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Amygdala Retraining – Gupta Program Interview

Recently ive been hearing alot of people talk about “amydala retraining” for the treatment of CFS. Ashok Gupta, the creator of the Gupta Amygdala Retraining course, claims an 85% cure rate for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The DVDs cost $190 if you live in the U.S. He states that this treatment is not Cognative Behavioral Therapy, Reverse Therapy, or Pacing Therapy.

The course teaches techniques combine Neuro-Liguistic Programming, meditation practices, and yogic techniques that help to retrain the amygdala which he says may have been damaged in cases of chronic fatigue syndrome. He believes that a physical, chemical or emotional stressors may cause sympathetic nervous system overstimulation and lead to the mental and physical exhaustion seen in CFS patients.

I wasnt sure what the Gupta DVDs were all about, so i emailed the The Gupta Program and they provides me with some answers to my questions.

“Thank you for your email. Here are the answers to your questions:

You claim a high success rate when treating CFS, how many people do you think have been successfully treated?

- We have successfully treated over two hundred people with the condition in the last few years. We launched the DVD programme in September, and we have had hundreds more people buy the programme, and have given us a lot of positive feedback.

How is this course different than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or psychotherapy, which has many peer reviewed studies that have already been conducted for treatment of CFS?

- This programme of treatment is very different to CBT or psychotherapy. CBT is based on a very different underlying causal model for CFS, as well as different techniques to help. The Gupta Programme is unique in both its underlying hypothesis for causation, as well as the novel tools and techniques used to “retrain the amygdala”. Many of my patients who are using the programme have already undergone CBT or psychotherapy, but find the Gupta Programme very different and much more powerful. (See attached article)

What is Ashok Gupta’s medical background?
- Ashok Gupta is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Practitioner of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). In terms of the medical background, Ashok is self-taught, and has spent many years of self-study in the fields of brain neurology and physiology. This culminated in the publishing of his medical paper in a peer reviewed medical journal in 2002.(Attached)

Have there been any follow-up studies? Do the beneficial effect last after a period of months, years?

- We are currently conducting an initial pilot study, which will be complete within a month and will be published. This is showing that approx 85% of patients significantly improved, and 70% of patients reached “full-functioning”, which means they are 80-100% better. We believe that if this was confirmed in an independent trial, this would make this treatment the most successful treatment for ME and CFS currently available. The study is a one year study with one year follow-ups, but we will be updating the study every year to show that there are long term results. We hope that publishing this study will encourage funding of a larger independent study this year.

Kind regards
The Gupta Programme ”

***Note – There is alot of discussion in the comment section, i made a special section of the forum to discuss the gupta program.

So if you have a comment or question – ask it here:
Gupta Programme Forum


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93 Responses to “Amygdala Retraining – Gupta Program Interview”

  1. JR says:

    Hi all. I emailed Ashok a while back about my questions regarding the amygdala and chemical sensitivity, as well as the feeling that I still have trouble with detoxing properly (rashes, chemical taste in mouth, etc). Thought some of you might find his response helpful, so I’m including it here, without any changes:

    “- yes, MCS I believe is essentially learned sensitivity via the amygdala. It is quite an accepted role of the amygdala in CFS.You have to be patient with these things, they will go in their own time once the body becomes stronger and stronger. So any reactions you are getting, you need to keep up the retraining techniques and be patient, they will go over time in my experience

    - in terms of detox, there is a very simple explanation. Detox occurs when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, However, in CFS it is hardly activated because of the amygdala’s stimulation, therefore this explains the physical observations”

    This helped me to wrap my brain around the problem, because I feel like I can throw myself fully into the amygdala retraining, without feeling that I’m neglecting an important factor ie. toxicity. I don’t think this means that you can’t still do things to support your body’s detox system, but maybe others will take the opportunity to ask Ashok to explain this further.

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for relaying that information, JR.

    Great questions.

    Brian

  3. Viv says:

    I spoke to Ashok this morning about the over anxiety reaction and he was most helpful. Like others, I have spent loads of money on different things in order to get better, but I feel fully convinced that this is going to make a difference. Although I am having to modify the process I can see and feel changes happening. As I’ve had ME for over 40 years it is a bit of a shock to the system to experence “well” sensations. Ashok has thought carefully about providing after care and covering all aspects which may arise during the programme, which can’t be said of other avenues I’ve been down.
    I’m going to carry on and hope tobe able to post encouraging and helpful info in the future.

    Viv

  4. Tricia says:

    I have never been on a blog before but as ever with CFS, there are a lot of firsts! The reason I’m here is to encourage anyone who is on the Gupta programme or those hesitating about starting it.

    - I am nearly 62 started CFS Nov 2001 when working 4 days/week. Eventually stopped work.
    - Went to nutritionist & like many of you tried various therapies – acupuncture, food allergy. A vega machine operator helped enormously & over time, I improved quite a lot to the point where I was gardening freely (i.e. not taking the timer out with me to stop me after 20 minutes because that was the limit I had built up to before resting for an hour or so)

    In February 2003 I broke my leg quite badly and was on crutches for 3 months – my poor husband was back to doing everything for me again. Gradually I learnt to walk again and I felt fine – super Christmas and 2006 was great. In the autumn I resumed a distance learning course I had started, together with a local course to help the DL course and suddenly all those frightening symptoms returned … I was devastated and mentally completely depleted. The Vega machine didn’t do anything and I spent Nov, Dec, Jan in bed. Like many of you I had
    - electro magnetic stress – hid the remote phones, limited computer use
    - myriad of digestive disturbances – lots of pills
    - usual head fog and appalling sleep patterns
    - any outing followed by days in bed however well planned beforehand
    - tried to prepare potatoes and other veg in snatches throughout the day so husband had less to cook at night on his return from work

    As usual the garden helped and music, so I concentrated on those when I could and improved somewhat over the summer. I had heard of Ashok through the AfME mag and phoned him – and wondered whether to go to London. Still I hesitated. As autumn approached I almost feared November. Finally I took the plunge and bought the programme in November.

    Because Ashok has had CFS he knows all the symptoms and feelings and it is all recognised in the programme. I felt improvement after 2 weeks – like a weight lifting. 2 weeks before Christmas my mother fell ill with that awful virus ……. I went (unthinkable before) plus the CD to listen to & tools to do. It was fine. I came back for the w/end and returned the following week (2 hour drive) and then it was Christmas which was wonderful. (I continuously used the tools)

    - Jan 2008 – stopped all digestive pills – joined gym (2/3 x week)
    - Feb – got lazy – symptoms more apparent – redoubled efforts on programme – fine again
    - March – lots of gardening and walking
    - April – walked 7 miles – felt fine
    - May – husband retired.
    - June – sailing in Turkey with friends!

    Needless to say life throws up different/new situations and returning to normal life is a challenge in itself but with the tools and techniques it is all possible. Recovery is not linear but has dips to be recognised and not be frightened of. Whereas the challenge used to be to plan any outing with almost military precision – that has gone. I have just had the house full of friends and cooked for them all – unimaginable last year. Sorry this is so long

    It is a remarkable programme full of helpful, constructive information. Try it!
    Actually it’s 11.00 am Sunday!

  5. GAYLE says:

    I started the Gupta programme 3 weeks ago. I have had CFS for 18 months. For the past year I have been visiting a naturopath. I have not worked since April ‘08. I have continued seeing my naturopath weekly for electro-magnetic therapy- to help heal the body. She also tests hair for food intolerances and how well the organs/glands in the body are functioning. I have been and still am taking a large number of natural supplements and also homeopathic remedies. Also, I have been having acupuncture weekly to strengthen my immune system and balance my hormones. Since May I attend a weekly session of spiritual healing because I feel it gives me a boost.
    I have been fortunate to be a patient of a great naturopath and acupunture Chinese Doctor. My treatments and supplements have cost me a lot of money but I have continued because I saw improvements.
    My Naturopath has told me for months that my body is getting everything it needs to heal but something is not ‘clicking in’! She suspected it may be something in my subconscious mind. I have tried all the positive thinking, affirmations and meditation for months but still they were not enough.
    Then 3 weeks ago I started the Gupta programme. On day one I saw a an improvement. The chinese Doctor who I see weekly for acupuncture says that the energy is flowing better through my body and I have improved 50% in 3 weeks!
    I will have my next hair test next week and on those results hope to reduce my supplements successfully and I am hoping to return to work in the next month or so.
    On the subject of lymphatic drainage, my naturopath has prescrbed for me ‘LYM’ formula from specialist herbal supplies in the u.k which helps.
    I have found the Gupta programme amazing but I still believe that my body required supplements and treatments to help the healing process.
    My naturopath and chinese acupunture Doctor have both asked for the programmes details to pass on to other patients.
    I have avoided conventional medicine and prescription drugs during my illness because I feel they are of no real benefit.
    I think all CFS patients would benefit from food intolerance testing by a naturopath because you are likely to be reacting to foods which causes CFS-LIKE symptoms. I was amazed to discover how accurate hair testing is for such problems after working for the past 17 years in a pathology laboratory.
    Please try the programme, I am amazed at my transformation so far. (perhaps my progress has been rapid because my body is supported with supplements/treatments).

    good luck

  6. Nora says:

    This blog is great! It so inspiring to read about other people’s experiences.
    I’ve used the Gupta Programme with some success for the last 5 months, but unfortunately I was half-hearted about getting better because I sometimes got symptom-free and then I didn’t do the process enough. I KNOW that the programme works but one has to be committed.
    My main problem now is to make the positive image vivid enough and really take the “well feeling” aboard when I’m experiencing heart racing,extreme dizziness and muscle contractions. It totally feels like my conscious mind is being arrested, just as Gupta says. And it is easy to get bogged down about it all thinking it doesn’t work so why bother. But I’ve noticed that if I get back on the horseback and just DO the process no matter what the symptoms fade somewhat. I believe that Gupta’s explanation to what is going on in the mind and body is the right one. Unfortunately the pacing-thing which I first tried is just feeding the fear, but it’s hard to stop being afraid of the symptoms. It’s a mental challenge to me more than anything else and I have to work really hard to take control of that automatic fear response. Sometimes I succeed and it lowers, sometimes I don’t. Still, with time I think I can get more in control of my own reactions.

  7. Don Baken says:

    Hi,

    I just thought I would give an early update.

    We looked at the initial DVDs over the web and so my wife ina way started the philosphy of the programme about 2-3 weeks ago. She then looked at the first ‘treatment’ dvd friday about 11 days ago. I could not believe that we had such a good weekend. Previous weekends it had been like my wife was not home at the weekend becasue she was in bed all the time. My wife has continued to improve and she said last night that she had felt about a 20% improvement. She would now put herself at 30-40%.

    She has had ME for 10-12 years
    It started after/during preganancy.
    Weve tried lots of things. Some things have worked initially and then faded away. It will be interesting to see if this does the same. We are just enjoy8ng each good day we have.

    I just thought it would be good to share. It is hard not to get excited.

    Don

  8. Ken says:

    This great to hear Don – long may it continue.
    I’ve just been through a worrying dip in my upward curve but I seem to be coming right again.
    Ken

  9. Don Baken says:

    Hi Ken

    We are very greatful for your contact and encouragement to give it a try. We have tried other things and they have helped initially but then we have gone backwards. At the moment we are greatful for every good day.

    I am pleased you are moving upwards again.

    Don

  10. steven says:

    hi there. thanks for all the comments. i’ve just ordered the program and will let you know the results. i just wanted to talk about the detox stuff and perrin questions that brian was talking about.

    perrin has actually published a book called the perrin technique. in it he gives a comprehensive exploration of his theories around chronic fatigue. he also lists a massage procedure and self-help exercises he advises patients to do on his protocol. i rang his centre and they advised me that he wouldn’t advise doing them unsupervised but it might give you an idea about where he’s coming from. he runs a short training program for osteopaths to train in his technique so there is a possibilty it might make it over to the states yet. in fact on his website it says that a list of north america practitioners is coming soon so it might be worth contacting them to ask if you’re interested. it’s http://www.theperrinclinic.com

    also interesting to read ashok’s comments on the parasympathetic nervous system detoxing the body. this fits in with things i learnt from cognitive behavioural therapy whilst dealing with ocd.

  11. Ren says:

    Hi,i’m Ren from italy.Doesn’t match with the discussion but is there anyone who tried EFT tecnique?

  12. GAYLE says:

    Hi Ren, I tried the EFT technique for only a few weeks with no relief. I wonder if the best EFT results are seen with things like phobias?
    The most impressive technique I have used is the Gupta programme. I have used it for 2 months and initially seen a huge improvement. I am just coming out of a dip where I seemed to catch every virus around but apparently that is to be expected until my immune system gets sronger.

  13. steven says:

    hi everyone. i’ve been working with the program now for a week. i just saw a question from connie to ashok that i thought might benefit from an outside party contributing to. this is to do with spirituality and yoga.

    it is clear to me that some of the exercises in the program come from or are inspired by yoga. however, these do not require belief in a particular religious system. the techniques i’m thinking of are a breathing exercise, mindfulness and meditation. in all cases they are techniques that help to work with the mind and body. whilst yoga has connections from Hinduism it is also a repository of various techniques to work with the mind and body.

    i do not follow a Hindu belief system and have not felt that i need to compromise any of my religious beliefs to follow the program.

    what i do feel is that i have learnt some techniques that will support me in the main training exercises in the program to move towards health.

    hope that helps. it was something i was a little concerned with before i ordered the program but those fears proved unfounded.

  14. SJF says:

    I just wanted to thank those of you who have continued to comment on this matter as it is so beneficial to the rest of us to hear of your experiences.

    I have been doing Ashoks program for about two months now. My progress has been very up and down and quite frankly, I am often discouraged. It has helped me to read about those who are succeeding and also those who are struggling too. I want to say that I have not been as religious about catching every fearful thought(I admittedly have a lot of them) as I should be and that may be impeding my progress but I want to encourage those of you who are doing this to do your very best to incorporate the techniques as much as possible and don’t give up because truly the lives of others are being effected by your experiences and (not to add to the “stress” that we are trying to avoid)I think that almost adds responsibility to all of us who are doing the program to give it our best, to stick it out and to be completely honest about our journey.

    And please keep posting. I really would like to know who some of you are doing now.

  15. Ken says:

    SJF – Don’t even consider not keeping up with the program. Some people don’t improve much for a considerable time and do use the Stop technique every time you get a negative thought not just a fearful one and that means just feeling tension in the body and well as straight out negative thoughts. I sometimes get fed up of doing the Stop but I keep it up because I know it works. I’ve had two or three set backs but so far I’ve always improved again. I use the S and F technique a lot and find it helps me.
    Hope that helps you.
    Ken

  16. JSS says:

    I’m in a dip at the moment – lots of anxiety, pounding heart, irregular heartbeats, poor sleep – and this after a time when things were going fairly smoothly. No significant physical improvement though, after ~3 months.

    But something that has changed recently is my sensitivity to noise. I’ve always had it as part of my ME but over the past few weeks it’s become much worse. I’m now physically flinching at sudden sounds and I can feel my ear muscles twitch as if they’re trying to direct my ears towards a noise – like a dog’s ears do. Since this ear-muscle twitch is a non-conscious action, does anyone have any opinion as to whether it’s a good idea to use the retraining technique directly on it?

  17. Brian says:

    JSS

    My opinion is to use the technique on it. It sounds like you have a lot of anxiety which the program should help with. Every time you have a this flinching reaction…or thoughts about it…I would use the STOP technique. And the meditation in general to calm down your nervous system, which is on overdrive.

    Best of luck.
    Brian

  18. JL says:

    Hi JSS,

    Not an answer to your question but I’m wondering:
    1.if you have any improvements so far?
    2.Not sure if you’re saying that since you’ve been using this technique that some symptoms have got worse? If so have you asked Ashok if he has anyone else 3 months in who has mainly negatives and if so what would he advise/what worked for them?
    3. Or perhaps you are saying other factors have lead to an increase in symptoms?

    A couple of points that are likely my special quirks but might trigger some thoughts for you. Firstly I should say I’ve been using most of the techniques in this course for many years, though obviously didn’t call them ’stop’ S&F etc.
    - Historically the optimal time for me to do alternate nostril breathing has been 11am-midday. Per the protocol suggestions i tried after breakfast a few times and it definitely stresses my body/organs then, so for anyone who susbcribes to holistic health clearly non-ideal. Perhpas when I ‘m healthier earlier will be perfect but not now.
    - I have Electromagnetic Sensitivity so listening to meditatations on DVDs, even when some distance away (proximity is key with EMS)has not been a relaxing experience, more a stressing one. Also some parts of the meditiation jar with me, so I’ve returned to meditations I previously used which give me a deeper, harmonious mediation and more quickly too.

    Perhaps you’ll find things you can tweek? Perhaps Ashok can help? From his DVDs he recognises that whilst his technique has the broadest success, there variations that improve for others.

    Good Luck
    JL

  19. JR says:

    Hello everyone. Just wanted to give an update, for those of you who are following such things. I started the program over 9 months ago, at which point I had been completely bedbound with a severe CFS relapse for 6+ months, unable to feed myself, needing to use a bedside commode, since I was too weak to walk the 6 feet to the bathroom. I had lost a lot of muscle tone, being immobile for so long, so my progress is perhaps slower than many. But I’m so much better than I was and my life looks very different now. I attribute most of this to my understanding of how my amygdala has played a starring role in this drama of mine. I had used some “stopping techniques” of my own in the past, but the Gupta Program really clarified and brought things together for me. It’s really turned my life around, even though I haven’t been totally consistent in doing the meditations or stopping techniques all the time. I feel like I’ve sort of developed my own way of stopping and redirecting my thought patterns when I notice something that feels like fear or anxiety…basically anything a “normal” person wouldn’t think. When I notice a symptom or something that kicks in my anxiety, I like to shrug my shoulders and say nonchalantly “I’m not doing that”. It works for me, most of the time. I think the nonchalance is important though. You have to maintain this attitude of “oh, whatever!” in order for the amygdala to start to understand that these symptoms are not dangerous.

    So…at this point… I can get around the house on my own, though still have to pace. I’m selling my walker and almost never use the wheelchair. I can bathe myself, eat by myself, and do a few small chores around the house. My sweetie and I have been able to go out to the theater a few times, and I go out to restaurants regularly, without a wheelchair. I do still get dropped near the door and try to get a table without too much walking. I see improvements on a daily basis in my muscle strength and stamina, and try to be satisfied with the pace of things…even though I sometimes get frustrated and wish it were faster. When that happens, I try to remind myself of the very great distance that I’ve come. I continue to feel like I have issues with feeling “toxic”. I don’t feel like I have a “trained amygdala reaction” to chemicals, however I do find that if I’m around certain chemicals, after a little while, I start to feel sick, have a chemical taste in my mouth, itching, etc. Ashok’s explanation makes sense to me…that when the amygdala is in high gear, we can’t detox as well…so for now, I’m doing things to support my body’s detox system until it can do it successfully on it’s own.

    For those of you who are too weak to do all of the program, don’t worry about it. It was really effective for me, just doing the protocol in my head. Give it time, and try to stay calm when the dips come. I had them a lot in the first few months, but not very much any more. Don’t push yourself, as this just creates more anxiety…just let things unfold as they will.

  20. Don Baken says:

    Hi all,

    Just an update on our situation.

    My wife has been using the programme for about 5 weeks. The improvement continues to come although a little slower now. We continue to be amazed at what she can do. We have two daughters who also have ME and so are about to start them on it.

    Don

  21. admin says:

    ***Note – Im going to try closing the comments here so we can move the discussion to the gupta section on the forum

    So if you have a comment or question – ask it here:
    http://www.chronicfatiguetreatments.com/forums/gupta-programme-vf11.html

    Ashok stops by sometimes and answers questions, so i think it will be much better.

  22. admin says:

    Ok, commments are enabled again. But give the forum a try, it would be much easier to read on the forum.;)
    http://www.chronicfatiguetreatments.com/forums/gupta-programme-vf11.html

  23. susan cross says:

    Dear Ashok,

    I was talking with a friend the other day who commented on how well I look and I thought I should just say yet again, thank you. I am so incredibly well I have to say. I am now back at the gym four to five times per week. I am back at university doing courses, I am out in the garden as well as walking for further exercise! AMAZING! My husband is even hoping I will get out on the bike . . . . . . hmmm. Don’t enjoy cycling.

    I find myself occasionally ‘body scanning’ so I go through the ‘routine’ and voila I’ve not had a dip now for MONTHS!

    I heard through a friend that another person was put onto you (indirectly through me) who is now back at work. This man was in a dreadful state and unable to function. To think he is back to normal is great – all through YOU!

    Ashok, I know I’m perhaps being a bit over-the-top in my kuddos but you know how great it is to get your life back.

    So, from a sunny and warm Perth, Australia.

    Regards

    Susan Cross

  24. Mike says:

    Ashok Gupta is nothing more than a entrepeneur trying to make money. Do some research on him this guy is running a Corporate Training Company and a Stress Management Clinic as well as a Speed Dating Service. What a joke this guy is. Or wait a minute is the joke really on all of us.

  25. Pilgrim says:

    Most people have to earn a living, so I don’t begrudge Ashok that. I think his programme is extremely reasonably priced for what you get. He’s helped me change from a bedridden invalid with no life at all, to a happy, healthier person with everything to live for. I’m glad he’s putting energy into the things he does well, and helping so many people in the process.

  26. Tamara Lewis says:

    Below is an article I wrote about Ashtok Gupta’s program:

    There’s been a lot of interest, and of course questions, in the CFIDS community about this new form of treatment called Amygdala Retraining by Ashtok Gupta. I have listened to the DVDs and employed some of the techniques over the last three months and would like to share my thoughts. I am a psychotherapist of 20+ years and also taught psychology classes at a Seattle graduate program for 4 years, so I bring to this program an understanding from that lens. I have also had CFIDS for 18 years and have achieved about 75% recovery (depending on what day you ask me!).

    First I want to say that I like Ashtok. He is sincere, very positive and encouraging and a CFIDS survivor himself. His enthusiasm is contagious—and I am a hard sell. He is a kind and patient teacher.

    My first thought when listening to his introduction was about what a relatively short time he had (yes, past tense—so question mark went up in my mind right away). I wondered if he had the same depth of brain damage and debilitation that those of us who have suffered much longer have. But listening to his experience, it does sound like he had it. But are treatment approaches more effective for people who are in the early stages? The jury is out, but I admit that was my first question mark.

    Regardless, Ashtok has done his homework and has packaged a comprehensive and well-thought out treatment program. There has been some negative reaction among the community that he is an entraupenuer. So what! Innovators like Ashtok are often motivated by wanting to make a living from their innovation.
    I want to make a living as a musician and no one would think there is anything wrong with that. Also, Ashtok spent a lot of money producing a quality DVD and he keeps it very affordable.
    Right now you can get it for about $200. A steal.

    Also, this man has put his money where his mouth is: he offers a money back guarantee if after 6 months you are not satisfied with your experience. I am a singer/songwriter and am often interviewed about my path from illness to music and I always take the opportunity to educate the public about CFIDS and to speak honestly about the suffering due to both symptoms and people’s unwitting cruelty due to ignorance and fear. Ashtok saw an article about me in a UK publication and contacted me in order to offer his program to me for free with hopes that I might some day speak about my experience with it—“no strings attached, however.” That certainly shows how much he believes in his produce as it just as easily could also have turned out that I could go public with an unfavorable critque. But that is not my conclusion.

    Over my years with CFIDS, I have used many of his techniques, so many are nothing new to me, but the comprehensive way he offers a synthesis of approaches is worth the money to anyone who has not developed any or even just some of it’s disciplines.

    The first thing he teaches about is from what you would call in my business Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This includes what is called Thought Stopping. Ashtok teaches people to be aware of their anxious, negative or even destructive thought patterns about the illness that he believes serve to keep the up-regulated brain in over-drive. I certainly agree with him that there are stress hormones racing through our bodies a lot of the time and that the source of this is a dysregulation in the brain—and I have learned from him that the part of the brain that is damaged is called the amygdala. Prior to his program I assumed that was permanent damage, but part of his program is his heartfelt belief that this can be retrained and corrected.

    Thought-stopping is basically when we are aware of anxious thoughts or negative beliefs about CFIDS we are simply to say “stop, stop, stop.” He adds a full protocol to follow that type of thought and in my business, that is called Cognitive Restructuring. He believes that changing these thoughts rewires the brain.
    And for any of you familiar with “the secret” any other paradigms of the power of thought, you will also recognize the paradign that is about the power of thought.

    The next step in the core of his protocol is then visualization of being well. This can be a tough one if symptoms are crushing and also if you have had the illness a heartbreaking number of years.
    However, I do believe in the power of visualizing. At the very least it can turn around your mood afterwards and can instill an image of the possibility of a brighter future. After all, the CFIDS Association has always maintained that “most people get better over time.” But Ashtok takes it one step further and says his program can speed up the recovery process. And while I am skeptical, he also states that CFIDS can be healed. Only time and the dedication of PWC’s will tell.

    He offers other valuable stress management and relaxation techniques such as a yoga breathing and mindfulness meditation. He believes both of these things help correct the brains dysfunction. I think he could be right.

    The form of meditation he teaches is also called Insight Mediation or the Indian word for it, Vipassana. I have studied and practiced this form of meditation for many years and can speak to its value. One thing it can help with is to increase our awareness of how we clench our bodies and how to let go. This can lead to us being more fully in our bodies and increase attunement and paradoxically show us that we are more than just our bodies.

    Also of tremendous value, which he does not speak to as much, is that meditation increases our insight (hence the name) of our thought patterns. I learned that most of my mind’s time went toward “remembering (mournful thoughts), worrying or planning, depending on which stage of recovery I was in. So, this discipline can then help us be much more aware, when we aren’t meditating, of the thoughts that we need to apply his protocol to.

    I have only a couple of critiques. The first is his belief that we need to focus less on the body and do less body scanning. But I think there is an important distinction to be made. I don’t believe it helps at all to obsess about the body, especially if the consequence is creating anxious thoughts about it. But I am completely convinced that it was (and is) my own highly honed attunement to my body that helped me gain so much recovery. First of all, it helped me to know what treatments helped and what did not. But more importantly, my devotion to my body helped me become clear about my true level of energy on any given day (which for a few years was NONE) and ultimately how to function within that box so as not to be constantly tapping my reserves. The CFIDS Association has always labeled this “lifestyle change.” Lord, that always annoyed me. More like “lifestyle destroyed.” Nonetheless, I think it is key.

    There is a psychologist named Phil Colinge, I think it is.
    I can’t be postive about that spelling as my book seems to always be on permanent loan to other PWC’s. He put forth a theory he calls “the 50% solution.” He takes the role of “resting” and “lifestyle change” to a whole new level. He states that we should never expend more than 50% of our day’s allotted energy so that we never hit what I call “the wall” and what he calls depleting your reserves, instead reserved energy can go toward healing. As we all know, many times life’s necessities makes this impossible. Still, for me, it was an invaluable way of thinking about it—and believing that every time I honored my fatigue as a sign it brought me one tiny step toward recovery.

    One fine point with which I do not agree is Ashtok’s statement that the core of our sleep disorder is anxious thoughts. No way, baby.
    I am basically a fairly calm person. My sleep disorder is a CNS problem—several times a night it’s as if someone has entered the room and turned on the lights shouting “time to get up!!”
    Sometimes I THEN get an anxious thought like “Crap, I am going to be wiped out for my gig tonight,” but that is not the core problem. The chicken (the CNS problem) definitely comes before the egg (anxious thoughts) in my case, and many others who I know.

    I don’t have negative thoughts about CFIDS very often anymore.
    I get anxious about my finances (dismal) and about the music business, but not about CFIDS. This would NOT have been the case the first 10 years and so Ashtok’s protocol would have been more helpful for me back then. I highly recommend getting a handle on these thoughts. Having said that, Ashtok did remind me of the things I used to do that helped. Once I began turning the corner, though, I couldn’t wait to get away from all the things that constituted my “treatment,” but was actually a way of life.
    Mind you, I didn’t throw caution to the wind and turn into an idiot about CFIDS, but I did move away, a bit, from various disciplines
    that I was sick to death of like yoga and meditation.

    But Ashtok has renewed my commitment to these things and made me believe, once again, that “everything I do helps.” Nice.
    So here’s how my daily life has changed as a consequence of this DVD program:

    1. I Drink more water (so simple and yet so important)
    2. Do morning yoga stretches (a gentle way to reintroduce yourself to your body and to calm yourself and keep yourself limber)
    3. A brief meditation in the AM and sometimes another at night
    4. I have renewed my awareness of how I clench my body and now I say “relax and let go.”
    5. When I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like I won’t fall back to sleep, I tell myself “rest is almost as good as sleep” and because I have not worked myself up, I am more apt to fall back to sleep.
    6. Due to a different discipline of energy work I began two years ago, I also soak my feet in salt water and lavender tincture every night. I was taught that this removes the days “negative energies” from the energy body. I have been profoundly helped by energy work and I strongly recommend it. There are many different forms. My practitioner practices what is called Pranic Healing. For me it’s been nothing short of a miracle—after I’d basically given up that I would ever make further gains.

    Perhaps the best thing Ashtok is doing for me is renewing my commitment to myself and given me some hope that I can still move forward. Even after 18 years of this illness. I think that’s well worth the price of the DVD.

  27. Brian says:

    This is extremely valuable feedback, given your feedback. Please continue to update your progress. It will be very helpful. Thanks.

  28. Brian says:

    Extremely valuable, given your background, rather.

  29. Sue says:

    I have been on the Gupta programme for 4 months now and my family can see the changes although I still want to 100% fit. I have to keep asking myself to wait. It is easy to follow and can be used in every day life. You do need to give yourself at least 3 half hour breaks every day for the meditations(not hard for the CFS patient) and you should watch at least 2 sessions a week ranging from 5 mins to 1 1/2 hours but you choose.

    I am a wife with 2 children and no other assistance so cannot give up all the ’shoulds and musts’ so perhaps that is why it is taking me longer to recover but I will plod on because there is nothing else out there for me (that I can afford). At the very least I am now sleeping better.

    I do think you need to give up work and any other stresses in your life if you can. but this programme is showing me I can move on and although the dips come I am starting to learn how to get out of them.

    Ashok gives an email address which I have used for a couple of questions I had and as far as I know he has answered them personnally. He has also given me the name of a lovely lady who has fully recovered from CFS using this programme. I have spoken to her for extra guidance and more importantly, encouragement.

    For anyone thinking of buying this programme I would say go for it. It isn’t difficult, you have probably given up loads anyway so won’t find it difficult to ‘fit it in’. BUT don’t expect instant results.

  30. Emerald says:

    Hi,

    its been a while since i last posted about my progress.

    I am continuing to get stronger. I no longer suffer panic and anxiety which has improved my life hugely.
    I now use body sprays and hair products with no ill effects, and have introduced foods in to my diet that i was unable to eat before starting the AR programme.
    My sleep patterns are greatly improved, i now sleep all night every night – its pure bliss.

    I still use the Soften and Flow daily, not because i feel unwell but because its my part of the day where i can relax and have `quiet` time. Using the S&F makes me feel good about myself so i want to keep on feeling that way. I use the meditation and visualisation techniques 2+ times a week. I have no plans to stop using the programme as yet – i do enjoy using it and it has become part of my normal routine.

    Im not completely symptom free but the symptoms that do crop up are manageable and dont knock me off my feet. I dont sleep thru the day anymore, I dont get that exhaustion that i got before. I tire around mid day but as i wake at 7am, do the breakfasts, school run, walk the dog for an hour and then return to do house chores for an hour or so – its no wonder i tire.. After lunch i pick up energy and im ready for the afternoon.

    I took the kids on a break in the last school holidays which was really something i never expected to be able to do. I had taken them on holiday twice while ill but it was a complete nightmare. By the time we arrived id be so ill my mum had to see to the kids until the return trip home. Id take many months to recover again – none of that this time, my mum stayed home and i had sole charge of the break.
    We had a wonderful time doing the things that used to be a long forgotten dream. Up at 8am to a full day of sight seeing and in bed by 10 pm all happy and ready for the next adventure..

    I cant begin to put into words how much our lives have changed.

    Had someone have told me a year ago that i would be living this life – id have said they were crazy. After being ill for over a decade i didnt think my life would get any better. I didnt believe for a second that id ever be shot of the bedroom and all its trappings. I was turning 40 and ever so upset about living the rest of my life as i had for the previous 12 yrs, in pain, in bed and with no one to talk to but the dog (when the kids were at school)
    and nothing to look forward to but more of the pain, emptiness and imprisonment that m.e/cfs brought.
    I couldnt stand the thought of living the rest of my life the same way. Not that i felt i was living, merely existing !

    Thankfully i began the AR the week before my birthday so my 40th year has been one of the very best of my life. I am living again – and i love it

    (thank you Ashok)

    I would recommend the Amygdala Retraining Programme to every sufferer.

    Best of Luck Everyone
    x

  31. Darlene says:

    I believe I developed cfs as a result of withdrawal from Xanax. If you read about the drug on wikipedia you’ll see symptoms similar to cfs (fatigue, food intolerances, chemical sensitivities). I’m just wondering if it’s pharmaceutical withdrawal causing all this. And to Brian who wants to be free from sleeping pills, I’d bite the bullet on that one. I believe the body overcompensates the effects of pharms, so sleeping pills ultimately contribute to your sleeping problems, in my opinion. And it takes forever to detox them out of your system! I know my anxiety shot up after Xanax — and I only took about three pills a month for about three years! That’s all it took to build up in my body. I used to run, but had to stop because it released Xanax into my system, followed by intense withdrawal fatigue for days! And now drugs are in our water. Lord help us. My mother who took sleeping pills for several years developed ALS. Couldn’t help but notice we both suffered from muscle atrophy after taking a drug. I’ve been going the holistic route to cure myself with some success, but I believe I’m going to try this program as well. It definately sounds up my alley and it’s cheaper than going to a therapist considering the state of U.S. healthcare these days. I’ll let you all know how it works.

  32. Sue says:

    I have been on the Gupta programme for 5 months now and feel ’stable’ enough to cut down on the anti depressants. It is really hard to cope with the side effects of withdrawal when you feel ill anyway but I came to the conclusion (rightly or wrongly) that I could not retrain my mind when it was full of drugs. Anyone got any ideas on this?

  33. Red Rosa says:

    I have been really encouraged by the comments on this site. I have been using the Gupta Programme for 6 weeks and have a word of warning. I started to improve and badly misjudged what I was capable of and am having a pretty bad CFS dip at the moment!

    I have had CFS for 11 years and was housebound and bedbound for the first 9. My symptoms included brainfog, being in a “bubble”, palpitations and tachcardia, swollen glands, flueyness as well as sleep disturbance, sever pain and fatigue. All very scary!

    I have always beleived there was a problem in my brain which was causing the symptoms and Ashok’s theory is certainly one which sounds likely to me.

    Just being reassured that the anxiety and symptoms were nothing to fear and having the way the amygdala works explained were enough to make a small improvement almost immediately. I had tried the Mikel Reverse Therapy which was a comppete waste of time and (a lot) of money. Plus the therapist made some pretty dodgy comments about my personal life.

    I appreciate the fact that there is a money back gurantee on the programme as many CFS therapies are beyond the pocket of those of us on benefits. There is a similar therapy being offered by Alex Howard but it is extremely expensive.

    I have started to laugh at my symptoms instead of getting into such a state I thought I was having a heart attack and would end up in A & E (where the doctors were very unsympathetic).

    I would recommend this and it’s the only thing of all the many many therapies I have tried that I would.

    I will be keeping people updated of my progress.

  34. BlueWillow says:

    Glad to have found this site! I heard of the Gupta Programme today and watched all of the videos that were free online and my gut reaction… it does not sit right with me. When I look at this man I just can’t see someone who has truly had CFS. I don’t know, he just seems awfully young and smooth and smug.

    I was left with the impression he was a medical doctor? He spoke of his years ‘in medical school’, but now I read here he is “a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Practitioner of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)” ?

    In fact, I was laughing through the videos that it seemed like he was trying to hypnotize, the way he kept peacefully droning on in that kindly voice… without getting to any real details. He drags out very little amounts of information over and over for a long period of time. His assessment of what happens in CFS is a pretty safe one. The whole 3rd “session” is just testimonials. (Boy, folks, testimonials are a dime a dozen for CFS!) Then you find it will cost you $190 to find out the secret “amygdala retraining.” Hmmmm.

    Have any of you folks tried the Guaifenesin Protocol? I gave that an honest, wholehearted trial for 2 years and took part in the online support group. I see a lot of parallels here: retraining your brain to interpret your symptoms in a positive light, a charismatic, sympathetic leader, a very believable explanation of the physical process responsible for CFS that validates your symptoms while imparting courage and hope, soon-to-be-published studies, a program that is basically harmless and is not going to damage anyone, a lot of followers who are excited about it but none who can say they *are cured*- they are “doing so much better” and “expect to be cured soon,” but, in fact, they still have symptoms and cannot do what a normal person can do. They still have ups and downs. When you ask about it you are told that ‘the ones who get cured go on with their lives and that’s why you don’t hear from them.’

    I am older, wiser and pretty skeptical. I have struggled with CFS my entire life and tried many things, some of which have been very helpful, some worthless, but none of which have been able to cure me. I am currently learning CBT and find it has helped *my perceptions* a great deal and helped me relax and accept this body I have, which has taken a lot of the stress and worry out of this, which has enabled me to feel much better than I did… but it has not cured me (nor does it claim to, which I appreciate; I *greatly* appreciate honesty).

    I see an awful lot of parallel between CBT and what Mr. Gupta seems to be describing, but I would have to part with $190 to find out why he says it is different. (Let’s see, he claimed above to have helped 200 people x $190 = $38,000.)

    I guess I will need to hear of a heck of a lot of total cures to think seriously about this. Not that I’m discouraging anyone from trying it, I expect the programme is comforting, encouraging and helpful and, like I say, not harmful in any way, and if it helps you to get along better than you are, that alone can be worth a great deal. But I doubt there will be actual full cures, to be honest. Just my humble opinion. I’d be thrilled if proven wrong.

    Again, I’m so glad to have found this page and thanks so much for posting it!

  35. Armando says:

    I agree with the post by Bluewillow. I have been on the Guaifenesin protocol for many years and although it seems to help, I never met anyone who actually got cured with it.

    Notwithstanding my skepticism, I wouldn’t mind trying this program. Has anyone given up on it who wants to sell their program at a good price?

  36. Stephanie says:

    I have been using the Gupta programme for 6.5 months now. I did not get very far with it until my 6 month marker was nearly up. I had a few times in the early months where I would feel better but then have a dip and find it very hard to carry on wholeheartedly with the programme. During the 6 months, I got so ill I had to give up my part-time job.

    Just before the 6 months were up, I threw myself into it and have started to have some good results. I am no longer getting neausea, headaches, brain fog, ear pain, dizziness, muscle aches. I feel so much better. I have got a way to go with it yet as I still get tired from physical exercise. I think the important thing is losing the fear of the illness, so that your anxiety levels drop in connection with all the symtoms. In a way you have to believe it can work for it to work, otherwise each time you have a dip, all the negative thoughts flood back into your head.

  37. Zan says:

    I have been doing the Gupta Programme for about a month now and I do notice a difference. First off, my anxiety and stress is down a bit. I was having problems where my jaw was always clenched and that had reduced as well. Also, I just feel a little more here, a little more present in my own life. I feel a tiny bit physically stronger too. There is no way I am stopping this program. It is the only thing that has made a difference for me, so I’m gonna keep on keeping on and I expect to see more improvement.

  38. Zan says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say, I’ve also been more social. I’ve been talking on the phone with friends a lot, and normally I can’t bear to do it because it is too stressful and too depressing. But it feels like parts of me are coming back, and have hour long conversations didn’t feel like a chore anymore, but a pleasure.

  39. Louise says:

    As soon as I started the programme I began to feel better, and now 8 months on, I am 90% recovered, and if i have a bad period, it only lasts for about a day or two. Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Mayke says:

    Hi everybody,

    I just started the programm, so I can’t tell yet if it works, but I recognize so much Ashok says, that is guess it must. I have a question for the people who have positive results:

    Do the people who have results from the programm also have results in IBS symptoms and allergies?
    If (almost) recovered, did you also recover from your bowel problems and allergies?
    Can you eat whatever you like now?

    Thanks,

    Mayke

  41. anthony says:

    is the programme of use for OCD.

  42. marie says:

    Kia ora, Hello from New Zealand,
    I have CFS since i was 27 I am now 53. I have never recovered but have stages were I am less unwell. I have been thinking about trying the Gupta programme, but all my research seems to say that no one gets really well, ie is normal health back. I dont think I am that stressed out about my symptoms any more. I find it difficult that friends perceive me as lazy/hypocondriac etc and sometimes I think that is all that is wrong with me too. I have spent thousands of dollars on ‘cures’ to no avail. Perhaps I will give this a shot. It always amazes me how little money I now live on (invalids benefit) but how I still manage to scrape up money to try a new ‘cure’. Will let you know if I think it has any effect. Hope to have saved enough to send away for the programme this week.
    Arohanui (Lots of love) Marie

  43. Dawn says:

    This sounds interesting. I wonder if it helps true ME sufferers. As Dr Byron Hyde says true ME sufferers have damage to the brain stem caused by a virus which can be shown using a medical SPECT scan on the brain and there are three levels of damage. The worst level of damage belongs to sufferers who will never completely recover, but those with the first and second levels can make some recovery. He also found that most CFS patients he sees have other underlying illnesses that have not been diagnosed such as cancer, diabetes, thyroid disorders, heart problems etc, and once those are treated most of the “CFS” symptoms go away. If was it wasn’t so expensive I’d just buy it straight out, but because he’s the only doctor who spends four days diagnosing his patients and testing them, I may never know which category I fall into and I wonder if it’s worth all the money or if it’s just meditation and positive thinking packaged expensively.

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