What is it: The Amygdala is a part of your amazing brain. It is composed of two almond shaped clusters which help to process your memories memory and emotional reactions.
Inspired by these little nut shaped chunks of grey matter a man by the name of Ashok Gupta has created a system called Amygdala Retraining Therapy (ART). The ART process utilises meditation, NLP, Hypnotherapy and specific psychological techniques to retrain the Amygdala and allow the body to recover from a state of disease.
Having used the system to recover his own health from CFS/ME he claims to have had great success treating others and various patient reports suggest he is on to something big.
Why do it: Ashok has developed a hypothesis that while an initial infection (or other event) usually triggers the onset of CFS/ME it is the ongoing subconsious response to these original symptoms which prolongs the presence of the illness. Ashok suggests this over arousal of the Amygdala causes the body to stay in a constant state of flight or fight and prohibits its ability to heal.
How Often: The ART program involves practicing the techniques daily for an average of at least 6 months before seeing lasting results. However it may take some people anywhere up to 2 years to completely reap the benefits.
My Thoughts & Experience: I bought Ashoks DVD programme over a year ago and have been keen to give it a go ever since. During this time I have completed the telephone psychology program with the Optimum Health Clinic which uses a very similar approach to Amygdala retraining. However just recently Ashok held a workshop on his new accelerator technique here in Melbourne and I went along. I was impressed. Ashok is a kind, insightful and engaging character who comes across as very passionate about ridding the world of CFS/ME.
But do his tools work?
Before approaching this question you need to ask yourself whether you believe:
1. CFS/ME is in the body.
2. CFS/ME is in the mind.
3. Or a combination of both.
Currently I go for option 3 and so was open to hearing what Ashok had to say. The big take away from the workshop for me was realising that I can in fact merge Ashoks ideas with my current understanding of CFS/ME. That is, while there are definitely physical imbalances in my immune system there also seem to be mental patterns which prohibit the rate of my recovery. Which basically comes back to my notion that in order to treat oneself completely you must heal the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of ones body (explored in more detail here).
In my opinion ART addresses the emotional and mental imbalances in an individual and while calming the nervous system may be enough for some, others seem to need nutritional support to see them return to optimal health. The magic in the process appears to be accessing and transforming subconscious thought patterns. This is achieved through calming the system through meditation, applying a process commonly known as a ‘Stop’ (whereby when you notice a symptom you suddenly pause and freeze it in its tracks) and also using N.L.P to retrain negative thought patterns that may be consistently cycling through your subconscious mind.
This approach isn’t for everyone. In fact many may be offended by the notion that ultimately this system suggests your mind is the primary culprit. But for those with an open mind, ready and willing to try something completely new and different this could be a very viable option. Personally I look forward to more thoroughly applying the methods and reaping the rewards myself. I will keep you posted.
Links: Ashoks website
In house Research: Results from a study Ashok has conducted into the effectiveness of his approach.