupta’s, it could be used for CFS and other Environmental illnesses.
I also listened and read about the two therapist Shapiro sites. I will post to give update, after having this therapy.

http://bit.ly/1m0nYHB

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Miran September 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

I have been watching Gupta’s videos on youtube and I do find his theory very plausible. I am bedridden and have improved with stress management and relaxation etc. However, I have relapsed and am back to the beginning. I do believe people can fully recover from ME but whether everyone has the mental discipline and strength to do it via controlling the thought patterns/flight fight I’m not sure. I certainly have yet to recover enough to be totally convinced, I am so ill that I find any discipline incredibly hard as all my effort is taken up with basic existence. I also have no money left after spending thousands on treatment. Interesting article, thank you. x

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