There is a “treatment” for chronic illness out there called Brain Retraining. I think it can have some benefits.
The biggest benefit I see is reduction of stress. In an illness like Biotoxin Illness (from toxic mold and/or bacteria) or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, there is a lot of stress. This is because, like few other illnesses besides severe allergies, environment affects the person dramatically. And oftentimes, we do not have control over the environment.
So, I feel that brain retraining might help calm a person who has been feeling attacked on all sides. It also might help if the person has mild PTSD related to the illness or finds themselves very anxious even if most substances around them are not harmful. And to be realistic, it is nearly impossible to avoid every single bit of chemical in our world today, so brain retraining might help for that particular fact.
On the other hand, there can be serious drawbacks, especially concerning Biotoxin Illness. Part of the brain re-training process usually includes desensitizing to the triggering stimuli. But, the body is trying to protect itself. Symptoms are the body’s warning system to get away. So, if one tried to desensitize to mold and ignore the warning sign the body provides, the mold can continue poisoning and even infect the person (fungal pneumonia or other fungal infection). This does not seem like a good idea at all.
I believe this is also true regarding chemicals, although less so. Chemicals do not infect, they only poison. Also small amounts of chemicals are not as dangerous overall as small amounts of mold, IMHO, mostly because mold spores replicate and are often active in producing toxins, whereas chemicals merely hang around (except in the case of combustion, which makes the chemicals more “active.”)
However, since MCS is a cumulative illness, I believe that every time a person avoids chemicals, they are saving their body the work of processing these chemicals. To circumvent this means to prolong illness overall, I believe.
So, while a person may enjoy “feeling better” at the moment, it may result in more fatigue later (which is truly impossible to measure because there is no way to know what it WOULD have been. 🙂 )
In some circumstances it may be worth it, because the person may have no choice but to be around chemicals, or they may want to live their life this way because their bodies are actually strong enough to detox and get through it anyway. The detox later may not be as bad as the symptom they have reduced or eliminated through brain retraining.
I am hoping to continue gaining strength against symptoms the “natural” way—reducing my toxic load so much that my body naturally lets go of the warning system little by little. I have already seen this in that I no longer get heart palpitations from a short exposure to fabric softener. But, I can see how others might choose a different path and want relief of symptoms more than they want overall energy (or whatever other benefits are reduced by reducing chemical avoidance).
Also, I am extremely truth oriented, so when I hear things like “low levels of chemicals aren’t going to hurt you,” I start getting angry, blood pressure rising, etc., which is not good for a program that is supposed to reduce one’s stress!!!!! LOL So I’m definitely not a candidate the program might help.
Granted, a small amount of chemicals is not going to hurt anyone as much as a large amount of chemicals. However, a substance doesn’t lose its characteristic of toxicity (incompatibility with the human body) just because there’s less of it.
Christa Upton Black Hills Picture Books Edgemont, SD 57735