brain retraining

Brain Retraining: Everything You Need To Know

Do you live in Ottawa? Are you curious about Brain Retraining?

If so, you are in the right place.

Today, I will talk about Brain Retraining and how it relates to chronic illness.

In This Article:

Let us begin with what Brain retraining is.

What Is Brain Retraining?

Learning that the brain can change, even as we age, is fascinating.

The brain can change and adapt in response to new experiences and learning.

This process involves neuroplasticity, where the brain forms new neural connections throughout life, allowing it to reorganize.

Neuroplasticity allows us to retrain our brains to improve our physical health and immune function by altering neural signals.

Brain Retraining targets the limbic system of the brain.

It trains the brain to perceive triggers, symptoms, situations, and allergies as non-threatening and safe.

When the brain feels “safe,” it will send safety signals to the body.

The body responds to these signals by producing hormones that support the improved function of our internal systems.

Let’s look closer at why we should use Brain Retraining to help with healing from chronic illnesses.

Why Braining Retraining?

Chronic illness is caused in part by how our brains perceive reality.

Based on our past experiences, our perception of reality is formed.

Our brains create habitual pathways for thinking, feeling, and behaviour over time.

The root of chronic illness is the learned habit of the brain and body of going into survival mode, affecting the function of our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

Brain Retraining can change this learned habit.

Let’s look at the goals of Brain Retraining in terms of chronic illness.

What Are The Goals Of Brain Retraining?

The goals of Brain retraining in terms of chronic illness include the following:

  • To increase your tolerance to environmental, food and chemical triggers.
  • To better tolerate symptoms.
  • To increase your tolerance to exercise, work and other activities.
  • To shift your brain state from survival to safety.
  • To activate the Parasympathetic or healing system of your ANS.
  • To help you find out who you indeed are.

Let’s now discuss why it is essential to do Brain Retraining and Vagal Toning before trauma work.

Why Brain Retraining Before Trauma Work

Before beginning trauma work, regulating the primary nervous system functioning in individuals with chronic health conditions may be necessary to avoid emotional overwhelm and symptom exacerbation.

Trauma work may include talk therapy, EMDR, Somatic experiencing, and Energy work.

If our Limbic system is stuck in survival mode, for some people, it is better to create a sense of safety in that part of the brain before delving deeper.

Before attempting Trauma work, you may need to be able to self-regulate your nervous system using vagal toning and brain-retraining tools.

Let’s now look at how memories play a role in how we feel in the current moment.

How Our Memories Play A Role In How We Feel

Memories in the form of memory structures in the brain activate the protection responses in our brain and body.

As a result, we can react to situations, pathogens, or foods even before we can discern whether the threat is real.

By practicing brain retraining techniques, we can change how we perceive or feel about those reactions.

Let’s discuss the two parts of the brain responsible for memory: the Hippocampus and the Amygdala.

The Hippocampus and the Amygdala

The Hippocampus and the Amygdala are two parts of the brain that encode memories.

The Hippocampus puts experiences into chronological order and perspective, i.e., explicit or conscious memories.

The Amygdala catalogues past emotional experiences as implicit memories, i.e. memories that are unconscious but can affect thoughts and behaviours.

Let’s now discuss how chronic stress affects memory.

How Chronic Stress Affects Memory

Chronic stress affects the Hippocampus and amygdala response to internal and external triggers.

Chronic stress reduces activity in the Hippocampus, impairing memory formation and sequencing of events.

As a result, you might mistake an experience for a current event and avoid situations that trigger those memories.

For example, when we experience a bodily sensation that reminds us of a past injury, we may mistakenly believe the injury has returned.

Chronic stress can also cause an overactivation of the Amygdala.

An overactive Amygdala can become hypervigilant, looking for and perceiving threats everywhere.

For example, the Amygdala can label or crosswire things such as foods, smells, mould, pathogens or even people as a threat, causing the body to produce symptoms.

Cross-wiring can occur if, during an emotional event, you are consuming a food such as dairy.

In the future, your body associates the dairy as a threat, resulting in symptoms.

Brain Retraining aims to teach the Amygdala new associations to decrease hypervigilance and symptoms.

Now It’s Over To You

Do you have any questions about Brain Retraining?

Leave me a comment below.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help, I suggest you book a free functional medicine discovery session with me to determine whether my functional medicine approach fits your needs.


The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply this information without first speaking with your doctor.

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