Reset Retreats

Brain Retraining with Ashok Gupta

Picture of podcast cover art with Christa Biegler and Ashok Gupta: Episode 340 Brain Retraining with Ashok Gupta

This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I am excited to be joined by Ashok Gupta who is the mind behind The Gupta Program and a leading expert in the field of neuroimmune conditioned syndromes (NICS). In this episode, Ashok tells us about how he became interested in brain retraining, what it is, and how he was able to heal himself using it. We also talk about the limbic system, neuroplasticity, how the brain reacts to trauma and stress, epigenetic effects and more! Ashok has several published medical papers that you can check out on his website under the research tab.


  • What is the limbic system?
  • What is brain retraining?
  • How would you describe some of the things that happen in brain retraining?
  • What is parts work?
  • How to bring awareness to unrealized stress
  • Awareness is key!
  • Can our genetic makeup change?
  • What if I can't meditate?
  • Why should you introduce screens to children as late in life as possible?
  • Why comparison is so toxic

Ashok Gupta is an internationally renowned Speaker, Filmmaker & Health Practitioner who has dedicated his life to supporting people through chronic illness, and achieving their potential. Ashok suffered from ME, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, around 25 years ago when he was studying at Cambridge University. Through neurological research that he conducted, he managed to get himself 100% better. He then set up a clinic to treat others, and then published the well-known neuroplasticity “limbic retraining” recovery program and app known as the Gupta Program in 2007. He has published several medical papers, including randomized controlled trials on Long Covid, ME/CFS, and fibromyalgia, showing that the treatment is effective, and he is continually researching these conditions.


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A special thanks to Jigsaw Health for sponsoring this episode. Get a discount on any of their products, including my favorite, Pickleball Cocktail. Use the code lessstressed10



[00:00:00] Ashok Gupta: If our brain thinks that we are still under threat, or we haven't processed an emotion from a previous threat, it believes that the threat is still present. 

[00:00:11] Christa Biegler, RD: Stress is the inflammation that robs us of life, energy, and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down. We're over medicated and underserved. At The Less Stressed Life, we're a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional Western medicine toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories.

[00:00:37] Christa Biegler, RD: Each week, our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

[00:00:55] Christa Biegler, RD: All right. Today on The Less Stressed Life, I have Ashok Gupta, who is, I was telling him offline, the OG, the original gangster of kind of limbic system and brain retraining, which has become quite popular now, but I feel like I've known about his program since. The beginning of time. So he's an internationally renowned speaker, filmmaker and health practitioner who's dedicated his life to supporting people through chronic illness and achieving their potential.

[00:01:19] Christa Biegler, RD: Before I read his bio this week, I actually didn't know about why he created this program, but so often our life mission comes out of our own suffering. And so he suffered from Emmy or chronic fatigue syndrome around 25 years ago when he was studying at Cambridge university. Through neurological research that he conducted, he managed to get himself 100 percent better.

[00:01:38] Christa Biegler, RD: He then set up a clinic to help and treat others and then published the well known neuroplasticity limbic retraining recovery program, an app known as the Gupta program in 2007, which is why it feels like forever. Over 15 years now. He's published several medical papers, including a randomized trial, randomized control trials on long COVID chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia showing that the treatment is effective and continually researching these conditions, which is always fun to get into that.

[00:02:05] Christa Biegler, RD: So welcome to the show today. H. R. 

[00:02:07] Ashok Gupta: Gupta. Thank you so much, Krista. What a wonderful introduction. Thank you. 

[00:02:11] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. All right. So let's get into it. I know we want to get into some deep things, but limbic system is a word that gets thrown out. Brain retraining gets thrown around. So if we can just give a little bit of a 101 on the limbic system.

[00:02:26] Christa Biegler, RD: Neuroplasticity, and then we'll talk about how these, physical manifestations affect that area. . 

[00:02:31] Ashok Gupta: Sure. If we start with the limbic system part of the brain is the more ancestral brain, the, what they call the mammalian brain. So that sits within the center of the brain below the cortex.

[00:02:41] Ashok Gupta: So the neocortex is more associated with human beings, but all mammals have a limbic system. Which is very developed and the limbic system. If you think about it is a kind of protective part of the brain. So traditionally limbic system, you think of the emotional part of the brain, protective part of the brain.

[00:02:58] Ashok Gupta: But as far as the brain is concerned, those two things are the same. Emotions are protective and the immune system and nervous system are protective. So they all or their main functions sit within the limbic system. So you have the amygdala, you have the Hippocampus. We have the thalamus. So those are some of the brain structures which coordinate incoming signals and determine autonomic system functioning are some of our immune functioning is all coordinated through that limbic system.

[00:03:26] Ashok Gupta: Part of the brain. 

[00:03:27] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah, 

[00:03:28] Christa Biegler, RD: when you were. struggling 25 years ago, how did you come across brain retraining where did this come up? I'm guessing this was not the first thing that you tried. 

[00:03:39] Ashok Gupta: Oh, no. So in the mid nineties as you said, many of us have come to this healing work because we've been through our own healing journeys.

[00:03:46] Ashok Gupta: And so when I was suffering as an undergrad, this was the mid nineties. There was no neuroplasticity brain retraining. That wasn't something that was talked about or even mainstream. But it was the work of professor Joseph LeDoux. Which I first encountered, and it was one of those chance meetings. I was in a bookstore, I was really unwell, I was trying to figure out what to do.

[00:04:05] Ashok Gupta: And this book just called out to me, and it was called The Emotional Life of the Brain. And I thought, the emotional life of the brain. And I picked it off the shelf, and it was all this heavy neuroscience. But something intuitively just told me, there's something that you need to read in this book, and I can't Describe what that was, but that was the foundational start for me understanding what causes these types of conditions and then going on to publish my medical paper on it.

[00:04:28] Ashok Gupta: And I went from doctor to doctor. I tried so many different treatments. I had nutritional supplements, diet changes, antidepressants, whole range of different things. And doctors would tell me, we don't know what you've got. We don't have any treatment for it. We don't even know what to call it. And you might have it for the rest of your life, which is almost a death sentence to a young man.

[00:04:48] Ashok Gupta: And that started my quest to understand these conditions. And I studied brain neurology and thought this has to be in the brain. And I don't know, once again, I can't describe to you why I thought that, but I thought if every single organ and cell in the body is affected, the centralized. Messenger, as it were, is the brain that coordinates all of this.

[00:05:07] Ashok Gupta: That must be at the root cause. And now, lo and behold, recently we're finding that so many different conditions could now be potentially explained by and cured by shifts that we make in the brain. So it's a very exciting area. 

[00:05:19] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. I don't think in your history when we talked about you having chronic fatigue syndrome, the onset, I don't know if you know what the onset was.

[00:05:28] Christa Biegler, RD: And in general, I'd like to talk about things that are really commonly affecting neuroinflammation and neuroinflammation. The bottom line for me is that if your brain is inflamed, it's affecting every other system in the body. That's what I've seen in immunology research. So can we talk about how.

[00:05:44] Christa Biegler, RD: Viruses and these different kind of chronic conditions impact or talk to the limbic system or affect neuroinflammation and then create issues where the brain needs support. 

[00:05:58] Ashok Gupta: So it's quite a deep question. So we'll have to come into it in stages. So if we start with the question I always like to ask people right from the beginning, when we think about what's going on in the brain, why are we here?

[00:06:11] Ashok Gupta: Now, I'd love to have an hour long philosophical conversation with you about that. No, I'm not prepared for that question. Okay, so we'll go through the science of it. Why are we here? We're here because this brain, this nervous system, this immune system, has adapted and allowed us to survive in this environment so we can pass on our genes to the next generation.

[00:06:29] Ashok Gupta: Our DNA, has developed through plant life single celled organisms. Invertebrates, vertebrates, mammals, human beings, and actually our DNA contains a lot of that lineage. So people don't realize this, but a fascinating fact, we contain 40 percent of the same DNA as a banana, right?

[00:06:48] Ashok Gupta: Isn't that quite an incredible stat? So we contain that lineage and that protection mechanism, as it were, to help us survive and adapt and pass on our genes. So that's a bit of evolutionary biology that then sets us up for the scene of what causes. And so let's take the example of long COVID, because I think we all know somebody who's still suffering from long COVID or whatever.

[00:07:10] Ashok Gupta: COVID infection comes along, and normally our immune system switches on, it fights off the COVID infection, and the system goes back to standby mode. Yep, that's how it generally works with, viruses, bacteria, and in the case of mold, we might be exposed to mold, or Lyme. Or we may have a pain, let's say, in a certain part of the body that generalizes, so we have a pain threat.

[00:07:30] Ashok Gupta: These are all threats on the system. Now, for most of us, as I said, it switches on and it switches off. But what happens is for some patients, and we know that about 10 to 30 percent of COVID patients go on to having lingering symptoms for at least a few months, the brain seems to feel that the threat has not been extinguished.

[00:07:50] Ashok Gupta: So to err on the side of caution, it continues with its defensive mechanisms. Yeah. And when they look at the some of the brain neurology of this, and I will go through some of the studies, which I think are fascinating, they seem to identify two brain structures, which are really causing this. One is the amygdala and the amygdala is two almond shaped structures that sit behind our eyes.

[00:08:11] Ashok Gupta: And they essentially are responsible. Traditionally, it was thought for fight or flight responses, emotional responses, but now they're finding the immune system and nervous system responses, the threat level awareness also sits in the amygdala. And then we have the insular part of the brain that sits between the cortex and the limbic system.

[00:08:29] Ashok Gupta: It doesn't sit in the limbic system. Recent research is showing that part of the brain actually coordinates some of our immune responses and stores immune responses ready for the next time. And so we believe that in those two brain structures. They find this exposure so traumatic that they get conditioned and learn to over respond.

[00:08:51] Ashok Gupta: Even the absence of a threat. And I know you mentioned some of these analogies which can be really powerful. I want to give an analogy that people just seem to just get it when they hear it, right? So imagine you are Queen Krista, right? And, you a Game of Thrones fan? Or a I 

[00:09:07] Christa Biegler, RD: have not watched the Game of Thrones, but I can play along.

[00:09:10] Ashok Gupta: You can 

[00:09:10] Ashok Gupta: play along, okay. Take a fairy tale. Let's imagine we're in a fairy tale, and you are Queen Krista of your kingdom. So your kingdom represents your body. Okay. And you have an army, which is your nervous system, and you have a navy, which is your immune system. And their job is to, once again, defend the kingdom against attack.

[00:09:29] Ashok Gupta: So invading army comes in, your immune system and nervous system kick in, your army and navy. They fight off the incoming invader and they go back to standby. All good. Now imagine there's a drought in the kingdom, which is caused by many things. So if we're taking the analogy. of the kingdom. It could be a drought.

[00:09:49] Ashok Gupta: It could be some other negative thing going on in the kingdom. But in the body, what we're referring to is the allostatic load. So what that means is how much cumulative stress, physical, emotional, toxic stress is the system being exposed to that weakens it overall. So now the invaders come in over the hill, but your army and Navy are weaker.

[00:10:11] Ashok Gupta: The whole system is weaker. The whole kingdom is weaker. And so they valiantly fight off the invader, but they're traumatized because they managed to only just fight off the invader because they're weaker. So they come to you just after they've fought off those battles and they say, Queen Krista, we fought the enemy off, but we're not sure if they're still around.

[00:10:32] Ashok Gupta: So we now need all the resources of the kingdom because we need to keep defending. And we think they're out there in the jungles. And you say, yeah, it makes logical sense. So they've given all the corn, the wheat, the metal, everything gets channeled to the army and navy. And now they're on hyper alert.

[00:10:48] Ashok Gupta: And even a man coming over the hill on his horse, they fire off their weapons of war. That's the neuroinflammation, the generalised inflammation across the body. Now what happens, some of those arrows start accidentally falling back in the kingdom. So now the kingdom itself feels like it's under attack.

[00:11:05] Ashok Gupta: And that's when we get the autoimmune type conditions or neuro general inflammatory type diseases. Then what happens is opportunistic spies in the kingdom. They start getting activated because now there's no funding going to the. Secret Service to get rid of spies. So now the spies are proliferating.

[00:11:25] Ashok Gupta: That's your opportunistic infections, bacterial infections, sensitivities, etc. So now the kingdom itself is getting affected by this scenario. And that is the lack of homeostasis. Army and Navy, nervous system and immune system, hyperactive, hyper defending, weakness in the body, neuro inflammation and generalised inflammation, and then opportunistic infections.

[00:11:46] Ashok Gupta: And then, of course, gut dysbiosis. So now, the kingdom itself can't even produce enough food and then feed its hungry population because it's dysregulated. The whole system is dysregulated, so you get the gut dysbiosis. And that is the way the system will continue. perpetuating the illness. Because the weaker and weaker the kingdom gets, the more the resources get channeled to the army and navy to defend the kingdom against a long gone threat.

[00:12:14] Ashok Gupta: And brain retraining is when you next have that meeting with your army generals and they say Queen Krista, we need all the resources again. You say, my dear commanders, you've done a valiant job in defending the kingdom, but the war is over. You can stand down. And it reminds me of a beautiful story.

[00:12:32] Ashok Gupta: Can you imagine what year was the last soldier taken off duty at the end of the Second World War? What year would you imagine? 

[00:12:40] Christa Biegler, RD: I have no idea, but actually, probably quite a bit later because I think about our Iraq war and I think about how there's still lots of posts. There's still, I think, I don't know, I'm not up on this, but I really don't know.

[00:12:53] Christa Biegler, RD: Was it 10 years after the war ended? Was it 20, 

[00:12:57] Christa Biegler, RD: 30, 40, 

[00:12:58] Ashok Gupta: 30 years, 30 years. So what happened was. This battalion of soldiers situation on an island in the Pacific, the Japanese soldiers, they didn't believe it when the enemy said the war's over. 

[00:13:09] Christa Biegler, RD: Sure. 

[00:13:09] Ashok Gupta: You can come out of hiding because they've been told this is war.

[00:13:13] Ashok Gupta: Don't believe anybody. And it was only when their senior commanders came over to the island and found them and said the war is over, that they actually stand down. And in a similar way, that's how we can feel about our bodies, that our bodies. are not attacking us. They're not trying to do anything negative.

[00:13:26] Ashok Gupta: They're there to heal us and protect us and feel and help. And all these systems are there to help us feel good. But sometimes they become dysregulated and over defending. And because of the toxic environment we live in, we're more prone to these types of diseases. 

[00:13:41] Christa Biegler, RD: Want to talk I think that analogy is lovely and it works and it makes it very tangible for us, right?

[00:13:48] Christa Biegler, RD: When we think about soldiers and how, of course, there's a traumatic response, I do want to talk about, let's table this one let's add this one second, but I do want to talk about when people don't realize that's a traumatic response because I find that's the real wall. And so let's come to that next.

[00:14:03] Christa Biegler, RD: But when you were just talking about the second world war, it got me thinking about recently my dad, who is a Vietnam veteran. , he's never showed emotion his whole life. Which means a lot. And so not very for the last couple of times I've been around him or been with him, he was sharing with me that he's starting to have these traumatic nightmares.

[00:14:24] Christa Biegler, RD: And so this is a really a dramatic, but a very realistic example for so many that just came up as you were giving this fairy tale example about war. And then later the second world war, and I was thinking about. How so many Americans struggle with sleep. And I was thinking about how he was telling me when he went into his knee surgery, he woke up and he was in the war again, right?

[00:14:48] Christa Biegler, RD: And now his sleep has been disturbed by the war. And this is very common. I've heard you talk about this in other interviews, I'd like to talk about So many people struggle with sleep, and I know you talk a little bit about how this brain inflammation, the emotional impact of things starts to become an issue with sleep.

[00:15:05] Christa Biegler, RD: Can we talk about that in that context? Also one more thing that I wanted to mention here that I think is, I heard. talked about and I've heard in multiple versions, but our brain, when it's thinking about threats, it doesn't know the difference between imagination and reality, which is the benefit of, if you're imagining you're in this like safe place and you can actually believe that your brain can believe it as well.

[00:15:27] Christa Biegler, RD: So can you talk about that a little bit? 

[00:15:29] Ashok Gupta: Yes, absolutely. So imagine that our brains are wired. for safety, not for wellness. Safety matters more than wellness. And our brain will always err on the negative side, right? So if someone gives you 50 compliments, and one person criticizes you, what is your brain gonna remember?

[00:15:50] Ashok Gupta: It's gonna remember the criticism, right? Because it's wired to see the world as potentially dangerous and threats being out there, and that's what ensures survival. Not celebrating the good stuff, but actually warning about the bad stuff. So the brain's kind of, And so when it comes to sleep, if our brain thinks that we are still under threat, or we haven't processed an emotion from a previous threat, it believes that the threat is still present.

[00:16:19] Ashok Gupta: This is the key thing, and it is also relevant not only for trauma in war, but also adverse childhood experiences when people go through trauma or abuse as a child. What happens is during that experience, a part of your brain finds it overwhelming to be able to actually process that emotion, to understand what's going on.

[00:16:41] Ashok Gupta: It's too horrific. So the brain comes up with a strategy. I'm going to repress this emotion, push it down, and not feel it at a physical level, but also remove the memory of it. And in doing so, that protects the overall system from being affected by that emotion. But the problem is, it's not a perfect repression.

[00:17:02] Ashok Gupta: So little bits of that emotion keep seeping up, keeping the nervous system hyper aroused and hyper stimulated. But at some point in our life, when we start opening up emotionally, whether that be, so for some people that can be the birth of their child, for some people that can be going into therapy, for some people that can be completely random and we don't know why.

[00:17:22] Ashok Gupta: Suddenly those memories start coming up and seeping up properly because the system says we're ready to now process this. The challenge is that if somebody doesn't have the right tools and techniques, the first thing that gets affected is their sleep. Now, why the sleep? Because if you're in danger, why would you want to sleep?

[00:17:40] Ashok Gupta: The brain saying, Hey, this is. present danger, clear present danger. Don't go to sleep, try and deal with this. Which is why if we've had an argument with somebody or something's not going well in our lives, we'll wake up at four or five o'clock in the morning. And the first thing that we're thinking about is.

[00:17:56] Ashok Gupta: That situation and we can't get it out of our heads because the brain says, I want you to deal with a situation because we're unsafe. We're in danger. And that's why sleep tends to suffer a lot for people who are veteran war veterans or people who have adverse childhood experiences because there's a part of them.

[00:18:14] Ashok Gupta: And this comes down to parts work. There's a part of them that it stays at the same developmental age as when the trauma occurred. So there is an inner child living inside us that went through the trauma of whatever it may be when we were younger, small T or large T trauma, and is still reacting as if it's happened today.

[00:18:36] Ashok Gupta: And then you can understand why sleep gets affected, our nervous system gets affected. Because it's been unresolved. 

[00:18:43] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. You just used a term called parts work. Will you just quickly describe parts 

[00:18:47] Christa Biegler, RD: work? 

[00:18:49] Ashok Gupta: Sure. So parts work, we use a number of different modalities at our clinic to support people through chronic health.

[00:18:55] Ashok Gupta: And we find that parts work parts therapy, parts coaching, is incredibly powerful and probably the most powerful way, we believe, of supporting people through chronic illness, and then also later down the line for our coaches who are qualified, supporting them through releasing trauma. And Park's work is in this idea that we are not made of one person or one personality, but we have these sub personalities.

[00:19:21] Ashok Gupta: So imagine you've had a slice of cake, and you think that delicious cake. And then you think, oh, there's a second slice of cake. Now you aren't one mind making that decision, but there are two or three people inside you. So there's a little part of you that's the, the kind of cookie monster that says I want to have that second slice of chocolate cake because it will make me feel really good and I'll get that temporary hit.

[00:19:43] Ashok Gupta: But there's another part of you, the more angelic side, let's surely say, that says if I have that cake, actually, I'm going to feel rubbish afterwards, and I'm on a diet, whatever it may be, and I don't want to have that. That's chocolate cake. And there's another part that might be in a critic saying, Oh look at you.

[00:19:57] Ashok Gupta: You just want to keep eating all this stuff. Don't you know better? So you've got all these little voices in your head, which are actually like sub personalities arguing between each other, what the right course of action is for you. And these parts get created during different parts of our lives, and our role is to become aware of these parts, to treat them as distinct entities, and then we can begin to support them in healing, so that they no longer cause chaos in our unconscious.

[00:20:27] Christa Biegler, RD: Okay. So I think sometimes when we're in this work, once you start to learn about something and understand it, I find once you see something, you just cannot unsee it and then you want to support someone with it, but a common area of struggle here, it's, it's one thing if I'm talking about. My dad who went through the Vietnam war, we can acknowledge that trauma, , and you talked about adverse childhood experiences.

[00:20:52] Christa Biegler, RD: And we think about these as like these big traumas, but some people would say everyone's got trauma. And I think one of the biggest challenges I face in practice is unrealized stress in myself and in my clients that mirror me, right? I used to, okay, I still am a. I natively am a fast talker. If you met the women in my family, you would understand, but I talk right now much more slowly than I used to.

[00:21:19] Christa Biegler, RD: And so that was a stress response that I did not know I had for a long time. It's just an easy, it's you don't realize what you don't realize. Can you talk a little bit about now when you're helping people, they've had that realization. So often people come into my practice doing nutritional chemical interventions which are super relevant.

[00:21:39] Christa Biegler, RD: But we're talking a little bit about neuroplasticity and brain retraining and all these things. What are your feelings, thoughts about unrealized stress and helping people put a shine, a light on their unrealized stress that they just don't realize. Is a stress response. So this 

[00:21:56] Ashok Gupta: is where community healing is really important.

[00:22:00] Ashok Gupta: So within the Gupta program, we have several options for that. So we have a buddy program where people are able to buddy up with somebody and have that awareness because everyone's a mirror around us, essentially. We often can't see that within us, but when someone gives us feedback, it gives us. and awareness.

[00:22:16] Ashok Gupta: And then when people work with a coach, what happens is the coach is there to help you co regulate. So the coach is there to be more centered and calm so they can be a mirror for you to recognize, ah, I talk fast. Ah, I actually get crippling anxiety if I have to speak in front of a group. Now, why is that?

[00:22:33] Ashok Gupta: What's going on there? So the mirrors around us in community healing, I think can be very powerful. And the second aspect of this is going inwards. So through the art of meditation and self awareness and self, reflection, we can start becoming more aware of the situations. So what happens is normally in life, we're on automatic pilot.

[00:22:54] Ashok Gupta: Yeah. And we identify with whatever part of this is coming up. So let's say, give the example of public speaking, which. is the number one fear in the population. It's even, it's ranked even higher than death in terms of what people are afraid of. When you suddenly have to give a public talk, you notice the anxiety coming up, and it overwhelms you.

[00:23:11] Ashok Gupta: In those moments, you're completely overwhelmed. You don't have the opportunity to actually take a step back and observe what's going on within you because you're just completely identified with the anxiety. But what do we then do to overcome it? We have to talk to ourselves. We say, it's okay, I got this.

[00:23:25] Ashok Gupta: I know my stuff. I'll do a good job. In that way, we are talking to that anxious part of ourselves to help soothe and calm it down. And so what we do in our program is get people to start being more of the witness of their reactions in life and to become the witnessing observer of it and regular breathing, regular meditation, regular relaxation techniques, somatic work.

[00:23:50] Ashok Gupta: What they do is they stop us from being so identified with our. Past and our parts and our reactions, but instead to be more the loving witness and go, Oh, it's how interesting that my mind did that. Ooh, I just noticed that my mind did that. And it's only when we do that, that we, all that was unconscious now becomes to conscious awareness.

[00:24:08] Ashok Gupta: And really, if we think about personal development, the first starting point of personal development is awareness. If we're not aware of what we used to do, we can't choose where we want to go. And therefore it's that awareness, shine the spotlight. On these little stress reactions, little things that we do.

[00:24:26] Ashok Gupta: And sometimes, we ask people to go inwards and to literally ask their intuition. What is my stress? What is bothering me? And a great question I'd love everyone to ask themselves regularly is What's really bothering me because what at the surface we think is stressful or what's a tragic issue in our lives, we ask that deeper question.

[00:24:47] Ashok Gupta: What's really bothering me under the surface. We dive into that. That then gets the root causes and we can start addressing that and being aware. 

[00:24:55] Christa Biegler, RD: I think powerful questions indicate a great life quite often. So you just gave us a good powerful question. What's really bothering me. This reminds me, I did a breathwork session yesterday for clients and the topic was buffering, which is any activity that we do to avoid an emotion.

[00:25:12] Christa Biegler, RD: And so when we were going inside, we were looking for what is the emotion I'm trying to avoid. Underneath this buffering. So very similar to your question, if you're having trouble accessing that, sometimes it's and one of the girls in the group, one person had said, I think the emotion is overwhelmed.

[00:25:28] Christa Biegler, RD: And another girl said, I think you should dig deeper. I don't think it's overall. I think there's a piece underneath of that, which was very beautiful example of community healing. And I just, it was just very heartwarming. 

[00:25:39] Christa Biegler, RD: You brought up earlier. How our job in life is to reproduce, right? To continue the life cycle.

[00:25:49] Christa Biegler, RD: And you talked about our genetic makeup. And I'd like to talk a little bit about how, and when, and if our genetic makeup can change and the concept of trauma being passed down from a grandparent to a parent to a child, which is becoming, I think, a little bit of a hot topic. Will you talk about that?

[00:26:08] Ashok Gupta: Yes, absolutely. So this is the epigenetic effects. So it used to be believed in the 80s and 90s that we had our genes, that was our genetic inheritance, and that determined how our body functions in the world, pretty much fixed. And so we mapped out the genome and we thought, ha, we now can predict what illness someone's going to get.

[00:26:27] Ashok Gupta: Everything's genetic. We've done it. We've solved the world's problems. That actually didn't turn out that way at all, because it turned out that our genes. obviously, as many people know, interact with our environment to then decide how our body reacts. So there are two factors there. And as an example, it used to be thought that cancer was 80, 90 percent genetic.

[00:26:45] Ashok Gupta: Now they know actually it's 70, 80 percent lifestyle and all the other factors in our lives. And so the epigenetic factors that we are affected by, originally it was thought it's viruses, it's bacteria. Once again, that biomedical model of how our genes respond according to our environment. But now we realize even our adverse childhood experiences can impact on that genome and the epigenetic parts of that express themselves in our environment.

[00:27:16] Ashok Gupta: And then when we meditate, guess what, 30 or 40 inflammatory genes

[00:27:22] Ashok Gupta: So our gene expression is constantly modulating, constantly changing according to our lifestyle, our mind and everything that we're doing. And as you say, then the next factor comes in. That then could mean that the those epigenetic impacts of our previous ancestors and what they lived through and how that impacted on their genes then can be inherited.

[00:27:45] Ashok Gupta: And we can then experience that as well. So that is the idea of the kind of trauma lineage almost, as it were, that we may be actually healing the past traumas of previous generations. And we might think why is it falling on me to do all of that, right? Some people say to me, actually, I've had enough of growing now.

[00:28:03] Ashok Gupta: I want to just, have fun for a while. Do you know what I mean? I say, I know. And I say have fun healing, combine the two of them, make it a fun experience. And that is what, one of the things we talk about ancestral healing, some shamans talk about this idea that actually we can be certain people chosen in the lineage to actually be healing.

[00:28:20] Ashok Gupta: There's past traumas or past kind of accumulated traumas that haven't been. Healed and I just think that it's a beautiful idea and it's also just interesting that we can see that being passed on from generation to generation. So not just this idea that we are learning and adapting in our environment at a physical level, but also at the emotional level.

[00:28:41] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. I love the concept of having fun healing. Just so like why does this have to be happy? It does not to be puppets. 

[00:28:49] Ashok Gupta: We 

[00:28:49] Ashok Gupta: use puppets to make it fun. I haven't got any here, unfortunately the downstairs, but we represent all these sub personalities within us as these kind of Sesame street type puppets.

[00:28:59] Ashok Gupta: And people love that because we're having fun now. It's lighthearted. It's playful. It's not, Oh God, I've got this inner child and it's wounded, but Oh, here is the inner child. Let me have a conversation with it. Let me chat to it. Let me support its healing. And it just then becomes, more fun. It's so important.

[00:29:15] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah, totally. 

[00:29:16] Ashok Gupta: I even sing at the end of my webinars. We do karaoke together at the end of webinars, just to bring that lightness

[00:29:21] Ashok Gupta: into it. 

[00:29:22] Christa Biegler, RD: That's so good. I love that. I love that. That's very good. Okay. You said. You talked about how when people meditate, all of that neuro inflammation and the overall inflammation gets tamped down.

[00:29:34] Christa Biegler, RD: I think that there are people and maybe even I was one of them. Maybe that's why I think this way. I think that sometimes there's a shutdown of people saying that's cool. I've heard about the benefits of meditation, but I can't meditate. What would you say to them? 

[00:29:47] Ashok Gupta: I would say that the vast majority of our clients.

[00:29:50] Ashok Gupta: are exactly the same boats that when they first start out, it's tricky. Now, why is it tricky? Yeah. And people say, Oh, I can't meditate. I say, if you sit down and you meditate and you close your eyes and you don't have any thoughts. I'd be worried. Check your pulse. Are you still alive? , it's so usual for us to close our eyes and have a ton of thoughts coming in, and then assume that we can't meditate, right?

[00:30:14] Ashok Gupta: But it's actually the way meditation has unfortunately been taught is this idea that it's not, we have no thoughts or a clear mind, and actually it's the process of meditation because in that moment you are aware that you have these thoughts, whereas before you weren't even aware, they were just automatic.

[00:30:29] Ashok Gupta: So you've developed a bit of an awareness. And a bit of a separation between you and this constant barrage of thoughts that we are identified with. And in our program, if people find the meditation too much, then we have other relaxation techniques. So we have breathing techniques, we have somatic techniques, we have visualization techniques that they can use until the mind is ready for More traditional meditation.

[00:30:53] Ashok Gupta: So we give people lots of different options and then gradually people come back to the meditation and say, okay, now I can, I'm finding it easier and easier. And then they suddenly discover the benefits. So it's about easing yourself in. So if you have a very dysregulated nervous system, meditation can feel good.

[00:31:09] Ashok Gupta: A bit confronting. So that's why there's a whole suite of other things that people can do. 

[00:31:14] Christa Biegler, RD: I feel like this is present in all forms of our life. And the first question is what happens, what emotions come up when I sit still? What happens right there, right? I think there's a lot to, to impact there.

[00:31:28] Christa Biegler, RD: When I'm thinking about brain retraining, I think about how, you came upon it. I was wondering so often, a lot of really cool modalities we use these days come from ancient traditions. And I feel that maybe you care about ancient traditions and lineage. I always see your videos and even your background now of the mountains.

[00:31:46] Christa Biegler, RD: And I think there's probably something there also. Can you talk a little bit about whether there Is evidence of brain retraining modalities in, for example, traditional Chinese medicine or other ancient wisdom? 

[00:32:02] Ashok Gupta: It's such a great question. I've actually reflected on that myself because we talk about healing involves the wings of a dove.

[00:32:09] Ashok Gupta: So how does a dove fly? A dove has two wings and tail feathers. And the Western traditions have typically been talking therapies, cognitive behavioral type therapies, and the Eastern traditions have been more traditionally. Meditation, breathing, calming, somatic work, yoga, those types of things. And each of them on their own are very powerful, but when you combine them together.

[00:32:31] Ashok Gupta: It really boosts the power of it. And now we're seeing in talking therapies, they're talking about the mindfulness aspect being so important to be able to heal through talking therapies. And I've always thought, I wonder if in Eastern traditions there were these types of things. And they do talk about in Eastern traditions, the idea of what we call vasanas.

[00:32:50] Ashok Gupta: So in Sanskrit, there's a word vasana. And vasana is interesting. It's true meaning means stink or stench or smell and it means that we carry around these vasanas, which are the habits of the mind. Yeah. And the analogy often given in Eastern Vedic culture is the idea of when rain falls on a mountain, what happens?

[00:33:10] Ashok Gupta: It creates rivers down the side of the mountain. And those rivers represent our thought energy channels, which are the habits of thinking. And so whenever there's thought energy or excessive thought energy, it will always keep running down those mountains. And those will be essentially those aspects of our personality.

[00:33:29] Ashok Gupta: So certainly the idea of thought channels has been in Eastern traditions. Now, in terms of specific brain retraining, I haven't come across things are exactly the same as what we are doing. But certainly the somatic retraining that we also do, that certainly has been a part of the Eastern traditions, which is.

[00:33:46] Ashok Gupta: Just neutrally observing the sensations of what we are going through. So when we think of an emotion, when we have an emotion, it has two aspects. It has a cognitive aspect, which is when we think and feel things in our head. And it has a somatic aspect, which is the physical sensations in the body. And the Eastern traditions was very much about don't worry too much about the cognitive aspect.

[00:34:09] Ashok Gupta: Just notice the physical sensations of the emotion. And as you observe it neutrally, calmly, it will then dissolve. And the whole emotion will then be processed and be let go off. And that is very much an Eastern tradition. But in terms of some of the core brain retraining techniques that we use, I would say that they seem to be unique.

[00:34:28] Ashok Gupta: There doesn't seem to be a precedent for those kinds of approaches. 

[00:34:32] Christa Biegler, RD: I think there's a lot to this, right? Really appreciated this commentary on, in the Western world, we do a lot of thinking and cognitive work. And in the Western world and in the Eastern world, there's all this body and somatic work.

[00:34:44] Christa Biegler, RD: And there's quite a lot of stereotypes about the Western world, just being much more unhealthy than the Eastern world. And I think about if when we're embracing, as you describe somatic work when we're embracing, don't think too much, feel it, let it be there, let it dissolve in the Western world.

[00:35:01] Christa Biegler, RD: We're chronically suppressing this, right? And it just shows up in other places, right? The whole concept of the body keeps score. And I think that this Western ideology Is permeating other places as well, but I can't help but think is this actually the foundations of everything of our health woes right in the Western world because so much and I think this happens when you're in the healthcare world, especially now for me, and I had a client ask.

[00:35:29] Christa Biegler, RD: Recently about, I see a lot of people moving toward conversations on neuroplasticity and brain region and all these things. And even you've done some of this in your practice, she was speaking to me. And I said, it's because when you keep going to the root of the roots, how you're processing stress and emotions is like the factor of whether you'll move forward or whether you'll stay stuck.

[00:35:49] Christa Biegler, RD: And there isn't an option to not have it be involved. I think it has to be part of whether however someone wants to unpack the layers of the onion, right? Do they want to start with the nutritional chemical and then move into the energetic and emotional? For me, I'm just looking at how to make something that doesn't always feel tangible.

[00:36:06] Christa Biegler, RD: And so next I'm going to ask you a little bit about tactics of brain retraining. And actually let's talk about tactics, like just tactically if someone is like, What the hell is brain retraining? How would you describe some of the things that happen in brain retraining?

[00:36:20] Christa Biegler, RD: And also part two of the question, are you ready? How has it really changed? How has the landscape changed for you since you started in 2007? I've seen comments where maybe originally you didn't always include information about trauma and emotional and somatic work, and maybe that's new. So I'd love to, you to talk about tactically, how did it start for you and then how has it grown and changed?

[00:36:41] Ashok Gupta: Sure. So I'll start with the last part of the question. So I started seeing clients in 2000, 2001. At that time, and once again, this was brand new. There was no one else looking at this type of area, and I spent many years in private practice creating these brain retraining tools, so really working at the coalface of what seemed to work with clients, what seemed to be really beneficial, and then I published, as I said, the first kind of neuroplasticity program in 2007, and that certainly We incorporated breathing and meditation, so there was that kind of somatic work, and there was a some initial somatic type of retraining that we didn't call somatic retraining at that particular time.

[00:37:18] Ashok Gupta: And then we had more of the cognitive, so it, the cognitive treatments or the brain retraining treatments were more the core of it. And then over time, of course, as we learn more, our clients give us feedback, we get more and more feedback that actually we're having trouble processing emotions and we can get a certain way with the tools you've given us, but we want more.

[00:37:38] Ashok Gupta: We want more. We want more. And then we became said, okay, let's more specifically talk about somatic retraining and give people tools and techniques that emphasize that more, even though we had it in the program before it was underemphasized. And people have found that a nice combination of the two and.

[00:37:54] Ashok Gupta: Okay. The way that I would describe brain retraining to people is with three R's of the program. 

[00:37:59] Christa Biegler, RD: Probably one of the most underrated nutrients I use in practice is potassium. Low potassium can be a huge factor in energy, relapsing gut issues, thyroid function, and even regulating blood pressure. Now, your blood test for potassium will look normal most of the time. Otherwise, you'd feel faint and maybe like you're going to pass out, but your tissue levels of potassium will decline.

[00:38:21] Christa Biegler, RD: With an increase of the stress hormone cortisol, big picture. I find it's just really hard for humans to get enough food based potassium in their diet, unless they live in a tropical place. And I'm usually recommending my clients get at least 4, 000 milligrams of food based potassium per day. That's why I really commonly recommend Jigsaw's Pickleball Cocktail to help my clients.

[00:38:43] Christa Biegler, RD: It's one of the only electrolyte products on the market with a hefty dose of potassium at 800 mg per scoop, when most electrolyte products only have about 200 mg. Making it really hard to reach those high doses of food based potassium I recommend per day. Plus, it's automatically the best choice if my client is dealing with swelling, which can be related to imbalances of sodium and potassium in the tissue.

[00:39:09] Christa Biegler, RD: I'm a potassium evangelist, and Jigsaw's Pickleball Cocktail is one of my most used tools of the trade. You can get a discount on any of jigsaw's amazing products, including [email protected] with the code less stressed. 10. That's three S's, less stressed, 10.

[00:39:28] Ashok Gupta: The first R is relaxing the nervous system. First, before we can retrain. And let's take the example of those rivers that we talked about, right? You've got a river that's flowing through a field. Let's say that's the left hand path.

[00:39:41] Ashok Gupta: The left hand river is going through the field. And it's cut a pathway. And that pathway is what we call the Stimulus Interpretation Response. So the stimulus is, let's say Mold. Mold exposure, as an example. The interpretation is, this mold is really dangerous. It causes reactions. I must remove myself immediately from the vicinity of it.

[00:40:03] Ashok Gupta: And the response is Then once again, the allergic reaction, the feeling incredibly unwell, et cetera, et cetera. And what we want to do is create a new neural pathway. So we want to dig a new channel for the river to revert reroute itself. But imagine that ground is completely frozen. So if the ground is frozen, you cannot reroute those rivulets, neurons in our brain that are causing this reaction.

[00:40:28] Ashok Gupta: And so we have to unfreeze the ground. And that's where breathing, vagus nerve techniques, meditation techniques, somatic techniques, what they enable us to do is loosen up the soil and make the brain more neuroplastic. And this is the first step. So that's why the level one of our program is. is creating neuroplasticity, making the brain more neuroplastic.

[00:40:50] Ashok Gupta: And that's why a lot of therapy fails. Because what it does is, a lot of therapy says, let's use the same thinking to solve the problem as created the problem. But we can't get to the root causes and these, these unconscious rivers that are in our brains, because the ground is frozen. So we're trying to just attack and get into the unconscious.

[00:41:08] Ashok Gupta: through this conscious layer, but actually we want to go beyond the mind to calm that nervous system. Once the nervous system is calmer, then we're more open to rerouting. And that's when the second core of our program, the second R, retraining the brain comes in. And those are those unique neuroplasticity techniques.

[00:41:25] Ashok Gupta: There's several of them that we have. So we have somatic retraining. We have the seven step process. We have the accelerator and people pick and choose the tools that they.

[00:41:36] Ashok Gupta: The third R of the program is re engaging with joy, and this is a part of healing that often is missed, which is that if we don't understand and go along a deeper journey about our parts and our personality and what caused us stress in the first place, then all that will happen is we'll heal from this episode, but we'll start engaging with the world in exactly the same way that And it is likely to cause further illness, further conditions.

[00:42:04] Ashok Gupta: And so therefore, we look at the parts. We look at retraining our parts so that we can reconnect to that inner joy. And when we do that, we then learn how to navigate life with that sense of gratitude, with that sense of more peace and stillness, which then keeps the nervous system calm. Otherwise, at a deeper level, we haven't taken on those deeper spiritual lessons of why this condition came in the first place.

[00:42:30] Ashok Gupta: What was it trying to teach us in some shape or form? Now, of course, we don't say any illnesses are in the mind. We don't say that we deserve to have anything. Of course not. But now that it's here, what do I, what can I learn about myself? And I think that's, we talk about it retrospectively. So these three R's of the program are really the core of what then gets a person to a place of healing.

[00:42:50] Ashok Gupta: And healing involves many different layers. So many people can retrain from our program and get better from chronic fatigue or mold or pain within a matter of weeks or months. But it is that second part, that deep awareness of our personality and that deeper healing, moving being aware of our traumas and our parts and working through that.

[00:43:10] Ashok Gupta: That's that next layer of healing, which is so important for longevity of health. 

[00:43:15] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah, 

[00:43:16] Christa Biegler, RD: for sure. Cool. That was a fun way to describe it. I enjoyed it. Okay. So as we start to wrap up, I want to make sure I get through all of this, all of our questions about brain retraining. And you did a good job talking through that.

[00:43:31] Christa Biegler, RD: I think something that pops up on my mind. So there's two things, and I think this is a little out of order. I want to talk a little bit about. Children cause we were talking about that ancestral trauma. And I think it's all great if you're just responsible for yourself. But I think so often people are really, personally, I find this with my clients, had a conversation with the client yesterday as a, that is where a lot of this stuff of how we don't want to be comes up, but anyway, when we think about brain retraining and all of this work, 

[00:43:58] Christa Biegler, RD: is there any thoughts about I think, as you learn more, you want to protect your children somewhat, which I don't think you can fully do. What would you say if someone says, what about kids? Which I know is not really your target audience. But I just feel like. When we're trying to heal as a society, like the family system is very important.

[00:44:18] Christa Biegler, RD: So what is your take on all of this applying to kids or practical strategies? If I've got this really health savvy woman, who's also a mom what kind of encouragement or application would you want to share with her? 

[00:44:31] Ashok Gupta: Great question. And obviously Preface this with, I'm not a child psychologist, I don't work in this particular area, but I have learned more about child psychology by working with adults than I ever would have working with children, because you see the effects of what a childhood has on our later life, and you can start tracing the roots.

[00:44:50] Ashok Gupta: And I remember there was a university professor who had been a professor for 50 years, and he had seen every generation coming up. And what he had noticed was that the resilience of each successive generation is reducing, which is a real danger to society. And what he noticed was that 20, 30 years ago, if he gave a D to someone in an essay, right?

[00:45:14] Ashok Gupta: The person would think, Oh, gosh, I just need to work harder. All right, fine. I got a D in my essay. But now he gives low marks to someone in their essay. And that they need to go and get counseling. I'm, this is a throwaway example. I'm just giving that as a kind of comical example.

[00:45:27] Ashok Gupta: But what he notices is that successive generations of resilience is going down. Now, we might say why is that happening? certainly from my experience and things that I've read and some commentators are saying, the baby boomers and the baby boom generation who brought us up let's say our generation up.

[00:45:45] Ashok Gupta: And they certainly were probably on the strict side. And that then meant that there were certain generations who then thought, we want to oppose that, we wanted to do something different, because we know how that impacted us and our self esteem and our sense of security. But maybe it went too far the other way, where this idea of gentle parenting, permissive parenting, then has meant, and once again, I don't want to offend anyone, this is just, My reflections, I don't think there's any right or wrong here, that actually with our children, we want to bring them up with a healthy sense of self esteem and self love and at the same time, the ability to handle adversity.

[00:46:23] Ashok Gupta: And what's happening is we're confusing these two things. So we're thinking that when something bad happens or someone says a bad word to them, we must protect them from that, they'll have less resilience if we don't allow them to go for the natural ups and downs and struggles of life and set those boundaries for them, whilst at the same time making them feel loved and cared for.

[00:46:45] Ashok Gupta: And having that strong foundation. And so I think for people, so in terms of adverse childhood experiences, it is recognizing that the sound of a child's brain is very soft. So things that you say to them, things that they do, things that they experience, creates those rivulets in the brain very easily.

[00:47:04] Ashok Gupta: Yeah, they're very impressionable. Literally, children are very impressionable. And so we have to be It, it's really hard for parents, but we have to be careful with our languaging and our discipline, but also at the same time, make sure that it is there so that those boundaries exist and that children then learn about boundaries, about adversity, about not getting what they want, et cetera, et cetera, so that when normal life comes along as an adult, they have those skills and they're prepared for that.

[00:47:32] Ashok Gupta: And I'm not saying I'm an expert in that area, but that's just my observation. And I think that then means they have a stronger nervous system and a stronger immune system when they become an adult. Because they have been able to navigate the ups and downs of life, the adversities of life. And actually they say that's why we have sibling rivalry.

[00:47:51] Ashok Gupta: Because actually at some level sibling rivalry, as long as it doesn't get out of hand, is the, is when you've got somebody, who who you know loves you, but actually probably treats you pretty badly sometimes. And you're able to handle that and weather that and then work through that. 

[00:48:04] Christa Biegler, RD: I really enjoyed the answer.

[00:48:06] Christa Biegler, RD: There's things in there that highlighted last week, I was on a chairlift with some family members and one of them does a lot of hiring for a company and we were having a conversation about how the generation that I'm in, which I don't know the. The ages of these generations, but they're really concerned about purpose and doing like having a really fulfilled life.

[00:48:26] Christa Biegler, RD: And I assume that translated to the newest workforce, those in their twenties. And this person who does a lot of hiring said, actually, no. It's actually it was just your generation that was like that, or that's what he sees. So everyone's opinions. But I think there's something interesting there.

[00:48:42] Christa Biegler, RD: It reminded me of what you were describing how we were raised by baby boomers. And did we go did we swing, what kind of swinging happened there? But anyway, just very interesting. I love this kind of stuff. Okay. 

[00:48:53] Ashok Gupta: Something 

[00:48:53] Ashok Gupta: else I just want to add on that conversation is that 

[00:48:55] Christa Biegler, RD: yeah.

[00:48:57] Ashok Gupta: Another piece of advice that is controversial is screens. 

[00:49:02] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. 

[00:49:02] Ashok Gupta: And I'm sure we'll probably talk to guests on this, but actually not enough. We live in a society, unfortunately, now where children aren't being exposed to screens at a younger and a younger age.

[00:49:13] Ashok Gupta: And I've seen it personally. And so my personal experience with children who don't have screens versus children that do, and they're, verbal skills and they're interactive. And also some of the research as well, which is still, I wouldn't say it's definitive, but I wouldn't urge parents to urge on, err on the side of caution.

[00:49:29] Ashok Gupta: And introduce screens as late as possible into a child's life, because the sands of that brain is very impressionable. So those first five, seven years of life, if they are constantly exposed to a screen, that's going to impact on their dopamine system and reward system. It's going to contribute to ADHD in my view, and it's just something where err on the side of caution.

[00:49:51] Ashok Gupta: Yeah, the jury's not in yet, but let's not have them when they're young, because it will train their brain to get used to this external stimuli that then when it's not there, they become bored, they become depressed. 

[00:50:04] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. 

[00:50:05] Ashok Gupta: And if you look at the graphs of social media being available mainstream on phones, and then anxiety and depression, they're absolutely correlated.

[00:50:15] Ashok Gupta: So from 2011 onward, social media was available on our phones. So before that Log on Facebook. It was a big deal. You have to go to your laptop and log in and whatever. But as soon as it became an app on your phones, guess what? Instantly accessible. So now, current generations, the reason their resilience is lower is because they are now on 24 7.

[00:50:33] Ashok Gupta: Which means two things. Number one, their nervous system never gets a break. Number two, they never process their emotions because the moment a difficult emotion comes up, they can grab for a screen and distract themselves, just like having a piece of cake. But thirdly, and most importantly, the village comparison is continuous.

[00:50:53] Ashok Gupta: So they know when they study monkeys, for instance, that there'll be a dominant male monkey, the alpha male, and the other monkeys, if they don't get into that position of being the alpha male, they experience more stress and more cortisol in their systems because they feel they're being subdued by the alpha male.

[00:51:07] Ashok Gupta: Fast forward to social media. All of us are comparing ourselves to everyone else in the tribe. And before that was just 40, 50 people in your tribe living in in a fishing village. Now we compare ourselves to millionaires and billionaires and unimaginable or unattainable beauty. And that is our constant feed.

[00:51:27] Ashok Gupta: Constantly comparing ourselves to the unattainable. Or perhaps it is attainable, and that's what, the belief system. And therefore we feel low in ourselves that we haven't got there. And that is toxic to society. That comparison. And of course, fourthly, the echo chambers. And now we live in a world where Not only is the comparison toxic, but the echo chamber is toxic because social media is designed to make you angry and upset and create polarized views.

[00:51:55] Ashok Gupta: And that's what is also having the impact on our nervous system. So it's not that anyone's sat there deliberately doing this, but those computer algorithms. They feed off our human psychology. So you have the algorithm, you have human psychology, you combine them together, it just is going to, it's just a formula for anxiety and depression.

[00:52:12] Ashok Gupta: In my view. 

[00:52:13] Christa Biegler, RD: I think that's a great point. I hate that we are the test dummies of this. I was just thinking that Facebook, which was the, I think it was the original, I guess MySpace was there before, but it's now been with us for just about 20 years. I think it was 2004 or five. I think it was four.

[00:52:31] Christa Biegler, RD: It was four that it came out. So we should be able to tell. And I think you're, I don't have any disagreements about your comments about children. I think about that or reflect on that a lot. I feel fortunate that I live in the middle of nowhere, which aids in, and a lot of outdoor time, however I also think that the issues that affect the children aren't just affecting the children.

[00:52:51] Christa Biegler, RD: I think they're, they affect every age, right? It's funny. My mom she didn't know how to turn on a computer until a few years ago in 2020. She ended up with a pretty significant autoimmune condition and ended up in the hospital for a while. We taught her how to use an iPad. And now it's The weirdest thing that she can even use this thing.

[00:53:07] Christa Biegler, RD: And it's they're very addictive and I'm like, I don't even know this woman. Like she never, she didn't even use to be able to turn out a computer. And now she's like texting me with all these emojis, which. Some ways good in some ways not, but it's interesting. And they say that neuroplasticity declines with age, right?

[00:53:22] Christa Biegler, RD: That's a true statement. 

[00:53:22] Ashok Gupta: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I think it does. And at the same time, we've had people in their eighties who've been able to use our program. And heal and recover. So I think we can also realize that whatever age we're at, we can still learn the piano at a later age. Yeah, sure. It's a bit more tricky, but we can still do it.

[00:53:37] Ashok Gupta: And I think it's actually good for the brain. So the more we learn new things and exercise that neuroplasticity, the healthier our brain becomes. It actually 

[00:53:45] Ashok Gupta: is. 

[00:53:45] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. I want to add here, the first step of your program is really that relaxing and it's what does that look like for a person?

[00:53:52] Christa Biegler, RD: What is, I saw something in there that was like, this is what it looks like when I relax my body. Someone sitting in front of a TV. This is what it looks like when I relax my brain, someone just out in nature. And I think about that because I started guitar lessons a few months ago because I like these stories of people learning things that they're older.

[00:54:06] Christa Biegler, RD: Not that I'm that old. But I wanted to learn this and I hadn't practiced for a week and just the 15 minutes of practice, it like shifted my nervous system, right? It was just, it was joyful. It was relaxing. It was like, Oh, this is a stress reliever to like work through this thing. It was really fascinating to choose to do that as an adult.

[00:54:25] Ashok Gupta: Yeah. And I, and something I would add to that is that we're talking about East and West traditions. In all traditions, we've always had. music, singing, dancing. But often as we get older, we do less and less of that. And actually it's so important we do that. So in tribes, we, the television has become the campfire of civilization, unfortunately, which is a passive receive experience.

[00:54:49] Ashok Gupta: But actually in the evenings. Why do we have campfires? Because we would sing, we would dance, we would tell stories. And that is so important to have that social connection. Because, what happens is, our depressive thoughts, so this is of interest in neurology, we have increase in activity in the right prefrontal cortex when we feel depressed.

[00:55:10] Ashok Gupta: That's when our emotions are running away with us, we feel anxious, we feel depressed. And they see increases in activity in this part of the brain. Which is also the part of the brain that gets more engaged when we are singing, dancing, etc. We know that when we do those things, it relieves our negative moods.

[00:55:26] Ashok Gupta: Because it's now engaging the same part of the brain that's getting overactive. And in Eastern traditions, it always was, that even as adults, people would regularly sing every day. Together in groups, not just once a week or whatever. And that, those types of singing, dancing, music, storytelling, I feel needs to become the new campfire of civilization.

[00:55:47] Ashok Gupta: And how do, how do we create that? How do we create more of that? And this relates to neuroplasticity. So you can see, once again, the way Eastern and Western traditions Have changed in eastern traditions. The idea of meditation or yoga was daily practice. . But in the west, we said, I go to my yoga class once a week and tick, I've done that. That doesn't create neuroplasticity because you do think you do something once and it's definitely beneficial. But your brain then reverts back to the old way of being. But if you do the breathing, the meditation, the yoga, the somatics every day, guess what?

[00:56:22] Ashok Gupta: You reinforce those new pathways and it becomes the new you. So in a similar way, the creative traditions so powerful for our health 

[00:56:31] Ashok Gupta: and our well being. 

[00:56:32] Christa Biegler, RD: I love that. After I accomplished this guitar, the next thing I'm adding is dancing because I look at the people around me that are very healthy, that are very advanced in age, and there's a lot of dancing.

[00:56:44] Christa Biegler, RD: And that was my takeaway from visiting Europe last summer was like, these people are just up at 3am drinking their hearts out. But they're dancing and they're having so much fun and they're being social. And I just, that was my takeaway on health from, yeah, 

[00:57:00] Ashok Gupta: absolutely. No, there's lots of proof that actually the old you get.

[00:57:04] Ashok Gupta: Your coordination between your brain and your muscles degrades. But if you start dancing, you're getting the physiological effects, you get the strength, muscle strengthening effects, the cardio effects, and you're getting the neuroplasticity because your brain is now having to rewire itself to get used to coordinating those types of movements.

[00:57:20] Ashok Gupta: So it's the perfect exercise as you go. 

[00:57:22] Christa Biegler, RD: For sure. I know we've gone just a touch over and I have one more question that's out of order, but I think if you have time, you might want to answer it, which is about your studies. And so you can let me know if you have time to answer that. Can we talk about the studies that you've been doing on brain retraining?

[00:57:36] Ashok Gupta: Yes, absolutely. The importance for us is that this is. It's scientific, right? Because anyone can say this can help you, that can help you, but it's the studies that matter. And as far as we know, we're one of the only brain retraining programs, if not the only, that actually has randomized controlled trials and trial data behind what we're doing.

[00:57:53] Ashok Gupta: For instance, we published a study in 2020 on fibromyalgia. and compared our program to a kind of relaxation program. And it found that after just eight weeks, and normally we're a three to six month program, but after eight weeks in the active group to program group, there was a close to a 40 percent drop.

[00:58:09] Ashok Gupta: And we had a halving of anxiety, halving of depression, halving of pain, and a 50 percent increase in functional capacity. So that was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, which people can look up. And then very recently, we just published a randomized controlled trial along COVID. And that was comparing our program.

[00:58:29] Ashok Gupta: To a wellness program. So the wellness program had diet, supplements, sleep, activity, the normal good lifestyle stuff that we know can help. And after three months the Gupta program was four times more effective at reducing fatigue and exhaustion and twice as effective. at increasing levels of energy which was a fantastic result.

[00:58:48] Ashok Gupta: It's very rare in a trial you get a 400 percent result. 

[00:58:52] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. 

[00:58:52] Ashok Gupta: And so that was also published and we're pursuing further randomized control trials as well. We recently did a clinical audit. We've done a couple of clinical audits showing that about 90 percent of our patients improve and two thirds of our patients reach a full.

[00:59:06] Ashok Gupta: Recovery within a year and so these types of studies are really important because they add that sense of belief that this is relevant to me. And as a result of those studies, a lot of practitioners now are recommending the program. So we don't have an either or philosophy. We say treat the downstream.

[00:59:24] Ashok Gupta: And in addition to treat the upstream, so people may well be having the medications, the supplements, the physiological support. And at the same time, when you combine that with a brain retraining, it can be a great powerful combination. So that's where now a lot of practitioners are using as part of their overall protocols, which is great.

[00:59:41] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. I think one of the mantras for this podcast that I feel really strongly about is that there's always options for you and there are many answers to a specific problem. And there's usually a lot of layers to it, right? So if you're struggling with the physiological maybe more so the medication or the supplements or whatever, then this is maybe the next area to uncover.

[01:00:04] Christa Biegler, RD: Where can people find these studies and find you online? 

[01:00:09] Ashok Gupta: Sure. So people can come to our website, which is gupta program. com. So that's G U P T A. And now we have an app, so they can go to App Store or Play Store, type in Gupta Program, download our free app. And in the free part of the app, there's lots of resources.

[01:00:25] Ashok Gupta: So there's breathing, there's meditations, free meditations. And something which actually, Christa, has been a game changer, something called Daily Gupta Science. So feeding off what we just spoke about Gupta. the daily practice and how important it is for rewiring. We now do daily zoom calls for nervous system regulation and daily zoom calls for the brain retraining.

[01:00:45] Ashok Gupta: And our clients have found that an absolute game changer because we know what it's like when you're at home by yourself trying to heal. It can feel isolating, it's stressful, lack of motivation. But if you know that, okay, I know I've got the program, but I can just come on a zoom call every day. And my hand will be held and I'll be taken through the exercises and we have two or three hundred people a day coming onto those Zoom calls.

[01:01:07] Ashok Gupta: It's been a game changer. So people who've spent many months trying to heal, doing that every day has just been the game changer for them. Their health has just accelerated. And it's just beautiful to see. And of course, There's a communal aspect as well that when you've got that many people with that group intention for healing and going deep, people have wondrous healing experiences that perhaps they wouldn't have if they were meditating on their own.

[01:01:29] Ashok Gupta: So we'd love for people to check out daily Gupta size as well. 

[01:01:31] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah, 

[01:01:32] Christa Biegler, RD: that's super cool. And it also answers that question of how have things evolved. It's and I can understand that accountability would be really useful. So the research studies are on the website also. I do want to read those because when you get research that's so dramatic, it's fun to look at.

[01:01:46] Ashok Gupta: Yeah, absolutely. 

[01:01:48] Christa Biegler, RD: Cool. 

[01:01:49] Christa Biegler, RD: Thank you so much for coming on today. 

[01:01:51] Ashok Gupta: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a delight.

[01:01:53] Christa Biegler, RD: Sharing and reviewing this podcast is the best way to help us succeed with our mission to help integrate the best of East and West and empower you to raise the bar on your health story. Just go to review this podcast. com forward slash less stressed life. That's review this podcast. com forward slash less stressed life.

[01:02:15] Christa Biegler, RD: And you'll be taken directly to a page where you can insert your review and hit post.

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