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"Wired for Healing"

Sep 27, 2014 / 5:00 am
When I first started to write a column for the Kelowna Capital News in 2004, I never imagined how my life would change over the next 10 years. Nor could I imagine that my writing would influence people beyond Kelowna to reach readers worldwide in seven different languages. In my early...

Miracle of recovery

Jun 14, 2014 / 5:00 am
“Recovery is beyond anything that I could have imagined.” 
For five long and tortuous years, Paula had suffered from anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of depression started soon after her sons were born. But Paula did not tell anyone how she...

Can the brain really do that?

Mar 7, 2014 / 5:00 am
Did you know that it's possible to recover from chronic illness through rewiring the neural circuits in your brain? I know, it almost sounds too good to be true! But just ask Sara about her recovery from illnesses that perplexed the medical system for over sixteen years. Sara was only 11...

Love conquers all

Jan 19, 2014 / 5:00 am
Here’s the story of a lovely lady with three children who met a man who was busy with three children of his own. Together they formed a family - but this is not the story of the Brady Bunch. Instead, this is a real life account of how perseverance prevails over hardship when two people...

Can your environment affect your brain?

Oct 6, 2013 / 5:00 am
Prior to my journey with a disabling illness, I was living life to the fullest. I had a successful counselling practice, a newspaper column and was also a featured guest on local talk radio. I was involved in community theatre, a choir, my church, traveled extensively, had many friends, and was in...

Living life beyond your wildest dreams

Sep 8, 2013 / 5:00 am
Forest is planning a trip to Europe this fall! This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but when you understand where she came from, you will realize that Forest is now living a life that is way beyond her wildest dreams. It was not that long ago that Forest was living a very...

Over-activated stress mechanism

Jul 14, 2013 / 5:00 am
When we are feeling threatened by someone or something, we will naturally fight or flee the situation to defend ourselves or to ensure our survival. This is a healthy and normal response and is sometimes necessary. However the human brain has not evolved much since cave men days when we needed this...

The miracle of the healing brain

Jun 16, 2013 / 5:00 am
Sometimes people aren’t willing to embrace a new approach until they see the results. Lauren is one of those people. Lauren’s journey with illness started in 2002 when she was only 12 years old. Over the years her state of health continued to decline - despite extensive search for...

Is it real or is it the placebo effect?

Jun 2, 2013 / 5:00 am
In order to measure the effectiveness of a new drug, pharmaceutical companies are required to test the medication in a double blind placebo trial. This means that the drug is compared to a substance that is inert (the placebo). Instead of giving people the medication in question, they give them...

Trauma can lead to chronic illness

May 5, 2013 / 5:00 am
There are many sources of stress or trauma that have a direct impact on brain function. Psychological, emotional, physical, viral, bacterial and chemical just to name a few. Isolated or combined trauma can cause stress overload in the brain. When we reach the “tipping point”, the...

Dream home morphs into nightmare

Apr 21, 2013 / 5:00 am
Susan was a 42-year-old woman who was perfectly healthy, had a wonderful career and a full and rewarding life. She developed a condition known as environmental illness (a.k.a. chemical sensitivities) soon after she moved into a newly renovated apartment. Everything was new - paint, flooring,...

The brain is vulnerable to trauma

Apr 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
Sadly, millions of people suffer from seemingly mysterious chronic conditions that doctors and scientists have not been able to completely explain or treat. For many, unknowingly, they have suffered from a toxicant injury from chemicals, bacteria, viruses and/or psychological or emotional...

What happened to the old me?

Mar 24, 2013 / 5:00 am
It’s really easy to get stuck in negative thinking and feeling patterns. This is especially true if we have suffered from some kind of trauma that is affecting the emotional centers of our brain. When this area of the brain is impaired and not functioning properly, it can make us think...

Emotional transparency - a powerful gift

Mar 10, 2013 / 5:00 am
In the last week I heard some shocking news of a death. One of my favorite authors Debbie Ford passed away last week at the very young age of 58. Debbie had written many best selling books and the one that stands out for me the most is “The Secret of the Shadow”. I was greatly...

Train the brain to transform health

Feb 17, 2013 / 5:00 am

When you experience trauma to the limbic system - the part of the brain responsible for sensory perception, unconscious protective mechanisms and emotional control - you can begin to understand how injury to this system would begin to affect all aspects of your life. Damage to any neural...

Finding the silver lining

Jan 13, 2013 / 5:00 am
When we are in the middle of a life crisis, it is difficult to see how the experience could be of any benefit at all. Often times we are so immersed in the pain of a traumatic life event that we can’t see past it. However, it is often within our biggest life challenges that we...

Over-activated threat mechanism

Nov 23, 2012 / 5:00 am
When we are feeling threatened by someone or something, we will naturally defend ourselves to ensure our survival. This is a healthy and normal response. During this period of high stress, our bodies will release neurochemicals that increase our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) to...

What I have learned from my dog

Nov 18, 2012 / 5:00 am
My dog Bella is the cutest dog ever – she is a little Shih Tzu-Bichon cross. Part teddy bear, part Ewok. She is an adorable, furry, four-legged soul with a very childlike and kind disposition – except for those times when the doorbell rings. Then she morphs into an over-excited psycho...

Ease suffering on a global level

Nov 4, 2012 / 5:00 am
So much has happened in my life in the eight years that I have been writing this column. For those of you who are regular readers of my column, you have also been on this journey with me and I thank you for your readership and ongoing love and support. Being connected to you was a saving grace for...

Negative emotional addictions

Oct 7, 2012 / 5:00 am
Our emotional state creates specific chemical messengers called peptides that allow our cells to communicate with one another. Every different peptide fits into a specific receptor site on the cell wall that is designed like a lock and key fit, releasing specific chemicals throughout our body. ...

Mysterious illness eludes Mayo Clinic

Sep 9, 2012 / 5:00 am
Kevin was a very successful top executive for a large information technology corporation. He was happily married and had five beautiful children. He was healthy, happy and had life by the tail – or so it seemed. And with his success he did what most people do - he bought a bigger and better...

Slowing Down in a Land Far, Far Away

Aug 19, 2012 / 5:00 am
It’s as if I’d been dropped off on another planet. My plane arrived in Scotland on an early sunlit drenched day. My driver whisked me away to my new home away from home, in a land far, far away, in a 700-year-old castle nestled in the countryside. Having never been to a castle...

Chemical intolerance

Jul 29, 2012 / 5:00 am
Chemical intolerance affects one in every five people yet goes largely undiagnosed by physicians according to clinical research published July 9, 2012 in the journal Annals of Family Medicine. Chemical intolerance refers to people who are highly sensitive to common substances such as cleaning...

Taking time for you

Jul 15, 2012 / 5:00 am
With a busy work schedule, it seems as though the days morph into weeks and before I know it an entire month can come and go and I wonder what I have done with my time? It feels great to be so passionate and inspired with something, yet at the same time there is an inner yearning for quiet and...

Is your brain having a 'hiccup'?

Jun 17, 2012 / 5:00 am
Everyone at some time has thoughts that lead to feelings of fear or anxiety. That is completely normal and these feelings can actually help us to make healthy choices. For instance, feeling fear about how to cross a busy street in heavy traffic would be a valid fear and one that can save your life....

Sick doctors embrace neuroplasticity

Jun 3, 2012 / 5:00 am
In the beginning of May the Government of Switzerland had sponsored the Dynamic Neural Retraining System Team to teach a program in Zurich. As you can imagine, we were very excited to share this neuroplasticity-based paradigm and vital tools for healing on a global level. The participants who...

When life hands you lemons

Apr 21, 2012 / 5:00 am
When we are in the middle of a life crisis, it is difficult to see how our experience could be of any benefit at all. Often times we are so immersed in the pain of a traumatic life event that we can’t see past it. But think back for a minute about some of your past experiences that you...

Horrors of environmental illness

Apr 8, 2012 / 5:00 am
"At first my daughter got headaches when she went into a room that had been newly painted or carpeted. Walking into a department store with its perfume-y smells could set off a generalized malaise. Then I began to notice that Suzi was feeling "flu-ish" for days at a time, every...

Fake it 'til you make it

Mar 25, 2012 / 5:00 am
It dawned on me as I was watching Dancing With the Stars. The dancers always make their performances look so easy as they glide along the dance floor with poise and grace. What I also noticed is that each one of them has a huge grin plastered on their face. And yet, I know that they really...

Visualization and the injured brain

Mar 11, 2012 / 5:00 am
The National Research Council of Canada announced an amazing story this week about new approaches to brain injury. Their story focuses on neuroplasticity and the determination that is necessary for recovery. And more than that, this is a story about hope and inspiration. The hero in this story...

Choosing rose coloured glasses

Feb 26, 2012 / 5:00 am
Choosing to focus on the positive aspects of life can seem very difficult when we are constantly faced with challenging situations. What also makes this particularly difficult is that as human beings, our brains are actually hard wired to focus on the negative aspects of life due to our instinctual...

Making friends with the tiger

Feb 12, 2012 / 5:00 am
Disorganization of neural circuits in the brain due to trauma can have a devastating affect on our physical, emotional and mental health. This is especially true of limbic system trauma in the brain that is involved with illnesses like Chemical Sensitivities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and...

Be mindful of what you think

Jan 29, 2012 / 5:00 am
Your thoughts are physical. Yes, you heard me right. The thoughts that you think leave a lasting impression not only on your mind, but on your brain. Repetitive thought patterns leave an indelible imprint on the physical structure of your brain. Like an orchestra playing a specific song, the...

Recovery from mysterious illnesses

Jan 13, 2012 / 5:00 am
It’s 8 a.m. and the alarm clock has gone off twice already. Candy - a single mom who is struggling with a chronic illness - tries to cheerlead herself out of bed so she can get her eight-year-old son ready for school. “Wake up honey” she says with a fake smile, trying to hide...

'Get your affairs in order'

Jan 1, 2012 / 5:00 am
“I was suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Fibromyalgia that developed after a near death experience with mold” says Gloria from Texas, who now calls herself an “ex-canary.” People who suffer from Chemical Sensitivities are called the...

Feeling of Christmas in your heart

Dec 18, 2011 / 5:00 am
Christmas to me is a special time of starry nights filled with magic, love, twinkling lights and many moments of peace and happiness. In fact last night I was curled up on my couch, wrapped up in my favourite cozy blanket with my dog Bella, sipping on a hot cup of herbal tea, admiring...

Ripple effect of recovery

Dec 4, 2011 / 5:00 am
Rachel is a beautiful young woman, in the prime of her life. She talks in a southern belle accent and calls me “Ma’am”. She has a loving supportive husband and six beautiful children. You would never know to look at Rachel that she was sick. Rachel has not been able to be a...

Don't believe everything you feel

Nov 20, 2011 / 5:00 am
Typically we think that pain is a warning signal that we need to pay attention to. When we feel pain, we stop and take notice and try to ascertain why we are feeling pain and do what we can to alleviate it. Pain can be a brilliant built in protective and survival mechanism, that for the most...

It was just like being on Oprah!

Nov 6, 2011 / 5:00 am
It was less than two weeks ago that we were in Boston holding a program. Twenty eager participants gathered there from across the globe. They came from Germany, Switzerland, throughout the United States and Canada. The one thing that they all had in common is that all of them had suffered from...

My deepest wish has come true

Oct 9, 2011 / 5:00 am
If someone would have told me four years ago that I would completely recover from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia and Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome, I would have said “you’re dreaming!” Yet that dream came true. Not only have I recovered, but I now...
About the Author

Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Retraining and Rehabilitation Specialist who has been in the health and wellness field for over twenty years. Hopper is an expert in the field of acquired limbic system brain injuries and neuroplasticity and works primarily with those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chemical Sensitivities and other limbic system impairments.

In addition to being a Brain Retraining Specialist and Environmental Advocate, Annie also has years of experience as a Core Belief Counselor, Life Coach, Workshop Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Newspaper Columnist and featured guest as an Emotional Wellness Expert on talk radio.

With a deep understanding of illness and brain function, today Annie provides a wide range of programs and services to facilitate healing for others. Through limbic system neuro rehabilitation programs, counselling services, writing and keynote speeches, Annie provides vital, ground-breaking information and tools for recovery.

Annie can be reached at www.anniehopper.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.