“I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.”

There were two main reasons I was drawn to the Gupta Programme:

1. The primary condition that the Gupta Programme was founded on is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). My personal struggle with CFS has been written about several times on this website and mentioned countless times in presentations and classes that I’ve taught for EDS Wellness. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been chronically fatigued. Feeling as though I’m permanently “velcroed to the floor” is per usual for me, even as a kid. Eight 0’clock AM cartoons were about as early as I would ever get out of bed, despite really wanting to get up in time for The Smurfs, or any of the other earlier Saturday morning cartoons. My body never woke up in time, and it just didn’t do early mornings.

2. The Gupta Programme is a meditation-based program and much more. And if there’s something I feel strongly about for its incredible healing properties — both those that we aware of and those we have yet to fully understand, it’s meditation. Many who know me probably would have guessed that I would say that I feel most strongly about working out or even yoga (a type of moving meditation) for their healing properties; however, the mind-body connection is at the root of reasons why exercise and yoga are so effective. Yes, there’s the strong physical health component associated with exercise — i.e. how it affects energy transfer across your cells; improves hormone regulation; brings oxygen to the muscles and throughout the body, but none of that would be possible if exercise did not first improve the overall communication between the brain and entire body.

“Gupta Recovery from ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, MCS, GWS, Lyme Disease, Anxiety Disorders, and Associated Conditions.” – Gupta Programme Facebook Page

The Gupta Programme brought something new to the table that I had not fully studied and was a type of meditation-based healing program that I had done before. The Gupta Programme focuses on Amygdala & Insula Retraining concepts – how patients may break the vicious cycle by applying techniques that encourage the amygdala, insula, prefrontal cortex and associated brain structures to discontinue the hypothesized overstimulation.” This program is offered through a home study course, group webinar series, and private coaching sessions — I participated in the weekly group webinar series and home study. The Founder, Ashok Gupta, developed the idea of “Amygdala Retraining” based on his research into the causes of several chronic illnesses, specifically Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). He concluded that these conditions are the result of abnormalities in the brain — particularly in the Amygdala and Insula. He combined his research on CFS and other chronic illnesses, with published research on brain neurology proving that the brain inherently re-wirable, referred to as “Neuroplasticity,“to create The Gupta Programme.

Neuroplasticity is described as ” the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as “axonal sprouting” in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.” (Source – Medicinenet.com)

Why does the Amygdala matter in CFS or other Chronic Illnesses? 

Just do a google search asking that exact question, and you will find numerous research articles examining the role of the amygdala and it’s association with various factors that contribute to chronic illness. The Amygdala has been shown to “perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions, the amygdala are considered part of the limbic system.[3]” (Source – WikipediaSpecifically, Ashok’s Amygdala Hypothesis suggests that CFS is caused by a breakdown neurological wiring in the amygdala, stemming from trauma. Consequently, because the amygdala’s role is to protect the body from threats, the circuitry changes in the amygdala essentially lead to immune system dysfunction and more. He proposes that the breakdown in neurological wiring/circuitry changes are the cause of the brain abnormalities that researchers have found in CFS patients. However, through “Amygdala Retraining,” the brain can be re-wired; thus, allowing CFS/ME patients to recover.

About the Program – My experience: 

I approached the program with an open mind, excited to learn something new, expand on my personal experience, and 100% committed to finishing this program. From the first webinar on, I could feel Ashok’s sincerity and belief in the Gupta Programme. His personal experience struggling with CFS and the years of research he conducted while putting his program together is nothing short of inspiring — and he turned both into something that IS helping people.

My group webinar sessions were held on Monday afternoons. I found the webinars to be quite empowering, supportive and uplifting. Ashok was always positive and kind. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of his materials and the caliber through which his program is delivered. My webinar sessions were easy to access with only a few technical issues that were quickly resolved. I really enjoyed participating in this type of program online, something I wasn’t quite sure about initially. By the time Monday rolled around each week, I was looking forward to my weekly Gupta Programme webinar. If I was not able to participate in the live weekly webinar, the recordings were provided via email and available to download.

The Gupta Programme incorporates visualization, stress management, and relaxation methods into its program — techniques that I use every day; however, through the Gupta Programme, these techniques are wrap together and used in a specific manner. The Gupta Programme also employs a technique that felt similar to what I’ve worked on through Cognitive Behavior Therapy to help stop the cycle of negative thinking. Negative thoughts lead to stress, and stress leads to further trauma and circuitry changes in the brain – in the Amygdala. Utilizing the successful healing techniques that I just mentioned, along with meditation and breathing exercises, similar to what I use and teach in yoga, is something I really enjoyed. Instead of feeling like I have all these different techniques to do to help myself maintain homeostasis and continue my progress in building strength, The Gupta Programme incorporated all of them into one. The live weekly webinars held me accountable for doing the work — at least a big part of it. I truly believe this is what sets the Gupta Programme apart from other “recovery” programs or a using only one specific method used at a time.

One concept that was new to me was the idea of the brain being damaged or injured as a result of CFS or other chronic illnesses — at least in the way that the Gupta Programme describes it. I never thought of my brain as being “damaged” or “injured,” specifically in the Amygdala, but it certainly makes sense, considering my personal struggle with brain fog, cognition, and focus — even as I’m writing this review. Ashok’s belief is that the combination of tools used in his program helps correct the damage in the brain; thus, leading to multisystemic recovery. I do believe that the body, and the brain, can heal as well. While there are few pieces of information that I felt could make the program stronger (see below), and a few things that I didn’t 100% agree with (i.e. doing less “body scanning), participating in the program helped me realize that my commitment to myself and to doing what I know works, was lacking. The lack of commitment to my self-care routine is the cause of my most recent EDS Spiral. The Gupta Program gave me additional tools to help me continue making progress, even after I finished the webinar series. I was given a much-needed “jump start” in renewing my usual routine, and feel better today versus when I began the program a few months ago. Participating in the program also gave me belief and confidence that I can continue to re-wire my brain to improve cognition and function — something that has become my biggest daily struggle.

The Gupta Programme is an incredibly comprehensive and impactful program. It’s a ton of bang for your buck. Considering how much those of us CFS and other related conditions struggle, there’s not much we stand to lose and only improvements to gain by participating in this program.

A few extra thoughts: 

Ashok believes that you can be 100% cured or healed with his program. While I’m not one to doubt that “cure” or “heal” can happen for many of us that live with a chronic condition(s), I’m very skeptical about programs or people who claim to be able to do so for the masses, or those who make a blanket statement. Again, it’s not that I did not believe in the Gupta Programme’s ability to have that much success for some people with CFS/ME or the power of the mind-body connection in healing, or that I didn’t trust Ashok’s own story, but a few key points were missing — in my opinion. More detailed information on genetic conditions, certain research and other biological links associated with CFS was missing. Not that I was surprised or that my success with the Gupta Programme depended on the knowledge of CFS’ links to Ehlers-Danlos syndromes or to its other comorbid conditions, but considering hypermobility has been found to cause abnormalities in the brain as well, specifically in the Amygdala, I couldn’t help but question the idea of “Amygdala Retraining.” Research on ADHD and other conditions has shown brain abnormalities as well.

“A 2012 brain-imaging study conducted by Eccles and her colleagues found that individuals with joint hypermobility had a bigger amygdala, a part of the brain that is essential to processing emotion, especially fear. In the 2014 study, which was conducted by Eccles and her associates in collaboration with researchers from Spain, hypermobile participants displayed heightened neural reactivity to sad and angry scenes in brain regions implicated in anxiety.” (Source – Scientific American)

Our brains are essentially all connective tissue, so it makes sense that hypermobility affects the brain as well. Similarly, it also makes sense that when your muscles do the work that your connective tissues cannot, even for the simplest of tasks such as reading because our eyes are made up of 80% connective tissue, hypermobility makes you more predisposed to acquiring comorbid conditions such as chronic fatigue. Add in the fact that many of us live with EDS or HSD, CFS and several other comorbid conditions such as allergies, immune dysfunction, thyroid/endocrine disorders and rheumatic diseases, all of which are also are linked to chronic fatigue, we could all be considered one big Amygdala abnormality soup.

“A proportion of those with CFS likely have EDS that has not been identified.” (Source – PubMed

Furthermore, both research and my personal experience suggest that a good amount of patients with hypermobility, independent of the cause, tend to be more “sensitive” in general. Our autonomic nervous systems have been found to be overly reactive, which is in line with Ashok’s Amygdala Theory; however, research on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) suggests that it’s not the amygdala itself that is constantly overstimulating the body, it’s the mast cells.
“We’ve changed our living environment…If it was cold you put on a sweater, you didn’t turn up the heat to 72º. The foods that we eat are no longer locally raised. So…this mast cell that’s used to a certain type of micro-environment is just completely confused and now completely over-active.” — Anne Maitland, MD, PhD, Allergy & Immunology (Source – Mast Cell Aware
Our Mast Cells are found only in the connective tissues (including the brain), and have the sole purpose to serve as the body’s “sentinels” or “guards.” Mast Cells are also the initial link to our entire immune system and are responsible for starting the chain of biochemical reactions that are part of normal immune processes. In those with MCAS, mast cell behavior becomes inappropriate and overly reactive — causing a Pandora’s’ box of potentially related issues. MCAS has been linked to countless chronic illnesses, including EDS, CFS and Autonomic dysfunction.

Here are my questions:

“How do we know if the brain abnormalities found in CFS patients are from CFS specifically, another illness, or from an underlying genetic condition that makes them predisposed to these abnormalities?”

“And … How much of our brains are “re-wirable” from dysfunction, if the abnormality is possibly caused by a mutation(s) in the way the brain is “built”(i.e. in the genetic code/DNA of all cells in our bodies)?”

More about  the Gupta Programme: 

“The Gupta Programme™ is a powerful revolutionary new treatment for these conditions, and thousands of people around the world have got their lives back using this treatment.

The Gupta Programme was developed by Ashok Gupta, who suffered from ME/CFS himself before curing himself of it and then conducting research into the brain neurology of these illnesses. His research led him to conclude that these conditions are caused by abnormalities in the brain, especially a brain structure called the “Insula” & the “Amygdala”. The latest findings in brain neurology, specifically “Neuroplasticity”, show that the brain is inherently re-wireable. And the Gupta Programme is a way of re-wiring the brain’s responses to bring back health and vitality.

In a published medical study, two-thirds of patients reached a full recovery, and 90% made an improvement.”

(Source – Gupta Programme on Facebook )

The Gupta Programme is a package of 12 Weekly Webinars with Ashok, as well as a DVD Home Study Course and Meditation CDs. This package comes with a full one year Money Back Guarantee, no questions asked. To find out more about the packages available, please visit www.guptaprogramme.com/products

Please view a selection of success stories here:

Contact and Follow:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/guptaprogram/

Website – www.guptaprogramme.com

Ashok’s free, award-winning meditation and self-development App called, ‘The Meaning of Life Experiment’ is available to download in the App store – http://j.mp/2bFb1S8, Google Play – http://j.mp/2bFb7Jxand at www.themeaningoflife.tv

You can sign up for this free FB LIVE webinar here:
http://www.guptaprogramme.com/freewebinar

Resources:

Amygdala-Retraining-JHH-Sept-2010

CFS-HYPOTHESIS-Medical-Hypotheses-article

What is CFIDS?

‘Progressive brain changes in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: A longitudinal MRI study.’ (2016)

‘MRI Identifies Brain Abnormalities in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients’ (2014)

‘Brain structure and joint hypermobility: relevance to the expression of psychiatric symptoms’ (2012)

‘Manual Therapy in CFS Part 1’ (2013 – Peter Rowe, M.D.)

‘Manual Therapy in CFS Part 2’ (2013 – Peter Rowe, M.D.)

Chronic fatigue in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome-Hypermobile type.’ (2017)

‘Treatable Co-morbid Conditions: Dysautonomia, Milk Protein Intolerance, and Adverse Neural Tension. Lessons from ME/CFS’ 2017 Wellapalooza (Peter Rowe, M.D.)

‘Neuromuscular Strain in CFS’ (2016 – Peter Rowe, M.D.)

‘Inducing Post-Exertional Malaise in ME/CFS: A Look at the Research Evidence’ (2015 Webinar recording – Dr. Peter Rowe)

‘Breaking the Cyle of Chronic Pain, Poor Sleep, Depression and Fatigue’ 2015 Wellapalooza (Alan Pocinki, M.D.)

‘Too Tired and Too Fatigued’ 2014 EDS Society Conference (Brad Tinkle, M.D.)

‘Ehlers-Danlos syndrome hypermobility type is associated with rheumatic diseases’ (2016)

‘EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME – The Role of Collagen in the Eye’ (Ehlers-Danlos Canada)

‘Meditation and yoga can ‘reverse’ DNA reactions which cause stress,’ a new study by Frontiers in Immunology

‘Unexpected role of interferon-γ in regulating neuronal connectivity and social behaviour’ (2016)

‘What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind–Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices?’

‘7 Ways Meditation can Actually Change the Brain’ (2015, Forbes)

Chronic fatigue syndrome | University of Maryland Medical Center

Post – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome finally being recognized as a real medical condition

Post – Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Post – Life being velcroed to the floor – 10 ways I manage the daily battle against chronic fatigue

Page – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders

‘In the Flow’ (2016) – Dr. Deborah Norris, C0-Founder and Executive Director, The Mindfulness Center