Overcoming a complex system…with simple steps…
With all the online information out there for and about the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, the term “neuroplasticity” comes up frequently – but what exactly does it mean and what does it have to do with mysterious and multiple symptom illnesses? While it sounds complicated it doesn’t have to be – just like Annie Hoppers’s approach!
Neuroplasticity, also called brain plasticity, is the process in which your brain’s neural synapses and pathways are altered as an effect of environmental, behavioural, and neural changes. The process of neuroplasticity takes place throughout your lifetime and can involve many processes. In general, neuroplasticity is a way for your brain to fine-tune itself for efficiency. Neuroplasticity happens continually as you learn and memorize new data, and as your brain develops; however, neuroplasticity can actually work against us, altering brain structure and function in a negative way. Sometimes the healthy part of the brain will naturally take over for lost function, while other times the brain will be adversely affected by trauma. Thankfully, now we are finding new ways to direct brain function in healthy ways, to compensate for damage with renewed strength and new and happy neural pathways.
“While there have been brief flashes of insight into this ability over the centuries, they have been dismissed because they weren’t in keeping with the mainstream belief that the brain was like a machine with parts, each performing a single function in a single location,” Doidge says. What all this means, explains Doidge, is that we have been woefully underestimating the brain. Something other than age can change its anatomy. This is good news in the face of studies that show that many cognitive abilities peak in our mid-20s.While we have always known the structure of our brain drives our behavior, plasticity shows the opposite is also true. The architecture of our brains is constantly changing in response to the lives we lead. New neural networks can be developed; regions of the brain can grow and change function, taking on the tasks of damaged areas. The brain can, in a few locations, create new neurons.” https://www.brainhq.com/media/news/brain-changing-adult-mind-through-power-plasticity
While the human brain is one of the most complex systems on earth – the DNRS system is crucial in its deep understanding of the limbic condition and how it’s working to keep you in a protective state, and provides the tools to guide your brain into a state of relaxation and growth. In thinking about the complexity of our amazing brains – we reached out to Patrick who had both an excellent explanation regarding the complex vs simplistic solutions but also an awesome analogy to boot!
“The simplicity of the DNRS exercise is their greatest strength. The core DNRS exercises may appear, at first glance, to be too ‘simplistic’ – how or why should they work? I argue why the very simplicity of the exercises is in fact the DNRS’ greatest strength and that the kind of exercises the DNRS encourages are perfectly placed to lift a traumatised limbic system out of that state., ” Patrick Ussher.
Patrick suffered from POTS or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) which is currently defined as a ‘syndrome’, a collection of symptoms for which the root cause has not yet been identified. Patrick argues the case for POTS being considered a form of neurological injury to the limbic system. The limbic system is the primitive ‘flight or fight’ part of the brain which is also the start of the entire autonomic nervous system. Patrick recovered from POTS by following the DNRS program and is gathering the evidence of others with similar successes due to the program. (see Patrick’s full story at (www.retrainingthebrain.com)
Patrick: “The Dynamic Neural Retraining System speaks to the primitive part of the brain in ways that mindfulness and mantra based meditations cannot do when the brain is in such a traumatized state. I like the analogy of the elephant and the rider. If you think of the two main parts of the brain from our point of view, the limbic system, and the rational prefrontal cortex; the limbic system is the elephant and the rider is the prefrontal cortex. Ideally you want both of these working together so the elephant is happy and the rider can be on top of the elephant. However when the brain is in trauma and the limbic system is compromised, the elephant is haywire and deeply distressed and the rider cannot control that elephant for normal use. In mindfulness practise the rider is getting down off the elephant and sitting under a tree and watching the elephant from a distance with non-judgemental kindness – however when the elephant (limbic system) is in such a traumatized state it’s impossible to watch from a distance and the rider gets sucked back on – Whereas with the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, the core practise is the equivalent of the rider (executive function) going out to the traumatized elephant and saying – what do you actually need to know and understand so you can appreciate that life is safe again? And once empowered with this knowledge the rider can redirect the elephant to safety and therefore relieving the elephant of its symptoms and trauma into a more controlled state.”
While everyone’s illness/symptoms and recovery are different, questions around DNRS and how it works and what makes it different to others remain consistently quite similar. What we do know for sure and is proven now by scans is that the neural networks in your brain change when you think differently, perceive differently, imagine things and become aware of things. We love Patrick’s explanation and analogy. He is able to clearly describe how DNRS differs from mindfulness or meditation. We hope by sharing, it will help to simplify a seemingly complex brain condition and answer some of your questions that will guide you to the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (elephant not included) and help you regain control and the quality of life you deserve!
“You are not alone, your suffering has not been in vain, and you can live the life that you dreamed of, even if you stopped dreaming a long time ago.”
– Annie Hopper – Wired for Healing