Today I wanted to share a bit with you about the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, or DNRS for short.
As you may know, this past fall I was diagnosed with a condition of the immune system called mast cell activation syndrome.
When I first got the diagnosis, I initially went into research mode, reading every single thing I could– every article, every single comment in patient support groups, and keeping a journal to track my symptoms.
This has always been my normal approach to dealing with health issues, and I had expected it to be the only way to deal with mast cell, as well.
A few months into the process, I attended an in-person support group, where I met someone who had recovered from the same condition as me, using the Dynamic Neural Retraining System.
I’m going to be honest with you. I had never heard of DNRS before, and never would have done it if I hadn’t met someone in person who had recovered.
It took a lot for me to overcome my skepticism. In fact, I was still fairly skeptical when I began the program — I just started doing it anyway, because one of my doctors was strongly urging me to do it, and I figured I had nothing to lose.
But the more I have been doing the program– I’ve been doing it for an hour a day, for five months now– the more I understand it, and truly believe in it.
How does DNRS work?
DNRS focuses on the idea that many complex, chronic illnesses can actually be the result of a brain that is stuck in a chronic state of fight or flight.
In DNRS, this is termed limbic system dysfunction. (The limbic system is the part of the brain that regulates our emotional and behavioral responses, and also our response to threats– the fight or flight mechanism. It includes the amygdala, which causes us to feel fear, and the hippocampus, one of the most important parts of the brain for memory).
If you look at the stories of the different people who have recovered using DNRS, you’ll find that the symptoms they had were all very different.
In DNRS, the focus is not on the symptoms– it’s on rewiring the brain.
DNRS relies the concept of neuroplasticity– meaning the brain can change, based on new experiences.
If the brain can be changed by trauma– whether it’s emotional or physical– into a chronic state of fight or flight– it can also change back into a healthy state.
That’s where DNRS comes in. When you do the program, you are essentially following a series of steps, writing exercises, and visualizations– every day– to help the brain form new, healthy pathways.
It’s more than just positive thinking– it’s more like a practice.
I think of it like this. We all know we should think positively. We all know we should occasionally do things to calm down our system, such as meditate.
But DNRS really takes it a step further. It’s not just about relaxation– it’s actually about building new brain pathways.
In the five months I’ve been doing DNRS, I’ve actually felt this happen. I almost think of my brain as like a construction zone.
Since doing DNRS, I’ve actually felt my brain change, in a way that totally matches up with some of the things I’ve learned about the brain, emotion, and memory, in my science classes. (I’ve actually taken a neuroscience course, which really helped me to understand what was going on).
Over these five months it’s become much easier for my brain to get out of fight or flight and access happy emotions and memories, because I literally spend an hour every day activating those neural pathways.
The program isn’t some magic thing that will only work for some people. It’s about practice. Practice makes perfect. If you really do it for the recommended time– a minimum of an hour a day, every day for at least 6 months– you will see results.
Getting the brain out of its limbic system trauma loop.
So, if you read my blog now, you’ll see that I don’t talk about my specific mast cell symptoms very much. Of course, this is the complete opposite of the approach I’d planned to take.
But one of the main principles of DNRS is that, once you’re dealing with a chronic condition, focusing on your symptoms can actually reinforce that state of fight or flight. So we actually try not to talk about our symptoms (except, of course, in cases where’s absolutely necessary, such as when at a doctor’s appointment).
This took me a while to wrap my mind around, but over time, it made more and more sense to me. Focusing on my health didn’t cause the problem, but now that I was in this situation, I had to do everything possible to get my brain out of chronic fight or flight.
That’s why you won’t find me writing too much about my physical symptoms in this post, or on my blog in general. I will say that I have seen an improvement in my physician symptoms, and that I have every reason to recommend DNRS to others.
I do want to tell my whole story at some point, but for now, my brain is a “construction zone” of hope and healing, so the rest will have to come later :)
However, here are some of the DNRS recovery stories that have personally inspired me on my journey– definitely check these out!
(The first three people on this list used DNRS to recover from mast cell activation, as well as other conditions!).
I will be explaining more about DNRS in my next post– including how the medical community is beginning to take notice– so stay tuned!