My Experience with DNRS

Just under five years ago, on March 20, 2017, I took a step that changed my life.

If you've missed my previous posts about my experience with illness, you can read them here, and I also covered all the things I did to heal in this post. And while everything I did added up to health, the missing puzzle piece to healing, for me, was The Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS). If you'd like some basic questions about DNRS answered, check out my FAQs page. But in this post I want to finally go into detail on my experience with DNRS.

Finding the Program

I first heard of DNRS the beginning of 2017 while scrolling through Instagram, and I saw someone I followed recommend it on someone else's post about the illness they were dealing with. The commenter didn't expound, so I looked it up. 

After digging around on the site and watching testimonials, it seemed way too easy and way too good to be true, even though the program itself wasn't explained anywhere. But something also seemed promising--I had done no kind of brain-based treatment before so it seemed like the one untouched area. 

I mentioned it to my husband and we just put it in the back of our minds. The idea of retraining the brain was so new to us, we needed to just hold off for a while. 

But by February we decided to go for it. One of my Instagram friends had also found out about the program and started it by then, and while I waited for the DVDs to come in the mail (at the time, only DVDs and the in-person program were the options), I watched her start improving right away. It was unreal to watch her make such shocking improvements--and then start to imagine something that you never let yourself think with chronic illness: I could start improving too. I could finally heal. This could happen for me. My husband and I definitely took turns feeling confident that this was it for me: leading up to starting the program, on the days he was afraid it wouldn't happen, I knew it would; and when I faltered, he was certain. 

But I started the program on March 20th, and we didn't have to wonder anymore. 

Starting the Program

I won't go into the details of the program itself here, mostly because I have far too many insights and tips to share in future posts. But, when I went through the program, the first week-ish was filled with watching the DVDs to learn about the program and what you're signing up to do for at least the next six months. My first night, I remember I started crying in bed telling my husband that I felt "different." Not bad, just different. Because of course--to our poor, fight-or-flight mode, chronic illness brains, anything new just has to be perceived as scary, right? Well, I didn't have scared tears about the process after that anymore.

I will insert here that I did have a couple of fears about the program before beginning it. Looking back, they feel pretty silly, but I soon learned these fears are pretty common. 1) I was afraid I wasn't sick enough for the program. The glowing testimonials included people who were bedridden or wheelchair-ridden. I was only desk chair-ridden. Let's all laugh at that fear now--neuroplasticity is for anyone, ill or not. 2) I was afraid it would change me and my personality too much. I am naturally a melancholy, introverted, thoughtful, deep, creative person. I didn't want to be an inauthentically positive, bubbly, outgoing, so-not-me version of myself, which is what I thought might happen. Again, I was wrong. DNRS doesn't change your personality to someone else's or a version of you that is unrecognizable. It polishes up the very best of you--parts that you know are there and parts that are so you but that you maybe didn't even realize were there--and all the illness-fueled parts of you that you mistakenly think are you, like anxiety, fall away. You're not left with some strange version of you. You're left with the best you yet. Still you, but better in so many ways. 

Back to the process of beginning the program, by a couple days in, I noticed the first change. Our fridge back then made a very loud popping sound a couple of times a day or so. At the time, one of my many symptoms was sensitivity to sound--too much at once would make me go into sensory overload and shut down, and single loud sounds would reverberate through my very being. The fridge popped as usual, but I noticed that my response to it was slightly muffled, almost like there was a protective bubble around me. That was my limbic system cooling off and beginning to handle sensory input normally. 

Starting the Practice

By this point, I had finished the DVDs and embarked upon the six months of daily practice: one hour a day of actively retraining, while being aware of and rerouting all thoughts as necessary as much as possible. That is the program boiled down into one very simplified sentence.

Once I had started actively doing the rewiring, I immediately dubbed how it felt as an "uncomfortable relief." Redirecting my thoughts and thinking things I would not naturally was such a relief from the onslaught of the miserable cross-wiring and negative associations my brain naturally traversed for years. But it was very uncomfortable, quite like defying gravity, because it was brand new. So as the phrase "defying gravity" should indicate to you, it was not easy. It was actually the hardest thing I've ever done. But over time, that uncomfortableness changed, and I came to crave doing the practice rounds.

Something I noticed quickly was the difference in how it felt to use my rebounder. I have a mini trampoline that I use to help detox. Normally, my lower legs would start aching within just a few minutes of gently using it. I realized that my legs were not doing that anymore and I was fine. 


The first huge milestone came a couple weeks into April. I went to church for the first time in months and continued to go every week after that. My first Sunday, I took part in church lunch in a very loud building, and afterward we visited and sang at a nursing home, which I had never gotten to do with my church before. There were many happy tears that day, which soon became a mind-blowing new norm.

Around that time, I went to a local park with my husband and we walked about three miles through a wooded path. Previously, walking through a grocery store was a big undertaking because my energy and stamina were nonexistent, so this "little walk" was huge. And within what now seems like no time, he was telling me to slow down the next time we stepped into a store.

May was our 5th wedding anniversary, so we had planned a beach vacation. The couple days before we left, I decided to clean the apartment: dust, vacuum, etc. Typically I couldn't have done that, but that is what I thought I should do--clean before the trip so it's clean when we get home--so that's what new me did. Being in this new state of remarkable healing, I did it without thinking and was so confused why my husband was upset. And it was at that moment that we realized he too would have to retrain his brain on how things work around the house: I could actually clean the day before leaving, which would previously have wiped me out and made me unable to do anything for days, and we could have a beach vacation like nothing happened. 

So we headed to our week at the beach, which we hadn't done since our 1st anniversary. That 1st anniversary trip in 2013 had been quite sad. I'd rested on the beach. We'd gone a couple places. And we'd basically hung out at the condo because I could do very little. This 5th anniversary trip was night and day different. We went to the beach often, we went out to eat and I ate foods I previously couldn't, we went shopping, I rode the claustrophobia-inducing sky wheel, and I ran on the beach at night just because I could. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and we will always talk about it. I was truly a new person (and still did my practice on the trip because I was only two months in). 

The Plateau and the Change Up

I did get pretty discouraged briefly around this time because it felt like I had plateaued. It wasn't that I had gone downhill, but it was more like my body and brain had finally acclimated to the improved me long enough to see how much work there was left to be done. So it wasn't really a plateau but a recalibration that resulted in me ready to step up even more. After I finally figured that out, I kept going. Practice became a little stale, so I changed things up. I wrote a new proclamation, I backed off on the steps or wording of the practice that wasn't really resonating with me, and I expanded on the parts that were.

From there I really lose track of all the progress. My improvements continued, but my view of life and my ability had shifted so much that I had to really pay attention to see them all. 

In full transparency, in a do as I say not as I do moment, I did not do the full six months of regular practice because I improved so much. I probably did only about four. (Though, in a topic for another post, I still carry DNRS around in my tool belt and always will--not because I could remotely be called chronically ill but because life continues to happen, we continually face new things, and this is a priceless tool for anyone.) But something incredibly interesting is that, even though I was no longer regularly practicing by fall 2017, by Christmas I could look back and see that I was even better than I had been when I stopped regularly practicing. By summer 2018 I could see how I was better than I had been at Christmas. And at Christmas 2018, I could still see how I was better than I had been in the summer. I personally believe that, just like our brains spiral deeper and deeper into pathways of illness without help, they spiral higher and higher into pathways of health when we get it going strongly in that direction. 

The Transformations

Obviously when you're reading someone's story about chronic illness to health, you're looking for the big, obvious issues to improve: exhaustion to energy, chronic pain to the lack thereof, anxiety to calmness--which did happen. But there are so many ways that I transformed that I can't possibly recount all of them, and the only way to begin to help you understand the depth of healing that can come from something like DNRS is a list. Here is a list I wrote up in August 2017, less than five months after starting the program. My life is so drastically different from what it was in 2017 that I am blown away by these reminders of every transformation that happened. 

    from August 2017

  • My reactions to harsh sensory input are greatly lessened. Previously loud music or appliances popping or multiple sounds going at once (like a neighbor's music going at the same time as construction outside) would result in headache, nausea, or basically physical panic. Now it's like the sensitivity dial has been turned down much closer to normal level.
  • Similarly, I can carry on a conversation with someone while there are other loud noises going on around me, such as other people talking. This used to be a great struggle.
  • I am happier. I'm now often experiencing this phenomenon called "happy tears." I wasn't familiar with those before. 
  • I am now much more positive. I didn't think I was a negative person before, but ... let's all laugh at that now.
  • I have actually uttered the words "I feel so good" more than once. That sentence was not really in my vocabulary before.
  • I can handle phone calls like a boss. Previously, situations such as phone calls, the prospect of making phone calls, having serious conversations, or seeing confrontational comments on social media would send my body into fight or flight mode, complete with racing heart, adrenaline rush, and shaking. My brain had wired such situations to such reactions. Now I have to stop and realize how easily I have been making phone calls.
  • I can now relax much easier than before.
  • I can now focus on one thing at a time more easily than before, as opposed to always having to multi-task.
  • I am mentally and physically calmer.
  • I am in much less pain.
  • I am stronger. For example, I can now open bottles that normally I had to have my husband open. 
  • I actually have this thing called energy. And stamina. Definitely didn't have those before. I realized the other day that when I get ready to go somewhere, my battery isn't running on low by the time we leave the house.
  •  I don't have to lie down after taking a shower.
  • I'm walking better than before. (Hadn't realized my walk was lacking until now.) Even my chiropractor could tell a difference in my body--and was amazed by my improvements to the point of tearing up--the first time I went after starting the program.
  • My thoughts are clearer and I lose my train of thought much less. 
  • I sleep deeper and fall back asleep easier if I am startled awake.
  • My actual dreams have changed. Previously, I basically had like six dreams I just rotated. Once I started this program, it's like I got a whole new set of dreams and now I dream brand new dreams all the time. It is such a relief.
  • I'm able to eat foods I wasn't before. 
  • My husband says my "aura" is different.
  • My hug is different. I saw family in July for the first time since starting the program and quickly realized I was actually hugging them tightly—easily and spontaneously. Normally my hugs are light, bordering on air hugs. Do you know how much healing had to take place for something as mundane and involuntary as a hug to be transformed? 
  •  I am just doing so much now and finally able to be a housewife. 

And that's just how I was in August 2017. Take this list and polish it up and that's where I've been for years now.

So in case it's not clear yet, my experience with DNRS was phenomenal, hugely transformative, and a highlight of my life. I will mark my life as pre-DNRS and post-DNRS. And I will always recommend it to anyone I can--because if I, the "unhealable" one, as I was told by doctors and friends and all of the mainstream medical world, can heal and thrive, so can you.

More to see:

My story Part 1 | Part 2

What else I did to heal first, which is why I think DNRS helped me so quickly.

My DNRS FAQs | all my DNRS posts | the DNRS website

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and nothing I say is to be taken as medical advice. I speak only of my personal experience. | affiliate links above

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