Annie Hopper’s Dynamic Neural Retraining System offers new hope to those with severe chemical and electrical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, and related conditions

Annie Hopper Teaching a Workshop

Annie Hopper teaches her Dynamic Neural Retraining System™ to workshop participants in Canada.

Planet Thrive is excited to present this interview with Annie Hopper, a core belief counselor who has healed herself of severe, life-altering chemical and electrical sensitivities and fibromyalgia using groundbreaking neural retraining techniques based on the concept of brain plasticity. She now teaches others these same exercises that healed her own brain by conducting 3-day Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS) workshops in British Columbia, Canada. Annie is claiming her approach is an MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) cure and is so confident she can help you that she offers a 100% money back guarantee if after six months of daily training you do not experience a significant improvement in your health. Julie Laffin, a Chicago-based performance artist, and Julie Genser, founder of, recently conducted a virtual Q & A with Annie get to the root of her treatment approach and find out just what she means by “cure.”

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Hello Annie, thank you for taking the time to discuss your exciting new protocol with us. Please share with us how you initially became severely chemical and electrically sensitive.

Annie HopperAH: The main exposure that I had was over a five month period. I believe it was due to unhealthy air quality in an old building where I rented office space for my busy counseling practice. I gradually started to become sensitive to chemicals. Within six months the sensitivity had spread from perfumes and colognes to all chemicals.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: What level of MCS were you at prior to beginning your work with neuroplasticity? Our impression is that you were severely affected.

Annie HopperAH: Laundry detergent residue, fabric softener residue and fabric softener dryer fumes were horrific for me and I would at times have “seizure like” reactions to exposures. I became severely chemically sensitive in April 2006. Chronic insomnia and fibromyalgia had set in by this time as well. To go anywhere outside of my home took Herculean efforts and courage – I had to wear a carbon filtered mask to go anywhere. I felt like a freak. By the following year around the same time, I had also become electrically sensitive.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: We understand that, at one point, you were homeless. Tell us a bit about that time and how you survived.

Annie HopperAH: When I became electrically sensitive in addition to being severely chemically sensitive, I could no longer live in my own home. I camped for a short time and then ended up living on a broken down houseboat for four months. It was a step up from camping and I was grateful to have a roof and my own space. I survived in large part with lots of faith and love from my partner and family although they lived thousands of miles away. I lived alone on the houseboat with my dog Bella and my partner James would take a week off from work approximately every five weeks to come and see me. Food sensitivities were not an issue for me so I could pretty much eat anything and would shop at a local grocery store for food. Although shopping was difficult, I could force myself to do it.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: You’ve been through a lot. What are some of the things you had to give up in life during that time?

Annie HopperAH: I gave up my home, the comfort of living with my partner, my job, my friends, my identity, and my faith.

I tried to focus on what I was learning
rather than what I was losing.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Losses we are both familiar with, as are most who develop this illness. How did you deal with all the stress from your physical symptoms, psychological separation from society, and loss of friends, work, family, and home?

Annie HopperAH: Anyone with severe MCS knows how difficult it is to survive this illness. At times I felt very hopeless and overwhelmed with the enormity of the illness and how it affected every area of my life. I grieved for the loss of my health, my friendships, the physical separation from my partner, my family, my job and the many friendships that I had lost along the way. I found comfort in long walks along the ocean shoreline with my dog Bella. I wrote about what I was feeling and what I was learning about myself and life throughout this time. I’m now in the process of publishing a book about my journey entitled “From Exile to Excellence: Healing Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Through Neuroplasticity“. It will include actual journal entries from my time while living on the houseboat. I also prayed a lot, and I spent as much time as I could in places where my body felt okay. I tried to focus on what I was learning rather than what I was losing.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: You have recommended Norman Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself on your website. This book offers an inspiring collection of recovery stories all based on the concept of brain plasticity – the ability of the brain to rewire itself. As you know, neural pathways of the adult brain were previously thought to be fixed and hardwired by a certain age but recent scientific discoveries have proven the brain to be highly adaptive and flexible throughout one’s lifetime. Parts of the brain thought to be limited to specific functions are actually capable of taking over other unrelated functions. Through these discoveries, scientists have been able to use focused exercises to develop new neuronal pathways that help people recover from strokes and even some rare conditions such as phantom limb pain, or complete loss of balance. It was this fascinating book that jumpstarted your approach to healing your own MCS – how did you find your way to this book?

Annie HopperAH: A friend of mine suffering from depression recommended it.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Was there a defining moment that led you to your current understanding of what chemical sensitivity is and how principles pertaining to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) recovery seemed like a hopeful application for the problem—do you view MCS as a stroke-like or brain trauma condition?

Annie HopperAH: I view MCS as an acquired toxic brain injury that impairs limbic system function, affecting areas of the brain such as the hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, and cingulate cortex. Although the initial injury may heal, the brain gets stuck in a repetitive trauma pattern.

Houseboat that Annie Lived On

Run-down houseboat that Annie lived on for four months.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Did you have help rewiring your brain or did you figure this out through your own personal research?

Annie HopperAH: I did have some help in this department for sure. The Dynamic Neural Retraining System was developed from a combination of what I had learned over the past 20 years while employed in the health and wellness industry, as well as from all of the information, treatments, therapies and research I experienced and studied during my MCS days.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Did you ever contact any of the neuroscientists mentioned in Doidge’s book or the other sources of research you found along the way?

Annie HopperAH: I’ve got some feelers out there but no bites yet. However, I am very hopeful that I will have the research that I need in due time. I recently trained a woman who is initially from Japan who has great contacts with doctors there who are interested in neuroplasticity as it relates to chemical sensitivity. Apparently MCS is so common in Japan that they have government-funded clinics that treat people with MCS. So, not only is it recognized as a legitimate illness there, but the government also pays for detoxification and nutritional supplements for patients.

However, they do not know how neuroplasticity ties in to all of it so I am very hopeful I will be going to Japan soon to teach the head environmental doctors there what I know. My hope is that they will have the funding available to do some functional MRI testing on people with MCS and be able to measure the effects of the Dynamic Neural Retraining System. My vision is that this research will validate several facts: 1) That the symptoms of MCS are caused from impaired limbic system function; 2) That through manually rewiring the brain we can repair limbic system function and alleviate symptoms of illness; 3) That we will have all the evidence we need in terms of chemical and EMF hazards to force the government to regulate these industries.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: That would certainly be wonderful. How is the limbic system involved in your retraining work exactly?

Annie HopperAH: Through manually changing brain pathways we can decrease the brain’s “fight or flight” response that is regulated by the limbic system. In essence, we reprogram our limbic system. The first step of my Dynamic Neural Retraining System is to use practical exercises that interrupt brain trauma patterns. Then we promote new, healthy neuronal pathways that restore normal limbic system function using exercises taken from various methodologies I’ve studied over the past 20 years: cognitive behavior therapy, core belief counseling, life coaching, neuro-linguistic programming, self hypnosis, meditation, conscious restraint induced therapy, somatic exercises, and neuroplasticity exercises.

The time it takes for symptoms to shift is individual,
and huge shifts can happen sometimes in as little as two days.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Edward Taub’s work with stroke rehabilitation—which you are familiar with from Norman Doidge’s book—deals with motor function, so there is an objective way to assess progress as individuals become rehabilitated. How do Taub’s protocols intersect with yours and is there a way to measure objective improvement along the way?

Annie HopperAH: The only objective way to measure progress is through the resolution of symptoms. Part of the Dynamic Neural Retraining System involves consciously blocking old pathways in the brain while stimulating dormant or new pathways. I call it Conscious Restraint Induced Therapy. In order for this to be successful you must be able to focus and practice a lot. In fact, complete focus and practice are the keys to success in this training. The time it takes for symptoms to shift is individual, and huge shifts can happen sometimes in as little as two days. For others it takes longer. I recommend practicing every day for 6 months before you judge whether or not this has worked for you, although most people see great results fairly soon into their practice.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Going back to Taub, his work based on his “learned non-use” theory encourages the use of the non-functioning appendages by restricting use of the working hand or arm, etc. Taub has found that this forces the brain to build new neuronal pathways and eventually restores use of the incapacitated limb. How does this correlate with your work since we are talking about an illness with a different presentation than stroke, one that more likely involves damage to the limbic system vs. the motor system? Can you give us an example to help us make the conceptual leap?

Annie HopperAH: With MCS, we develop a conditioned abnormal fear response to chemicals due to impaired limbic system function resulting from the repetitive brain trauma pattern. Fear stimulates the amygdala, triggering the fight or flight response. In order to change our physiological response, we have to learn how to interrupt the trauma pattern and redirect the impulses that trigger this automatic fight or flight response. In doing so we are consequently reprogramming our limbic system to reduce the physiological symptoms of illness.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: This sounds very similar to Ashok Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining Programme™. Are you familiar with it?

Annie HopperAH: No, I am not familiar with it so I cannot say if it is or not. From what I’ve viewed on the Internet it seems that he is focused solely on the amygdala portion of the limbic system. Although the amygdala is involved, with chemical sensitivity, other parts of the limbic system are also involved including the hypothalamus, hippocampus and cingulate cortex.

…toxic overload is a resulting symptom of
impaired limbic system function, not the cause

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Does your work fly in the face of the “body burden” or “rain barrel” theories out there regarding MCS? That is to say, do you think the toxic overload theory is faulty as a basis for treating full-blown MCS?

Annie HopperAH: I think that toxic overload is a resulting symptom of impaired limbic system function, not the cause.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Where does the blood/brain barrier fit into all of this – can you rewire or repair it with this work?

Annie HopperAH: Yes. When limbic system function is repaired, your sense of smell will change as well and you will not be able to sense chemicals through your sense of smell or taste anymore. Now I can pick up a bottle of perfume and smell it and it smells the same as it did prior to becoming ill with MCS. Not that I would ever use it again – it’s just great to be able to function normally in a world that uses chemicals and electricity.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: That’s hard for us to imagine. It is very uplifting to hear that you have healed yourself from this devastating illness. Have others with MCS been healed by your program and did they have severe life-altering MCS as well?

Annie HopperAH: Yes, the DNR System has helped to heal others who had severe life-altering MCS as well – even those who have had MCS for over 30 years.

Annie in Isolation

Annie spent a lot of time in isolation, taking walks with her dog and sitting by the water’s edge.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Will your program benefit those with the often overlapping conditions of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or myalgic encephalomyelitis?

Annie HopperAH: Yes, because they are all limbic system related.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Are there certain individuals with chemical sensitivity that might be better candidates for your program than others? For example, those with neurological symptoms vs. gut or respiratory symptoms?

Annie HopperAH: I believe that anyone who has the ability to focus and discipline themselves to practice daily would benefit.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Are there some people/conditions you think would not be helped at all by your program?

Annie HopperAH: Yes. It takes a certain amount of conscious awareness to be able to focus, monitor and control your thoughts, feelings and behavior for it to really work effectively. I also don’t think it would be great for anyone who does not believe that complete healing is possible or if they are closed to new ideas and ways of thinking. Remember that they once thought that the earth was flat.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: True, but if it takes a certain amount of conscious awareness, then will this program work for problems that affect consciousness? In other words, if the person is reactive or symptomatic at the time of the workshop or the therapy – and having difficulty processing thoughts and emotions – will the exercises still be effective?

Annie HopperAH: My goal is to create a safe, healthy and productive environment for all course participants. Workshop venues are selected for hardwood floors, tall ceilings, healthy air flow and absence of use of any chemically based cleaning products. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of ten participants, allowing for lots of individual attention. Should a participant have any particular special requirement or concern, I will do my very best to accommodate their needs. That said, I give enough handouts and instructions for participants to be able to practice on their own after a workshop if they are unable to remember or retain what was covered.

Through changing the brain we have the ability
to change the body’s physiology.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: When you claim that your Dynamic Neural Retraining System will heal those with chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other related ailments, you are most likely talking about complex disease systems that involve multiple toxic exposures, not just one specific chemical brain injury. Some with MCS have had toxic mold exposure and have genetic susceptibility to biotoxin illness while also having a lyme infection with complicating co-infections, as well as pesticide poisoning, chronic viruses, mycoplasma, leaky gut, and organ damage. How can the brain reconditioning exercises heal all that?

Annie HopperAH: Through changing the brain we have the ability to change the body’s physiology.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Can you elaborate on that – once the brain is rewired, what happens with these infections – lyme, viruses, mycoplasma, etc. – does the body take care of them more easily or must one still go through the arduous process of using a combination of antibiotics, herbs, supplements and dietary changes to manage these parts?

Annie HopperAH: Of course each case is individual, but as I said in the above, the brain has the ability to change the body’s physiology.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: That still seems a bit vague. Are you saying that it’s a sort of domino effect, so when the brain is reconditioned, the body will heal itself of secondary health conditions that arose from the primary brain injury?

Annie HopperAH: Yes. Very well said! Your brain will no longer send alert signals that activate survival mechanism messages to the rest of your body. Most participants with MCS who do the Dynamic Neural Retraining System report that they can be around chemicals now and that they do not notice the “bitter or caustic” quality of products anymore. They do not need to take as many nutritional supplements or any at all. Others have reported being able to eat foods that they have not been able to eat for years while some others report the ability to sleep well for the first time in ages. One participant had a severe skin condition in addition to MCS and has noticed that her skin has cleared up remarkably well. The results of the Dynamic Neural Retraining System speak directly to the domino effect that you are referring to.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Some in the MCS community are very much against using the word “cure” for any treatment promising full recovery. Many of these people will say that anyone who has been “cured” is actually just higher functioning but still has MCS and must avoid chemical exposure as much as possible to maintain their functionality. You chose to use the domain name “” for your website introducing this work, which might seem like a promise you can’t keep to many in the community. Can you define what you mean by “cure”?

Annie HopperAH: I would say that by “cured” I mean that you can resume a normal lifestyle and be over 85% recovered from symptoms. Although I do not react to chemicals anymore, I do not choose to use them in my life. I avoid using them but I do not avoid exposure. I know that it’s hard to wrap your brain around the idea that this debilitating illness can be cured and that you can resume a normal life again. I get it. It’s almost unbelievable. But this treatment protocol is completely different from anything else; it is based on repairing the brain, not the body. In some ways having MCS lifted a veil for me and I instantly became aware of the harmful effects of chemicals and how prevalent they are in our society. As a result, I now choose to live my life in an environmentally conscious way.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Are YOU cured – or is your lifestyle still limited or altered in any way in order to maintain your current level of functionality?

Annie HopperAH: I am cured. I travel to places, I fly on planes, I attend live theatre, I go out for dinner with friends, I attend public events with ease, I work, etc.

A Night on the Town

Annie dancing at a crowded night club, post-MCS.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Once you determined how to rewire your own brain, how long did it take you to regain your ability to function in the “real world”?

Annie HopperAH: Less than a week.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: That’s so incredible, it’s hard to believe! Did you have any relapses during this initial experimental phase?

Annie HopperAH: Yes, at day 15 I experienced a complete shift back to full-on symptoms of MCS. If I ever needed proof that it was brain related – that experience did it for me. It was like a switch went off in my brain. I focused on my brain training exercises and the switch went off again.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Is your recovery permanent—or do you need to do daily exercises in order to maintain the level of recovery you have achieved?

Annie HopperAH: Yes, my recovery is permanent. I do not practice regularly anymore. I practiced daily for about the first 6 months.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: How stable is your recovery now—do you ever have periods of increased reactivity where you have to repeat a course of the exercises?

Annie HopperAH: My recovery is stable and I do not have periods of increased reactivity. However I will use the brain training exercises if I am feeling anxious about anything.

Most participants with MCS … report that they can be around chemicals … they do not need to take as many nutritional supplements … others have reported being able to eat foods that they have not been able to eat for years while some others report the ability to sleep well for the first time in ages.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: How long have you been giving the Dynamic Neural Retraining System Workshops?

Annie Hopper
I’ve been leading these workshops for almost a year now—since November 2008.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: What kind of accommodations do you make in order for those with chemical sensitivity to attend your seminars? As you well know firsthand, one of the main problems with MCS is functioning in any public setting because of triggers that may be present and there is no universality to what those triggers can be.

Annie HopperAH: I make it very clear to all participants that the workshops are scent-free. I just finished teaching a workshop in Victoria strictly for people with MCS. Because they all had the same condition, they know the drill. The space was an older building with hardwood floors with 40 foot ceilings and lots of air flow. The air quality worked well for everyone there.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: You mentioned that your seminars are 3 days long and 6 hours each day. Can you describe what kind of sustained activity an individual would have to be capable of to fully participate in the seminar sessions?

Annie HopperAH: First of all, there are many breaks during the day. Activity involves sitting, occasionally standing, and simply concentrating on the course instructions. There have been people who brought in their own cushions and lawn chairs so they could lie down because they are unable to sit for that long a period. Many with fatigue and concentration issues have reported how surprised they were to be able to attend the workshop for 3 days.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: You have said that one must attend one of your workshops to do the work and that home study is just not realistic due to the sustained training needed for this work. We have friends who would seem to benefit greatly from this work but they are homebound due to severe sun sensitivity and/or other sensitivities and they could never attend one of your workshops. Many others with MCS could never travel to Canada or could never afford a workshop because they are living below poverty level. Are there any alternatives to doing your program for those who are unable to physically attend an actual seminar?

Annie HopperAH: You need a very disciplined regulatory system in place to prevent reinforcing the trauma-patterned networks in your brain. I provide a high degree of discipline, instruction and structure to encourage you to stay on track all the time. That’s why I believe that having an instructor present during the training is more effective. However, I realize that this option is not possible for some, so in time I will have a DVD version of the training that will be as highly interactive as possible.

I am cured. I travel to places, I fly on planes, I attend live theatre,
I go out for dinner with friends, I attend public events with ease.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: We are looking forward to viewing the DVD. Could a person who has attended one of your seminars in person teach the therapy to another person who is unable to attend because of severe limitations if they were able to mirror the training using the parameters you have instituted for in-person seminars?

Annie HopperAH: In time there will be a Dynamic Neural Retraining Practitioner Program.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: What health conditions have the people who have attended your workshop had?

Annie HopperAH: There have been participants with chemical and electrical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndromes, and anxiety issues.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: What percentage were successful with the treatment via your workshops?

Annie HopperAH: Approximately 80% of participants to date have experienced significant changes in their health. Most are still in their six month training period and are completely recovered while others continue to experience steady improvements. Please see the website at for workshop results and testimonials.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: That’s a very high success rate – we hope you are able to get funding to backup those rates with scientific studies. Currently, your workshops are only offered In British Columbia. Do you ever travel to other areas to share this work? If not, are you open to it – what are the prerequisites, and how should people contact you to arrange a workshop in their area?

Annie HopperAH: Yes, I am open to traveling to other places but require a minimum of 10 participants per workshop. I am offering a workshop in San Francisco November 14-16, 2009. Those interested in bringing this workshop to their hometown should e-mail me at to make arrangements.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: How can Planet Thrive members find out the particulars of participating in a seminar and find a current schedule and prices?

Annie HopperAH: Go to the website at The price of the workshop is $895 US per participant for a 10-person workshop.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Although you will be offering a DVD and book in the future for those unable to come to a workshop, is it still preferable to learn this work in person?

Annie HopperAH: As I explained earlier, it’s preferable to learn this work in person, however I know the restrictions that most people have with MCS and I am making the DVD for that reason.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Ideally, how often must one do the exercises in order to optimize results?

Annie HopperAH: Approximately one hour a day for 6 months. It does not have to be all in one sitting, you can break up the hour into 10 minute segments.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Are there different exercises depending on the illness – or is the program a one-size-fits-all, offering the same approach whether you have chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, or electrical sensitivities?

Annie HopperAH: All of the above illnesses are related to impaired limbic system function so therefore the program would be the same.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: If, due to illness, one could not complete the program as detailed but instead did the exercises as often as they could, possibly every few months or even over several years, would that still be effective?

Annie HopperAH: No, I don’t think it would be as effective – repetition and concentrated practice are keys to success.

…the more people that heal from this illness,
the stronger our unified voice is to make some much needed changes
in the way that we live and the way that we treat the planet

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: What is your vision with how this work can help others?

Annie HopperAH: I believe that this work will give people back their lives. My vision is to facilitate healing while promoting environmental awareness. The way I see it – the more people that heal from this illness, the stronger our unified voice is to make some much needed changes on a global level. Because remember, while the Dynamic Neural Retraining System repairs limbic sytem function, it doesn’t prevent illness. In order to protect our health, the planet and prevent MCS and related conditions from occurring, we need to mandate our governments to make changes in the way we live and treat the planet.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: We definitely agree with that statement. How has getting severe chemical and electrical sensitivities – and then recovering from them – changed your life?

Annie HopperAH: Recovering gave me back my life. I am more grateful now for all of the things that I used to take for granted prior to getting sick with chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia and EMF sensitivities. I have more appreciation for what some people say are the ”simple things” like going shopping, out for dinner with friends, the ability to travel and visit my mom, the ability to work, etc. Every day I am grateful for my health and my ability to help others. I have a much deeper relationship with my body, the environment, the planet and Spirit. I am completely obsessed with work and trying to make this program available to all the people who so desperately need it. I feel a lot of pressure at times because I know the suffering involved in this illness and how great the need for healing is.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: You were a core belief counselor prior to becoming disabled by severe chemical and electrical sensitivity. Now that you are essentially recovered, how has your experience with neural reconditioning affected your professional practice, if at all – were you able to incorporate any of these concepts into your approach?

Annie HopperAH: Yes, in some ways it has affected the way that I work with my clients and yet, in some cases it has not. I have decreased my practice substantially to focus on workshops, creating the DVD and writing my book.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Are you available for phone sessions as a core belief counselor for others with MCS? Do you offer one-on-one sessions for the neural reconditioning?

Annie HopperAH: No, I am not available for either of those services. I’m too busy teaching workshops, creating a DVD and writing.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?

Annie HopperAH: Don’t give up – there is a cure. You can totally recover from MCS.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJG/JL: Congratulations on your own healing and thanks so much for your promising research and making it available to others. If this program indeed delivers the high success rates you are claiming, the potential to transform people’s lives is huge. We encourage you to pursue funding for scientific studies that would allow you to reach a wider audience. Best of luck, and let us know when your DVD is available.

Find out more about Annie and her brain retraining program by visiting her website at For those who have already attended Annie’s workshop and are looking for additional support, please join our DNR Support Group. For updates on Annie’s Dynamic Neural Retraining System and forthcoming book and DVD program, stay tuned to Planet Thrive. Those interested in attending her November 14-16, 2009 workshop in San Francisco should contact Annie as soon as possible, as space is limited.

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is for general information only, and is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness, condition, or disease. Neither Planet Thrive nor the interviewers are suggesting this is a cure for the illnesses mentioned above, as we have no direct knowledge of the exercises involved and have not spoken to any workshop participants; we are merely presenting Annie Hopper’s claims for the reader to explore further. We recommend reading The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, MD (required reading for all workshop participants!) if you are interested in learning more about brain plasticity, an area of research we believe holds great promise for those with toxic brain injuries.

Annie Hopper photos: © James Tozer, reprinted with permission.

Julie Genser and Julie LaffinJulie Genser and Julie Laffin are friends who have joined forces in their research to find people who have improved their functionality after suffering from severe chemical sensitivity. Julie Genser runs the websites and Julie Laffin is a Chicago-based performance artist currently working on transforming her work to embrace and transcend her health challenges. A big thank you to Steve Savitz for alerting us to, which started us in our research on brain plasticity.

  • Earthwalker

    Earthwalker is the username that PT founder Julie Genser created for her online interactions so many years ago when first creating Planet Thrive.

    Julie's (Earthwalker's) life was derailed over twenty years ago when she had a very large organic mercury exposure after she naively used a mouth thermometer to measure the temperature of just-boiled milk while making her very first pizza at home. The mercury instantly expanded into a gas form and exploded out the back of the thermometer right into her face. Unaware that mercury was the third most neurotoxic element on Earth, Julie had no idea she had just received a very high dose of a poisonous substance.

    A series of subsequent toxic exposures over the next few years -- to smoke from two fires (including 9/11), toxic mold, lyme disease, and chemical injuries -- caused catastrophic damage to her health. While figuring out how to survive day-to-day, and often minute-to-minute, she created Planet Thrive to help others avoid some of the misdiagnoses and struggles she had experienced.

    She has clawed her way over many health mountains to get to where she is today. She is excited to bring the latest iteration of Planet Thrive to the chronic illness community.

    In 2019, Julie published her very first cookbook e-book called Low Lectin Lunches (+ Dinners, Too!) after discovering how a low lectin, gluten free diet was helping manage her chronic fascia/muscle pain.


  1. Ruth

    Great comments! I hope that the aviation industry clean-up will be part of that focus, also. Perhaps the stewardesses will spearhead that, somehow, since they have to work in that environment (choose to, rather) every day.
    I appreciated your hopefulness about healing from MCS.
    There are many who doubt that the retraining area is little more than helpful in dealing with anxiety and fears that come with having MCS…especially in the early part of it when you don’t know what the devil is happening to you! I think this is an exciting area of study, the whole brain plasticity thing, and plan to read more on it.
    I have the recommended books on order at the library, to get some background on it. I’m not sure I can say the word “cure” when it comes to MCS, but try to stay open to what’s developing in the field. I’d like to see Dr. Martin Pall and Ashok Gupta and the others (Lightning Process originator…name escapes me) working together on this thing, rather than in their own camps, exclusively.
    As far as reverting back to old, toxic lifestyles, after regaining health, that would be such a stupid move…and I agree, Education is so vitally important!
    Best to you!


    i am interested in more info. i have chronic fatigue, lyme disease erlicha and rocky mountain fever, electrical sensitivity, mcs…etc. i have tried it all. now doing the best protocol. what is new here? thanks , jane beecher

  3. Jeff

    I think everyone should try anything they believe can help, but I see a few red flags here.

    1. the fact that Hopper failed to respond to requests to elaborate on the neural science involved. She kept repeating that the brain can change the body’s physiology, which is like your neurologist offering nothing more than “the mind is a powerful thing”. Yeah, we get that. But we pay you to tell us why and how. Anyone who has spent this much time studying, researching, and developing a cure and balks at the chance to unleash the geek is suspect. You’d get more detail than that out of me if you asked about the drapes in my living room.

    2. What is involved with impaired limbic function? What are the markers? How can you tell it’s impaired? The only thing she seemed to know is the areas of the limbic system. I can google that too. For me to believe in this enough to fork over that much money for a workshop I want to see the work (like we had to do in math class). The conversations I’ve gotten into with people who spend their lives researching always winds up in some uber-biofreak speak about enzymes, globins, T-cells, pathways, ion channels, etc. Every system in the body has a process. Every process has a system which in turn has a process. And every illness has a disruption somewhere along the line. If you know what the disruption is, then you can give the street address, not just the country and state.

    I realize that the detail I’m looking for may be in the books that were discussed. But I would certainly like a more knowledgable spokesperson for the system she is promoting. I KNOW there is a reason and a cure for this. What I am skeptical about is whether anyone knows what they are at this point in time. I also know that MCS is a desperate situation, and it is easy to convince a desperate person to give you a chance for a fee.

  4. earthwalker

    I just completed Annie’s workshop. I just wanted to say: I love Annie!! I thought she was great, and her workshop was great. I will be writing an article about my experience, so stay tuned for that. I feel very hopeful for my future. But I am only on day 5 of a 6 month program so I will refrain from commenting on my MCS/ES/PTSD improvements until I am further along in the program.

  5. earthwalker

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for sharing your concerns and questions about this program. Annie is not a scientist nor physician, so I’m not sure you’ll get the “uber-biofreak speak” you’re hoping for. She was a core belief counselor before getting ill, and somehow she was able to develop a customized program from her own training and personal experience that relies on neuro linguistic programming and other approaches. She lists the therapies her program is based on on her website, I believe. You could read more about each of them to gain a deeper understanding of how they work.

    I totally understand and respect your hesitance to invest the money without more scientific explanations. But I just don’t know if you’ll get what you are looking for. It may just be best to wait until there are enough positive testimonials to make the investment less of a risk. She does have a 100% refund guarantee, but you have to do the program as outlined for a full 6 months before requesting a refund.

    I just completed her workshop and am really enjoying doing the exercises. I will share my progress in articles on Planet Thrive over the next few months so stay tuned to our site if you want to catch my updates. Best, Julie

  6. Joseph Linn

    Extremely MCS since childhood. Worse than ever now at 30. Have always been legally disabled.
    I live near Pt. Angeles, WA., right across the water from you.
    Could you please call my mom to give more info & prices? I have severe brain fog, can hardly eat & am down to 110 lbs.

    Thank you, Joseph

  7. earthwalker

    Hi Joseph,
    Annie is not affiliated with this site and does not necessarily read all the comments on this article. You can direct your mom to Annie’s website at to get pricing and other information. Wishing you luck, if you are so close to her maybe you can make her summer workshop in BC! Best, Julie

  8. Lauren

    I think it is absolutely wonderful that the dnr trainings are really helping people to get relief from their symptoms and live freer lives. My one concern is that there must be a reason why so many people are negatively effected by these chemicals–they’re toxic! It makes sense that our bodies would give us signals to stay away from certain things. I worry that the Annie’s trainings give the message that these toxic products like Tide and other conventional personal care products are ok for people to use, when in my opinion they are not ok for people or the environment. I don’t want to not smell or recognize when something is harmful to me. However, I do think that once the reactions are debilitating and very extreme it is necessary to retrain the brain to tolerate low levels of these chemicals.

  9. Angela_A

    How do you get in contact with Annie Hooper? I have sent E-mails on her website but yet to hear back. Does anyone know hot to get in touch??

  10. Laurel Lewis

    Have you posted any feedback/thoughts regarding this workshop? I would love to attend but would like to speak with an attendee and someone who has completed the 6 months of exercises.

  11. earthwalker

    Angela, the only way I know to reach Annie is through the contact email she provides on her website. It might take her time to respond since she is so busy traveling, giving workshops, and working on her DVD program though.

  12. earthwalker

    Hi Laurel,
    I have not posted any feedback on the workshop. I had planned to write an article, but soon after I returned, I decided to take a break from brain retraining for a bit, and felt I wanted to wait until I had done the program before I posted anything publicly about it.

    What I am hearing for both the Gupta and Hopper programs, is that some people are experiencing some immediate and very palpable changes in their chemical sensitivity levels, for others it takes longer, there are some claiming they have been cured of MCS, others find the exercises help with short term reactions but not with deeper long term reactions, and for others, the programs help with general anxiety about symptoms but not with the symptoms themselves. Keep in mind that its still very early in the process and results will depend on how people apply themselves to the exercises.

    I was glad I went to the workshop, it was a great experience for me, especially since I live very isolated – I really enjoyed the intimate group experience. It was helpful to have the concentrated guidance to be walked through the exercise over and over until it was second nature. Annie is a very inspired and passionate workshop leader and I enjoyed meeting her and being in her presence.

  13. Eve Masson

    What scientific evidence in the form of clinical data do you have to support your claims? Read the research and laboratory findings of Dr. Pall and the Roman Study upon multiple chemical sensitivity. Your claim people can just think themselves better from such serious neurological damage is quackery. I refer you to the death of this woman from chronic fatigue syndrome which is connected to multiple chemical sensitivity and electro sensitivity. The pathologist found significant spinal inflammation and neurological abnormalities in the autopsy after she died form chronic fatigue syndrome. Should she have just ‘thought’ herself better as well????

    Maybe the condition you had was psychological but the majority of multiple chemical sensitive sufferers have pathopysiological autoimmune disease which cannot be ‘thought’ away. And it’s quackery like this which prevents the sufferers of these diseases from getting the medical help they need.

  14. Eve Masson

    What are your medical qualifications Ms. Hopper?

  15. Lisa

    The only way you would know if it was your amygdala would be to go in an MRI and have someone spritz nail polish remover around the room and then if your amygdala lights up – then you’ll know that that’s the problem. From what I can tell,in my opinion,brain retraining is brainwashing but it does work for some people, and if your housebound and it helps you then it’s probably worthwhile – unless you think you’re ok but you’re actually being subtly damaged because you are exposing yourself to fumes and electromagnetic fields that you can’t handle, even though you convinced yourself that you could. It’s a crapshoot like everything else.

  16. Gloria Ross

    I would like to order the cd’s for my son. He need’s them really bad. Thanks, a concerend mother

  17. Gloria Ross

    Good Morning, Hope every body is progressing. I am doing ok. I need more time in the day. I was wondering if I could apply the tools & program to my allergies, pollen,trees,weeds, so on. That I have had since I was 25. Maybe Annie could answer that? The allergies really suck the life out of me, not hardly any energy during the day. Overall my attitude is still positive. I only miss a day here & there of study/practice. Good Luck & God Bless you folks, Dan

  18. earthwalker

    Hi Dan,
    I can’t promise that Annie will respond here, as she is very busy and may not be following this article on Planet Thrive. The best way to reach her is to contact her directly through her website: They do note that they cannot answer questions about the program, however, due to the high volume of questions that come in. Please check their website and also post in the DNRS Support Group on Planet Thrive to see if others have been able to improve their seasonal allergies with this program. I don’t know enough about those types of allergies myself to comment. I do know people have success with EFT for allergies so I would think the DNRS™ would help with that as well. If anyone can comment on this, please respond here so we can all see the response. Thank you!

  19. Rebekah

    I was thinking about trying to get to a workshop this October in the east coast of the USA. I have been aware of them for years and have been on her newsletter from the start, but I am trying to decide if it is worth it.

    First, without knowing Ms. Hopper and while being incredibly appreciative of anyone making progress and offering hope in relation to MCS, I have to say I have experienced her withholding of any kind of freely given self help information to be really a bit paranoid and I experienced it as cruel, even though I am sure she didn’t intend it that way.

    When I was first in contact with her YEARS, I mean YEARS ago I asked about a DVD as it was impossible both physically and financially for me to travel to a workshop…she assured me one was on the way. I subscribed to her newsletter, read “The brain that Changes Itself”, which was fascinating but didn’t leave me with any kind of a plan to address my own issues. Her newsletter always just promoted her seminar with just the teaser information and the basic neuroplasticity concept. This went on for years, every newsletter I hoped the DVD would be available and I just got tormented by hearing success stories about her workshop attendees. I had to eventually unsubscribe because this was just awful to know that there was a cure that I wasn’t privy to because I wasn’t rich. Very frustrating, for the life of me I can’t see how anyone who has suffered this would withold info from others for money. I understand work went into this, I understand she has her own bills etc, I understand needing and wanting to make a buck..BUT Gary Craig, Tapas Flemming, the creator of z-point etc all give the the basics and more away as self help for free. I am eternally grateful and deeply moved by those folks who have done this…AND they do just fine selling their dvds and seminars and making lots of money anyway.

    Even Gupta at least explains his program and informs you up front tat there are 6 months of daily excercises to do, all the success stories from Hopper’s site are like those one minute eft miracles. One workshop and I’m all better, which does not seem to be the case so the marketing aspect of her stuff really irks me.

    So as you see, I have some feelings about this:) I have made some good progress with faster eft (I did so much standard eft I could have bored holes to China without much result) I have done TAT and I am well enough now that I could travel, but I am still far from healed which is why I am considering going anyway.

    There just aren’t many options even though I don’t like how this lady goes about things.

    This has probably been covered, but for anyone who has gone and viewed the DVD’s is there any benefit in going to the workshop over just using the dvds? Thanks.

  20. earthwalker

    Hi Rebekah,
    You asked “for anyone who has gone and viewed the DVD’s is there any benefit in going to the workshop over just using the dvds?” From my experience, there are several reasons to take the workshop: 1) for those of us who have lived very isolated lives for years, being in an intimate group setting for 3 days can be powerfully nourishing in itself; 2) getting the 3 days of intensive practice/repetition of the exercises helps set up the discipline to follow the program through for 6 months (or longer); 3) you get one-on-one coaching from Annie Hopper; 4) if your workshop is in another town that you have to travel to and sleep in an unfamiliar place, that in itself is great for the brain retraining because it changes up your daily routine. There are probably other benefits to taking the workshop. Your feelings about Annie’s marketing style reflect what others have shared. What I can say is that when you meet her, you will probably love her. She is very skilled at what she does, she works very hard during the workshop, she has an amazingly upbeat, contagious joy for life, and is very authentic and caring. Let us know if you decide to go!!

  21. Rebekah

    Thank you for your response Earthwalker!

    I am considering going. I have to see about money and the like. I always do better in person than a video course where I have loads of distractions. I will do loads of feft to get over my anger about the marketing and will keep you posted:)

  22. T-Can

    Rebekah–I just read your comments here. I wanted to say I completely share your discomfort with the teasing marketing style that DNRS uses. It turned me off but I went ahead and purchased the DVDs anyway. It was a terrific start for me learning how to retrain my brain, why it works, etc.

    I could never have afforded the seminar, even the DVDs were out of my budget but I put them on my credit card. I’m all better now, going on ten months later. Part of my “cure” was due to DNRS, I think it set the foundation of brain retraining for me. But I quickly explored tapping and then FasterEFT and found that those modalities were accelerated means of brain retraining for me personally.

    I noticed you have been using FasterEFT and that you have found improvement. Keep it up! It’s free unless you decide to book sessions with a practitioner, which I’ve heard are excellent (see Diana Kettle’s messages on Planetthrive, there are some videos and such in the Brain Retraining Forum under FasterEFT discussions).

  23. Fran Neill

    Hi Julie,

    I’m really inerested in purchasing the DVD’s from Annie. However, I don’t want to do the self-hypnosis. No hypnotic states or trances for me. Is it really self-hyponosis or something else? Please explain.

    Thanks for your time,


  24. earthwalker

    Hmmm, I never thought of it as self-hypnosis or trancelike. But you might say it is. I think of it as very heavy on creative visualization. Imagining positive memories and visualizing future memories that flood the body/brain with endorphins. Not sure if that is technically self-hypnosis or what. If that does not appeal to you, then you might be more interested in the Gupta program, which uses similar exercises but is not as focused on the visualization aspect as the DNRS. You can read more about both here: Best, Julie

  25. Rosalee

    Has this program helped anybody recover from severe withdrawal from psych medications?

  26. Electronic Smoking

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