How to keep smoke out of your house

If lots of smoke is getting into your house even the best air purifier won’t be able to keep the air clean.

Start with one room
If it is difficult to make your bedroom smoke-free, sleep in a room that you can make smoke-free. Use an air purifier.

Where smoke gets in and what to do about it
⦁ Under the door and around the edges
⦁ Where a sliding door sits on a track (top and bottom)
Use door seals under doors and/or draught excluders or rolled up towels. Use Window and Door Weather Strip around the edges of doors or painter’s tape or masking tape to cover the gap. (This may make it difficult to open the door. Painter’s tape doesn’t stick as strongly as masking tape and can be restuck more often.) Continue reading


Fear of food allergies

(This article first appeared in Sensitivity Matters March 2018.)

Someone once asked me if I felt anxious when I tested foods and implied that anxiety might be causing my reactions. I was surprised at the question. I was never expecting any reaction other than symptoms I had coped with for years before being diagnosed so I didn’t see anything to be anxious about. I enjoyed eating something different. I assumed other people felt the same way (unless they had life-threatening reactions) and these ideas about anxiety and reactions were just something psychiatrists made up.

It turns out there are people who live in fear of having a fatal allergic reaction, despite not actually being allergic to anything. There are also people who not only avoid foods that they are allergic to, but also foods they are just afraid of having allergic reactions to. Although there is no risk of dying, being severely anxious about having a fatal allergic reaction can have a devastating effect on people’s health and quality of life.

Continue reading

DNRS: A doctor’s comments about which patients benefit from it

On the DNRS website, Annie Hopper has some quotes from doctors, including one from Dr. William Shrader MD:

“Annie Hopper’s program, which addresses the limbic system “engrained memory” aspect of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and many other conditions, is the only way I’ve found for some patients to get out of their illnesses. Physical treatment is often just not enough…there are now patients I won’t even begin to treat until they go through her program.”

It appears to be taken from an introductory letter Dr Shrader wrote for Annie Hopper’s presentation to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine conference in 2013. It’s interesting to look at what was left out: Continue reading

DNRS, EHS and anxiety/OCD

Jeromy Johnson, a safe technology advocate, recently commented on DNRS as treatment for EHS. In reply to an enthusiastic comment about DNRS on his website he said,

I just want to add that I know dozens of people who have done this program. Some have really benefited (80-90% recovery) and others have not. The program is not a cure-all for everyone.

It really seems to help people who have had an extreme electrical hyper-sensitivity reaction where the brain’s limbic system needs help calming down. This is especially common if someone has any anxiety / OCD tendencies. In fact, if someone who contacts me seems to be overly fearful or obsessive about the downsides of technology/EMF, this program is usually the first thing I recommend they try. It can be incredibly helpful in these situations.

For others who have been injured from a big exposure or years of exposures or where there is an underlying detox issue, I have not seen such positive results.

This is not surprising because Annie Hopper’s “12 Critical Steps to Rewire the Limbic System” are very similar to psychiatrist Jeffrey M. Schwarz’s four step cognitive behavioural therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as I explained here:

Eighteen months of Gupta Amygdala Retraining™

Some “brain retraining for MCS” devotees have criticised me for daring to say anything negative about the DNRS and Gupta programs without having done them myself. So here is a comment from someone with MCS who tried the Gupta program:

Doing the Gupta Amygdala Retraining (affiliate), for 18 months under the supervision of a mental health professional did not cure me, or did it significantly reduce my chemical or mould sensitivities on an ongoing basis (short term relief for achieved), but it did teach me to calm my anxieties about the symptoms and pain considerably.  This did improve my quality of life and it did turn down the volume of my pain somewhat, to a level that was much more tolerable.  (well most of the time!)

Unfortunately, although some people with MCS report a full recovery doing a program like Gupta Amygdala Retraining, I do not believe it will lead to full recovery for all of us. Nor do I believe it is sensible for everyone to completely stop chemical and trigger expoure minimisation completely. When I did this (for 18 months) my sensitivities actually became worse.

Thinking yourself sicker

The author of the blog The Dainty Peach was eventually diagnosed with a congenital bowel condition completely unrelated to food and chemical sensitivities. Had doctors diagnosed it earlier she maybe she wouldn’t have suffered so much from anxiety or wondered if she had MCS at all. On 4 September 2011 she wrote:

I was researching non toxic, organic living room furniture when I stumbled upon some links for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Sometimes I will research a condition and it will sound like there is some overlap with the symptoms I usually experience, and I will be a little freaked out that that could be what’s wrong with me. Not so with MCS. I’m convinced it’s what I have. Well, pretty convinced.

I downloaded the book Chemical and Electrical Hypersensitivity: A Sufferer’s Memoir by Jerry Evans, and read it on my iPad. I started reading it at 8 or 9pm last night, woke up at 8am and finished it off around 3pm today. …

I don’t want to get ahead of myself or anything….but I am scared/anxious/scared again. … Not sure how safe my work is for me. Working with a whole bunch of computers? Makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t go to work tomorrow. Or ever again.

Continue reading

Treating MCS: What really works

(This article first appeared in Sensitivity Matters December 2003, so it doesn’t include treatments that have been developed since then, most notably Martin Pall’s protocol.)

The September 2003 Environmental Health Perspectives contained an study by Pamela Reed Gibson about the perceived effectiveness of various conventional and alternative therapies tried by 917 people with MCS contacted through the Chemical Injury Information Network and MCS support groups.* 82% of the people who completed the questionnaire were female, 95% were Caucasian. Their ages ranged from 20 to 82, with a mean age of 53 years.

They described the severity of their MCS as:
Mild ………………..7%
Moderate …………32%
Severe …………….45%
Totally disabling ..13%

They believed the cause of their chemical sensitivity to be: Continue reading

Obsessive fragrance wearers

Asking people to refrain from wearing fragrance around you because it gives you asthma, headaches or other symptoms should be simple. It often is, but some people are extremely difficult about it. If you’ve ever thought some people were irrational about their fragranced products you’re not wrong. 

There are those who are literally obsessed with perfume, such as:

I’ve had pretty bad ocd [obsessive-compulsive disorder] since I was a kid but it comes and goes. For the past year I have developed serious ocd about my fragrances.

For starters I feel an absolute need to display all of my fragrances. This includes mini’s all on their own separate tray and two transparent candle holders full of samples. I windex and wipe all of them at LEAST once a week. I’ve never been a particularly materialistic person. I could care less about jewelry and fancy clothes, but for some reason I’m so attached to my perfumes. I’ve bought three in the past week. Financially this isnt that bad for me, but where will it end? I almost feel like I wont be satisfied until I smell every perfume ever made, I always feel like the most beautiful scent in the world is out there just waiting for me and I’ll never find her.

Every time I use one, I have to rub off my finger prints and place it back in the exact same spot it was before. I also cant leave the house without a sample or a roll on in my purse. I have nightmares about house fires or break ins. I dont live in a particularly bad area and my family and I have been victims of fire before so we’re extremely careful, but still this thought comes to mind. I’m moving from Michigan to Texas soon and instead of flying I’m actually renting a car just so I can be sure my perfume gets there safely. And after I get settled in I’m getting a doberman just in case someone even thinks about breaking in my house. I could care less about my electronics or my small crystal collection, but if anything happened to my perfume I think I would have a nervous breakdown.

I think I have a problem

and this woman: Continue reading

DNRS, obsessive compulsive disorder and MCS

Annie Hopper, who “has years of experience as a Core Belief Counsellor, Life Coach, Workshop Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Newspaper Columnist and featured guest as an Emotional Wellness Expert on talk radio” now calls herself “a Limbic System Retraining and Rehabilitation Specialist.” She developed the Dynamic Neural Retraining System™ (DNRS). The DNRS website claims that “Limbic System Rehabilitation [is] A viable treatment for: Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome, Chronic Pain, Gulf War Syndrome, Anxiety, Food Sensitivities, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.”

So what do people doing DNRS actually do? There is very little information available unless you pay US $249.95 for the DVD program or US $2995 – $3495 for a “Live In-Person Seminar.”

Linda Worthington, a DNRS success story, wrote,

I have been working with the Dynamic Neural Retraining System program for just over 3 months. In that short time I have begun to see exciting progress. One of the keys to this, in my belief, is Annie Hopper’s gentle but firm insistence on expanding one’s “comfort zone”, adding back electricity, chemicals, etc., in a mindful and intelligent way, using the program to eliminate the fear and avoidance that was typical of our response in the past.

This will seem strange to people with MCS who don’t have fear to eliminate. It gets stranger. This is the most detailed explanation available for free that I’ve found, from a lecture by Annie Hopper: Continue reading

Autism, chemical sensitivity and Environmental Medicine


(This article first appeared in Sensitivity Matters September 2015)

A new study has found that mothers with chemical intolerances were three times more likely than other women to have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 2.3 times more likely attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It is good to see this study in a mainstream medical journal, but the link between chemical intolerance or sensitivity and autism comes as no surprise to people familiar with MCS.

Studies have linked autism to a variety of chemical exposures, notably pesticides. Many cases of MCS have been caused by chemical exposures, often pesticides. Martin Pall’s nitric oxide/peroxynitrite (NO/ONOO) theory explains how various classes of chemicals, including pesticides, can initiate MCS and in his 2007 book, Explaining “Unexplained Illnesses”, he suggests, with supporting evidence, that autism could also be an NO/ONOO disease.

There are many families dealing with both MCS and autism, and the much maligned Environmental Medicine doctors who treat people with MCS have also been treating people with autism effectively for decades. Continue reading