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Recovery programs at a glance

Dr. Martina Melzer, published: 10/02/2022, updated 01/21/2023

 

There are a number of programs and classes that can help people with chronic fatigue, chronic pain syndromes (and other conditions) recover. A brief overview

ANS Rewire, Gupta program, DNRS - there is a whole range of programs and courses that have helped many people to get well again, or to improve their condition significantly.

I would like to give a small overview here. Since other people already share very good information about these programs, or at least some of it, I will be brief and link to all the sources I know.

 

ANS Rewire

Founder: Dan Neuffer. An Australian physicist, he himself had ME/CFS, POTS and fibromyalgia for seven years. Through intensive scientific research, he hypothesized the disease mechanism. This helped him recover and was the basis of his ANS Rewire program. Neuffer has also written the books „CFS Unraveled“ and „Discover Hope“.

Structure: The program is designed for people with ME/CFS, POTS, fibromyalgia, MCS and related syndromes. It takes a multimodal approach, consisting of a biomedical approach that focuses on exercise, nutrition, and treatment of the physical problems. In addition, there is a mind-body approach, the core of which is neuroplasticity ( = brain training, see more at the end of the article). This addresses psychological, emotional and physical stressors that one retrains. The program consists of over 40 instructional videos, exercises, meditations, there is an opportunity to ask questions. One can start the program at any time.

Website:
https://ansrewire.com/

Dan Neuffer's story:
https://cfsunravelled.com/dan-neuffers-cfs-recovery-story/

Success Stories:
https://ansrewire.com/testimonials/

Experiences and more:
Heal with Liz:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkQhg6CLjII
The Puzzle of Healing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2HXCl6RlXs

 

Be your own medicine

Founder: Rebecca Tolin. The former U.S. TV news reporter herself had ME/CFS for 13 years and ultimately healed herself through a mind-body approach. Tolin is a mind-body coach with numerous qualifications. She has compiled everything she learned during her own recovery journey and in many continuing education courses into the Be Your Own Medicine course.

Structure: This is an 8-week live course. It is designed for people with various syndromes, which Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) founder Dr. John Sarno understands to include ME/CFS, Long Covid, Fibromyalgia, POTS, migraine, unexplained back pain, interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The course includes live sessions, question-and-answer sessions, meditations, handouts, and a private course community for sharing, among other things. The course can only be booked when Rebecca Tolin offers it again. There is a waiting list.

Website:
https://www.rebeccatolin.com/course

Rebecca Tolin's story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAQW2BS2TRg

 

Success Stories and Experiences:
The program is fairly new, so I don't know of any success stories or testimonials yet.

 

CFS Health

Founder: Toby Morrison. An Australian, he developed ME/CFS at age 16 and became bedridden. His recovery journey took 4 years. A multimodal approach helped him get better. His findings are the basis of the program. He also wrote the book, „Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Guide to Recoery“.

Structure: The program lasts at least 6 months and is designed for people with ME/CFS, POTS, fibromyalgia, and postviral fatigue. The program is designed to help people determine their baseline, and there are explanatory videos on diet, exercise, mindset, etc. Coaches guide participants and there are weekly conversations and Q&A sessions. There is a private online community on Facebook. The program is also available as an app and you can start it anytime.

Website:
https://www.cfshealth.com/

Toby Morrison's story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPl77n4KqDM

Success Stories:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZwMeaMI7H8&list=PLVAucNjUKbAStib-m49wR2NUoaxGoZvPy

Experiences and more:
I haven´t found English ones so far.

 

CFS School

Founders: Jennifer Mann and Karden Rabin. Mann is a yoga and Pilates instructor, coach, body and movement therapist, and mind-body specialist. She has herself had ME/CFS, POTS, chronic pain and an anxiety disorder. Through a holistic, trauma-informed mind-body approach, she has recovered. Rabin is a massage therapist and bodyworker who overcame his chronic back pain through a combination of body-mind therapies and body-oriented trauma therapy.

Structure: The program is designed to help people with ME/CFS, POTS, Long Covid, fibromyalgia, digestive problems, anxiety disorders, and chronic Lyme disease, among others. The 3-month program consists of 12 modules, including learning videos, listening exercises and workbooks. The two founders take a holistic approach based on brain training, polyvagal theory, trauma-informed therapies, and pathways to self-discovery and self-development. There are 3 different versions of the program, the more expensive ones include coaching and access to a private community.

Website:
https://www.chronicfatigueschool.com/

Jennifer Mann's story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ65OCqlJqw

Success Stories:
CFS School:
https://www.chronicfatigueschool.com/
https://www.chronicfatigueschool.com/self-healer-assistants

Experiences and more:
@heal_and_sea on Instagram
@postcovid_recovery_diary
@lott_ae_k

 

DNRS

Founder: Annie Hopper. Hopper herself had unexplained symptoms, syndromes and sensitivities for years and healed herself with brain training exercises she did daily, targeting the limbic system. From this, she developed the DNRS program. She wrote the book „Wired for Healing“.

Structure: DNRS stands for "Dynamic Neural Retraining System" and is designed to be helpful for ME/CFS, Long Covid, POTS, multi-chemical sensitivity, depression, anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia, mast cell activation syndrome and other conditions. The program focuses on the brain's ability to adapt - neuroplasticity. Chronic stress and trauma alter the activity of the limbic system, which is part of our emotional brain. DNRS is designed to bring it back into balance. You can start the program at any time, you have access to the 12 modules for a year, there is a manual, an online community and the opportunity to get coaching or join an online support group.

Website:
https://retrainingthebrain.com/

Success Stories:
https://retrainingthebrain.com/success-stories/

Experiences and more:
Heal with Liz:
https://healwithliz.com/going-on-imaginary-dream-vacations-gave-me-my-life-back/
The Honest Spoonful:
https://thehonestspoonful.com/dnrs-program-my-story-and-review/
Georgina's Journey:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EmcykHw8Rk

 

Freedom from Chronic Pain

Founders: Professor Howard Schubiner and Hal Greenham. Australian psychotherapist Hal Greenham suffered from chronic pain, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS for years himself and healed himself through a mind-body approach. US physician and scientist Howard Schubiner also struggled with back pain for years and cured it through a mind-body approach. Their findings and experiences with patients and clients are the basis of the program. Schubiner has written several books, including "Unlearn your Pain" and "Unlearn your Anxiety and Depression."

Structure: The program runs for 10 weeks and consists of weekly modules. It focuses exclusively on the mind-body approach, with inner child work, brain training, working through repressed emotions, explainer videos, therapeutic writing, meditations. One has access to a private Facebook group and the options to book therapists to join. The access is valid for one year. The program can be started at any time in self-study. It is aimed at people who, according to the understanding of the founders, have a mind-body syndrome, for example: ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, migraine, depression, anxiety disorders, interstitial cystitis.

Website:
https://www.freedomfromchronicpain.com/

Hal Greenham's story:
https://www.freedomfromchronicpain.com/my-story/

Success Stories:
https://www.freedomfromchronicpain.com/testimonials/

Experiences and more:
The program is based on Dr. John Sarno's work on Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS).
Thank you, Dr. Sarno:
http://www.thankyoudrsarno.org/
TMS Wiki:
https://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Success_Stories_by_Symptoms_&_Diagnoses

 

Gupta Program

Founder: Ashok Gupta. Gupta had ME/CFS himself and recovered through a holistic approach. He believes that syndromes like ME/CFS are based on a dysfunction of the fear center in the brain, the amygdala, and the so-called insula. The insula, also called the insular cortex, is important for the perception of bodily sensations. Both physical and emotional stressors permanently trigger the amygdala, which then activates the autonomic nervous system, causing symptoms.

Structure: The program is designed for people with ME/CFS, Long Covid, Fibromyalgia, MCS, MCAS, Chronic Pain Syndromes, anxiety disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO, POTS, adrenal fatigue and chronic lyme disease. Like the other programs, the core is brain training to stimulate brain neuroplasticity. Gupta uses learning videos, meditations, visualizations and psychological techniques. There is a free one-month trial. The whole program runs for at least 6 months. There is an option to add coaches.

Website:
https://www.guptaprogram.com/

Interview with Ashok Gupta (The Puzzle of Healing, The Chronic Comeback):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8fKuSszk70&list=UUWQg__9VeFL-DejXdkRFURQ&index=13
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg2v6RPA7bk

Success Stories:
https://www.guptaprogram.com/success-stories/

Experiences and more:
CFS Survivors:
https://cfs-survivors.org/blog/2020/03/03/review-of-the-gupta-program-for-chronic-health-conditions/

 

I can thrive

Founder: Jason McTiernan. McTiernan, like so many other founders, had ME/CFS, POTS and irritable bowel syndrome for 11 years. In order to get well again, he participated in a brain training program that helped and healed him furiously. He is a hypnotherapist and NLP trainer.

Structure: The program is designed to help people with ME/CFS, digestive problems, chronic pain syndromes, depression, anxiety disorders, etc. The program seems to focus only on brain training, but McTiernan provides little information. One can watch a webinar and then book a free 20-minute appointment with him.

Website:
https://icanthrive.com/

Jason McTiernan's story:
https://icanthrive.com/jason/
Raelan Agle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSEgDzlRlI4

Success Stories:
https://icanthrive.com/victory-stories/

Experiences and more: I am not aware of any at this time.

 

Lightning Process

Founder: Phil Parker. Parker is an osteopath, hypnotherapist, coach and NLP trainer. He has done a lot of research on the mind-body relationship and from that developed the program to help people with chronic illnesses. Parker has also written a book on the Lightning Process.

Structure: The Lightning Process focuses on the mind-body relationship and relies on brain training techniques. This is intended to stimulate the brain's neuroplasticity. The program starts with an online seminar, then you have to choose an LP trainer, attend a 3-day seminar, from then on you apply what you have learned on your own and can get further coaching if needed.

Website:
https://lightningprocess.com/

Success Stories:
Phil Parker's YutTube channel, testimonials:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fROsdZfEo9s&list=PLaNFstNp99BJU9j7Vv8lOKhVjPd9BWKdw

Experiences and more:
Heal with Liz:
https://healwithliz.com/jodies-inspiring-cfs-recovery-story/

 

My Vital Side Program

Founder: Lindsay Mitchell. A physician assistant and biologist by training, she herself struggled with lyme disease and other infections for years as a young adult. Brain training exercises and other things helped her get better. She is now also an NLP, EFT and TFT trainer.

Structure: Like the other programs, My Vital Side is oriented around brain training and neuroplasticity. It is designed to help people with a wide variety of syndromes such as ME/CFS, POTS, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, Long Covid, chronic lyme disease, anxiety disorders, depression, autoimmune disorders, etc. There are several courses that consist of learning videos and physical and mental exercises. If I understand correctly, there is a beginner course and the other courses require you to purchase a membership over a period of time.

Website:
https://myvitalside.mn.co/
More about the courses:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/MG1-2oYCKyQ

Success Stories:
Can be found on the website.

Experiences and more:
Are not known to me so far.

 

Primal Trust

Founder: Dr. Cathleen King. A U.S. physical therapist, King has had her own long journey with chronic infections, chronic fatigue and trauma. Brain training, trauma therapy and a holistic approach have helped her recover. She has compiled her findings in the Primal Trust program.

Structure: The program targets people with ME/CFS, Long Covid, PTSD, chronic infections, POTS, autoimmune and other conditions. It works very comprehensively and builds on different levels: Regulating, Integrating, Releasing. Through a variety of physical, emotional and mental techniques, one is to learn to regulate the nervous system, retrain the brain and find a meaningful life. Membership is required, which then provides access to coaches and a community in addition to the content. There are weekly question-and-answer sessions.

Website:
https://www.primaltrust.org/

Cathleen King's story:
Heal with Liz:
https://healwithliz.com/how-dr-cat-found-her-freedom-from-severe-cfs-and-lyme/
The Chronic Comeback:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcgPxi-upPs

Success Stories:
https://www.primaltrust.org/testimonials/

Experiences and more:
Haven't found any so far. I can only pass on from hearsay: Can be overwhelming due to the amount of content.

 

Reset Program

Founder: Alex Howard. British Howard is a psychologist, coach and founder of the fatigue clinic "Optimum Health Clinic." Howard had ME/CFS himself as a teenager and young adult and healed himself through a holistic approach based on functional medicine, brain training and psychological techniques. He has written the books "Decode your Fatigue" and "Why Me?: My Journey from ME to Health and Happiness."

Structure: this is a 12-week self-study with weekly modules. Howard puts a lot of emphasis on education, mindset, mindfulness, meditations, methods to change emotions and behaviors. This is brain training, too.

Website:
https://alexhoward.teachable.com/p/the-reset-program

Success Stories:
Alex Howard's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-17o35zmy8&list=PLV9_UwxKR5Fw215Svh95Cm5lwAwJ6Tz2M

Experiences and more:
I am not aware of anything about the program at this time. However, you can find many testimonials about the clinic. For example:
The Hope Boat:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2jfNcb_n0g

 

reset to thrive

Founder: Jan Rothney. The British woman had ME/CFS herself. She also wrote the book "Breaking free" and offers webinars.

Structure: The program is aimed at people with ME/CFS, long covid and fibromyalgia. It is composed of two parts and consists of numerous videos, webinars and 1:1 coaching with Jan Rothney. Details of the program can be found in a Word document.

Website:
https://www.resettothrive.co.uk/online-training-programme

Reverse Therapy

Founder: Dr. John Eaton. Eaton, a Briton, is a psychotherapist who offers coaching as a therapist in addition to self-study. He has written the book „Reverse Therapy“.

Structure: The Process of Reverse Therapy is designed to help people with chronic fatigue and chronic pain, especially fibromyalgia. The first thing Eaton recommends is to read his book - as a foundation for therapy. I couldn't find out much about his therapy. But Eaton has his own medical history behind him. The insights from that and from working with patients are core to the therapy. Eaton writes that ME/CFS is not psychosomatic, but stressors throw off the stress axis in the body. By listening to the body and its signals, he says, one can identify the stressors and heal.

Website:
https://www.reverse-therapy.com/

Success Stories:
https://www.reverse-therapy.com/videos

Experiences and more:
Although the information is sparse and seems a bit dated, Eaton's approach seems to make sense to me. Reading the book probably can't hurt.

 

SmartBody SmartMind Course

Founder: Irene Lyon. Lyon, a Canadian, is a Somatic Experiencing trainer, Feldenkrais instructor, body therapist, and fitness and nutrition consultant. She healed her own health issues and trauma through a body-based approach - directly at the nervous system level.

Structure: SmartBody-SmartMind is a 3-month live online program that takes place twice a year. This is about neuroplasticity and brain training on a physical level, not a psychological one. Lyon explains the basics of the nervous system, trauma and how it relates to chronic disease. You learn a wealth of exercises, and there are question-and-answer sessions and live support. The program is geared toward people with all kinds of syndromes that Lyon says are based on a maladaptive autonomic nervous system.

Website:
https://smartbodysmartmind.com/

Irene Lyon's story:
https://smartbodysmartmind.com/meet-irene

Success stories:
https://smartbodysmartmind.com/participant-stories/

Experiences and more:
Irene Lyon also offers a 3-week course that you can start at any time that targets the basics. It is called "21-day Nervous System Tune-up."
https://21daytuneup.com/

 

Bottom line: each program has pros and cons from my point of view and I have heard of people who have gotten well quickly with a program and those who have not. Of the programs mentioned here, I have done ANS Rewire, Freedom from Chronic Pain and 21-day Nervous system Tune-up and found them all very helpful. They had a different focus. However, I am one of those for whom none of the programs have brought full recovery. I use insights and tools from all the courses, programs, books, and other resources, plus trauma work, to get well.

I recommend reading this article from Liz Carlson:
https://healwithliz.com/read-this-before-considering-a-neuroplasticity-program/

 

Liz Carlson and Lindsay Vine have created a recovery programs guide (19 USD):

https://healwithliz.com/our-programs-guide-is-finally-here/

Some of the providers explicitly state that their program is based on science. From what I have found out about the programs, however, all of them actually have a scientific basis. This is because they are all based on the principle of neuroplasticity and use different methods of brain training. You can focus on the psychological level, the physical level, or both. What helps you best is very individual and depends on your life history and type, so what you respond to best.

Why is neuroplasticity key? Because syndromes like ME/CFS and many other chronic diseases are caused by a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system and an overdriven limbic system that are stuck in stress and survival mode. If the limbic system, which is part of our emotional brain, is overdriven, it judges not only signals from the body, mind and environment as dangerous, which are really dangerous, but also actually normal stimuli as danger. It thereby permanently activates the autonomic nervous system to go into survival mode. At some point, this mode becomes the new normal and the associated neural connections in the brain are used more and more. The brain learns to perceive all sorts of things as threats, for example symptom xy, exercise, or stress with the boss. If you want to get out of survival mode and back to a health-preserving balance, you have to reprogram the default mode from stress to recovery and safety through brain training.

Have you done one of the programs yourself and would like to contribute (anonymously, with your full or social media name) one or two sentences as an experience? Then feel free to contact me and I'll add it here in the post. Go to contact form

Translated with the help of DeepL

 

PS: Of course, I research and check everything I write here as well as possible. Nevertheless, I am only human and make mistakes. In addition, I may draw completely different conclusions as someone else would. Simply because they fit my story. But every story is different.

Important: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for talking to your doctor or other therapist. The content reflects my personal experiences, research and findings that have helped me and that I therefore want to share. However, in your personal case, completely different things may play a role and other things may help. Please talk to your doctor or therapist before making any decisions that affect your physical or mental health. Also important: I don't want to convince anyone of anything here. Rather, I want to point out possible ways that hopefully can help some people to improve or overcome their Fatigue or ME/CFS.