Hello, I am Dan Neuffer
Best-selling Author & Creator of the ANS REWIRE Recovery Program
I am the author of CFS Unravelled and Discover Hope and the creator of a leading international online recovery program for ME/CFS, POTS and Fibromyalgia called ANS REWIRE, now being used in over 27 countries.
If you are ready to bust some myths about this illness and learn how recovery is possible, then this site is for you. I will help you learn how the illness really works, how to better cope with the symptoms and how you can create your own recovery action plan. You are probably wondering who I am and how I got here, so below is a bit more about my journey.
I have a different focus & approach than most experts out there!
I don't believe that treating every symptom and nutritional/hormonal deficiency you experience is how you can recover from this syndrome.
I do believe that the single most important element of a successful recovery is to go beyond symptom treatment and address the root dysfunction of this illness.
I don't believe that there is a single way to recover, but rather that there are many strategies that can help you get there. In fact, a key to success is using a multi-lateral strategy.
I do believe that if you are using sound strategies for your recovery that are not producing results, rather than abandon them, you need to add additional strategies.
Who am I and how did I get here?
How Things Started
My journey started when I suddenly fell ill right after an immunisation, although at first I never made the connection. I had a sense of disbelief as to what was happening to me when doctors couldn’t identify what was wrong, the whole experience was quite scary. Without answers, I just kept going as best I could, hoping I would feel healthy again soon.
But despite me trying to keep up appearances, I regularly had to have days off work, and getting through the day seemed almost impossible. Very quickly, everything but work fell away, including all social activities, exercise and even family fun and duties.
With the ongoing severe symptoms, I had many tests and soon started to hop from one doctor to another when the outcome was a shrug or suggestions that I was experiencing some sort of mystery virus. Looking back, it is disappointing not to have been diagnosed early on, given that I had all the classic ME/CFS symptoms from the outset. Within a year I had to resign from full-time work.
My Frustration & Continued Deterioration
As the years went on, my range of symptoms increased and my base line health continued to decline. Whilst some pain was always part of my flare-ups, it was several years into my illness when the pain drastically worsened and became a daily part of life. What was clear was that despite short periods of some respite between flare ups, my condition was steadily deteriorating and despite seeking advice from numerous doctors and many alternative health care providers, I found virtually no relief.
Family life soon became difficult, as my symptoms left me unable to participate in family activities. The new ‘normal’ soon eroded the usual empathy and support one normally receives from family and friends. I felt increasingly isolated and desperate, and I struggled to cope. I had managed to work part-time, and then part-time as a self-employed person to allow me to manage the increasing periods where I was too sick to work at all.
My symptoms had not only drastically worsened, but the list of symptoms had become truly staggering and many of the symptoms were nothing short of bizarre. Often I felt too embarrassed to discuss many of these as I felt I sounded like a hypochondriac (surely no one person could have so many things wrong with them!). When it was finally suggested that I had ME/CFS, I resisted the diagnosis because my initial internet search suggested it was an enigma and that no effective treatment existed – it sounded like a label rather than an actual illness, so I didn’t want to accept this.
But eventually, things became even worse, with both the fatigue and pain becoming unmanageable. Whenever I felt I had adjusted, learned to live with the new ‘normal’, the goal posts shifted. In fact, soon it felt more like surviving it, rather than living with it.
When I experienced really severe symptom exacerbation, my wife still insisted on taking me to the doctor. I still remember being too ill to even speak at one appointment, and just cried quietly. Not exactly very manly or how one likes to think of oneself, it felt degrading. The truth was that I had become completely disinterested in seeking help given the lack of any positive outcomes from these efforts.
Around the end of my 5th year into the illness, I had long given up any hope of recovery. My fatigue levels were so severe that even during my ‘well periods’ I could barely drag myself around. The pain had become completely unmanageable and I was increasingly desperate to get some relief. To say that I would have done or taken just about anything if it would have given me some relief is probably true – but nothing I tried had worked.
Then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – it did.
My turning point
It was an extended period of being bedbound and barely able to speak over Christmas that was so scary and impossible to cope with, that pushed me in a new direction.
Once I felt a bit better and managed to get out of bed, I decided to take matters into my own hands and commenced an in-depth research project with the aim of identifying the root mechanism driving the illness. I have a science background (graduated valedictorian in my Physics degree and worked a few years in the industry before switching careers), but had no knowledge or training in physiology or biochemistry, so the task was extremely daunting. But desperation pushed me forwards and I was committed to understanding WHY the many symptoms were occurring and felt very strongly that I needed to go beyond just symptom treatment to make any real progress.
Whenever I felt able, I began visiting various medical libraries and used the internet to research the mechanisms driving the various symptoms. As I followed the trail of each symptom and dysfunction, I inevitably always ended up at the Autonomic Nervous System or some other dysfunction that could be directly linked to it. Over time, I started to form a hypothesis for the mechanism of the illness, and as the picture became more complete, I researched potential strategies to reverse the root dysfunction of ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia.
Once I arrived at the point where I had very few unanswered questions, I created a dedicated recovery action plan for myself. Whilst I was extremely confident in the explanation for the pathogenesis of the illness, I wasn’t so sure about how that would translate into regaining my health. I couldn’t really imagine myself being well again, and so I was surprised to make progress with my health.
Over a period of about 12-18 months, I made a full recovery from 6½ – 7 years of illness and have stayed well since then. Regaining my health allowed me to fulfil some of the dreams that I had long given up on, including many special experiences with my family. People might think it is the amazing big things that would stick in your mind, but actually the everyday experiences where you can find joy have been even more profound for me.
During my earlier years with ME/CFS/FMS, I had never met another person with the illness. So as my recovery progressed, it was surprising for me to meet several other people experiencing the illness, all in the same month.
I felt a very strong desire to help others, but because the solution is not some quick simple magic cure that people hope for, my efforts to help were frustrated.
And so I decided that the first step to help others was to share what I had learned and I wrote the book CFS Unravelled. I summarised my explanation in laymen’s terms as much as possible and offered a framework for recovery.
Exclusively publishing the book on Kindle allowed me to give away over 5,000 copies of my book for free, and a little storm resulted in the wider ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia community. I received countless emails and messages.
Soon I learned that various doctors, researchers and therapists/practitioners had come up with some similar views going back many decades. However, these were usually from one point of view or using one treatment strategy and hence only had success with a portion of ME/CFS/FMS sufferers. But there were also many treatment options in line with my own recovery framework and I learned that there were actually a great deal more people recovering from ME/CFS/Fibro than I realised.
Continued Efforts To Support People with ME/CFS/FMS All Around The World
One of the most frustrating things for me during my most severe years with the illness, was the lack of hope. I had only ever read about other people suffering with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS exactly like I had, and discouragingly, often a lot longer.
So I connected with local support groups to share my story and message and also created a range of free resources on this website, including a series of videos for people who are unable to read the book easily. I also started sharing interviews with some of the people who recovered from ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia to help dispel the myth that recovery from Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS isn't possible.
I had also started to coach people to help them recover, but whilst it was very gratifying to see their journey unfold and see them regain their lives like I had, I was also frustrated by the limits of how much time I could dedicate as well as the many other barriers for people to recover. Clearly 1-1 coaching was not the most efficient way to help people.
The Birth Of The ANS REWIRE Recovery Program For People Experiencing ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia
As my knowledge and experience around ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia recovery grew, I recognised that the disability that people with the illness experience is one of the biggest obstacles to recovery. My followers clearly needed to gain the education and training to make progress in their recovery, but accessing this face to face was not always possible.
So after repeated urges for help from people in the ME/CFS/Fibro community, I finally took the plunge and dedicated myself to create a more comprehensive resource. I compiled all my research, experience and training into an online program that took 2 years to develop. The program consists of a series of videos and audio tracks that are rolled out over a period of 6-8 weeks for participants and include a strong educational base around what is required to normalise ANS function again. The program has specific brain training exercises, customisable by participants to suit their needs. There is also a range of physical strategies to reduce ANS triggering, retrain the nervous system and promote healing from the deep state of physical dysfunction experienced in ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia. You can learn more about the ANS REWIRE program here.
I feel strongly that we all tend to take action when we most believe it makes sense to do so. We need to see that our efforts are likely to produce outcomes. That is why I only want people to participate if they feel that the explanation of the ANS dysfunction as the root cause resonates with them. Hence I offer the introductory portion of the program for free and strongly encourage everyone to watch this before enrolling in the program.
You will also see other programs, clinics and resources mentioned in the recovery stories on the website. I hope that the video series and reading CFS Unravelled will help you understand why these have worked for some people, even though you may have heard them not working for others. I strongly believe that a key for your success is for you to go with the approach that resonates most with you.
So I wish you success for your recovery whatever path you take, and I hope you return to share your story of recovery to inspire others to regain their life again.