Ian Cleary

Salad and the MindBody Link

April 8, 2022IanUncategorizedComments Off on Salad and the MindBody Link

Did you know you can reduce hunger & increase satiation by telling the waitress ‘I’ll have the hearty salad” instead of saying “I’ll just have the salad”.

Useful information, don’t you think,  if you want to improve your health?

Parts and functions of brain & the body are connected like the strands of a spider web. Tug at one and another somewhere else is influenced. In this case language & hunger. 

It’s very clear that the brain & body are connected in fascinating & well researched ways. Most of the mechanisms behind it are understood. It’s not woo woo or magic. It’s how our brain & body work together.

So how can we USE this connection to help us influence our health? 
That’s my work. That’s what the Lightning Process is all about, using how the brain and body influence each other to make change. 

You are already using the mind body connection whether you know it or not.  It’s how all humans with a brain & a body work.

If you are feeling stuck in your health then understanding the mind/body connection isn’t just interesting, it can change your life.  

I hope you find the following list of research findings interesting AND exciting. 

Instantly alter your Immune response by thinking of a loved one, reduce pain by swearing, increase confidence by changing posture, alter mood by altering facial expression, increase fatigue by using fatigue related words, calming heart rate by changing tone of voice, altered amygdala functioning by recalling calm event, reduce symptoms of altitude sickness by thinking you have been given extra oxygen, back pain being triggered by being told you have to be careful, increase lack of trust of someone when you smell fish, increase grip strength on right hand by seeing an image of a hammer AND increase sensitivity of left thumb by seeing same image of hammer, reduce medication by listening to Jonny Cash, food triggering a memory then memory triggering pain, painful RSI triggered by cultural beliefs, reduce confidence by lowered inflection at the end of your sentence, a racing heart biasing your ability to guess a mountain height, increase piano skills by visualising playing piano, trigger muscle growth by visualising moving, increase fitness by learning that what you are already doing counts as exercise, feeling more satiated by saying “I’ll have a hearty salad“ instead of “I just have a salad”, feeling refreshed if you were told you actually had 8 hours when you didn’t, placebo is the most tested & effective drug on the planet, improve immune function through watching comedies, pessimism or anger lowering immune function, a memory triggered by touching a body part AND that same body part hurting by touching on a memory, decrease the itch in a wooden leg by scratching it, altered digestive response when food is labelled ‘naughty but delicious’, remembering forgotten words by going to the place you learnt them, reducing trauma by wiggling eyes, a bell triggering a saliva response, an allergic reaction by incorrectly believing the leaf is poison ivy,  a histamine response triggered by listening to Mozart, a fan on your face while on a treadmill tricks the brain you’re moving faster so you feel tired faster, seeing red increases a pain response, a single word triggering a stress response or feelings of love, a phrase triggering a fatigue or pain response, you feeling pain when someone whacks a fake rubber arm, a location triggering a fibromyalgia flare, another person bending over triggering your back pain

……… and reading a list might even trigger a phone call 🙂 

Neuroplasticity – What is it & Why it Matters

February 14, 2022IanUncategorizedComments Off on Neuroplasticity – What is it & Why it Matters


You might have heard the word but…..

What is it & Why does it matter?

Well in the words of Norman Doidge, considered the Father of Neuroplasticity

It’s NEUROPLASTICITY that got you into this mess
it’s NEUROPLASTICITY that will get you out.

Remember though, the brain is NOT just for thinking. Its primary job is to control the workings of the BODY. So if you are feeling stuck in your health understanding the brain’s role can be useful.


At its most basic, NEUROPLASTICITY is the brain’s ability to change. That’s big. Because if the brain is so influential in health, having a ‘control centre’ that is changeable is exciting.

Not only does NEUROPLASTICITY tell us that the brain can change, it shows that we can do things deliberately and proactively that can harness that change process in our favour –  we can retrain our brain. 

Not to just think differently – although we can do that too. I am talking about retraining the brain to control the body differently. So this is relevant for people stuck in chronic pain and fatigue as well.

We have a brain that controls our lives and NEUROPLASTICITY shows us that we can influence it.  

And this is why NEUROPLASTICITY is such a huge concept in health.

Suffers of pain, fatigue, trauma, anxiety and PTSD can now understand they are not crazy. All these conditions are intimately tied into networks in the brain that are changeable and trainable. 

The key thing to remember is that the brain changes with EXPERIENCE. 

Repetitive experiences OR single experiences with heightened emotional intensity change the physical wiring of our brain. 

NEUROPLASTICITY is active in all learning. But that’s not why the Nobel Prize for science only 20 years ago went to work on NEUROPLASTICITY.

Scientist Eric Kandel showed that if you touched a sea slug AND gave it an electric shock, the nervous system changed. Even these simply nervous systems learnt and rewired itself. It learnt touch was dangerous. Then it you touched the sea slug without the electric shock it responded AS IF it was being electrocuted. It treated a safe thing as if it was dangerous because of a past experience

The brain changed with EXPERIENCE.

Think of the process of learning to drive. Repetitive body movements change the wiring of the brain and in time driving becomes automatic. Not just the physical movements though. All of it. The thought processes required. The calculations on speed and distance, parking and braking. The road rules. The meaning of signs. All of this complex physical and mental processing becomes automatic.

We learn then the brain does the rest –  AUTOPILOT thanks to the PAST.

Other experiences also wire up the brain to run automatically. A thought, is an experience. If repeated it can become automatically triggered and create a WAY of thinking automatically – anxiety, perfectionism, negativity, worry.

A stressful event can trigger a style of thinking like worry. Lingering Stress (or chronic stress) can change the brain so that style of thinking becomes automatic. Even after the initially stressor passes. We get STUCK.

We now also understand an immune or fatigue response can become habitual. After a virus has past, changes in the brain can get very good at firing the neural networks in the brain responsible for fatigue. So we may be left with Post Viral Fatigue or flare ups. Here’s a link to an Interesting article on this. 

NEUROPLASTICTY plays in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is not a crazy person, but someone who has gone through an intense emotional experience that has changed the wiring of the brain and nervous system. The brain goes on an autopilot even though the threat has passed. It starts to treat safe things as dangerous. 

The brain is also very active in the experience of ALL pain. We now know that an injury can heal but the wiring in the brain involved in the pain processing continues to fire off pain networks unnecessarily.

This is all NEUROPLASTICITY in action and what Norman Doidge means when he says – It’s Neuroplasticity that got you into this mess and Neuroplasticity that will get you out”.

So if experience changes the brain can we use that to help change the brain back? Can we retrain the brain?

This is at the core of a brain based approaches to health. Some use technologies like computers, or inserted electric devices in the spine or brain. Other techniques use mirrors to fool the brain. More recently there is research into the role hallucinogenic drugs might play.

Some, like the work I do, show people how you can use your OWN brain to change itself.

There’s a plug for Norman Doidge’s famous book – “THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF”.

This might sound obvious NOW, but not that long ago, these concepts were not known.
Two things changed. 

1.  We now know the brain can change. 

2.  We now know how critical the brain is in sensations like fatigue, fear or pain.

So much so that last year the world’s main PAIN RESEARCH group changed its definition of pain adding “Through our life experiences we LEARN pain”

Past experience might have wired your brain in a particular way. 

But in the words of Norman Doidge -it’s NEUROPLASTICITY that got you into the mess and NEUROPLASTICITY that will get you out.

With a brain based approach to health you can learn to enhance NEUROPLASTICITY in your favour and make the most of your inheritance – a changeable brain.


 Keep an eye out on my Youtube Channel for my next Neuro Nugget video that will explore this exciting topic in more depth.

If you want to EXPERIENCE this work for yourself, email to arrange a chat.

Misguided Immune responses?

November 29, 2021IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME, Chronic Pain/ Fibromyalgia, Lightning Process, NeuroplasticityComments Off on Misguided Immune responses?


I often describe the LP as “training the brain to respond appropriately rather than historically”.

In a recent Scientific American article on the brain’s role in peripheral immune function
“The BRAIN had retained some sort of memory of the infection & was prepared to reinitiate the fight”.

“Many intestinal disorders are triggered by stress or strong emotions. The researchers think this causes neurons in the insular cortex to misfire, REACTIVATING an immunological memory & triggering a misguided immune response”

Interesting! Many people I work with trace the start of their issues to a virus (commonly Epstein Barr for ME/CFS) and now we are seeing long covid play out around the world.

A brain based approach to health allows us to see that these flare ups might not be a re-activation of the virus, but a re-activation of our learnt neurological responses to past viruses. (a ‘misguided immune response’ or mal-adaptive response).

This perspective allows us to move away from management and towards retraining the brain to respond appropriately rather than historically.

Neuro Nugget Video – Stress, relationships & the Brain

November 23, 2021IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME, Chronic Pain/ Fibromyalgia, Depression, anxiety and other conditions, Neuroplasticity, UncategorizedComments Off on Neuro Nugget Video – Stress, relationships & the Brain

This “Neuro Nugget Video” is on Stress Hormones and the Brain and how they are both intimately linked to our relationships and our health.

Flourishing health often requires a re-assessment of relationships (past & present) but there is one relationship that is often forgotten.

What’s your RELATIONSHIP with your symptoms?  Your body? Your thoughts? Your mind?

This important concept is associated with those who make the move from stuck in their health to flourishing.

I really hope this Neuro Nugget helps.

Neuro Nugget – The Brain Myth

November 22, 2021IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME, Chronic Pain/ Fibromyalgia, Neuroplasticity, UncategorizedComments Off on Neuro Nugget – The Brain Myth

Another in my Neuro Nugget Video Series.

If you are interested in a brain based approach to health, it will help to remove the biggest myth about the brain. Enjoy.


Top Tip for Recovery Neuro Nugget Series

October 26, 2021IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME, Chronic Pain/ Fibromyalgia, Lightning Process, NeuroplasticityComments Off on Top Tip for Recovery Neuro Nugget Series

Welcome to the first of my Neuro Nugget Series.

Talking all things Pain & Fatigue

I sat down with Adam Stanecki for his Digging Deep Podcast recently and chatting all things pain, fatigue and fear.

  • New directions in Pain research
  • Understanding Pain & Fatigue & Anxiety
  • Some great first steps & obstacles to change



October 8, 2021IanChronic Pain/ FibromyalgiaComments Off on

Like a lock & key, morphine fits into a special receptor & click, it works it’s magic on pain. BUT the ‘lock’ inside you that morphine works on isn’t actually made to be opened by morphine (or other artificial opioids). What’s the real KEY?

Like Dorothy and her magic slippers that were with her the entire time, you are walking around with the real KEY – a  substance 40 times more powerful than morphine because it’s an exact fit for the ‘lock’.
Tapping into your internal medicine cabinet needs no prescription and has no side effects.

Knowledge drives recovery!

Online Lightning Process Updates

October 4, 2021IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME, Chronic Pain/ Fibromyalgia, In the News & Research, Lightning ProcessComments Off on Online Lightning Process Updates


Does the Lightning Process Training Programme Reduce Chronic Fatigue in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors?

August 18, 2021IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME, In the News & Research, Lightning Process, UncategorizedComments Off on Does the Lightning Process Training Programme Reduce Chronic Fatigue in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors?




(Cancers 202113(16), 4076)

Another research study was published about the Lightning Process.

It is a mixed methods study of the effects of the Lightning Process on cancer survivors with chronic fatigue and has shown promising results.

Chronic fatigue is a severe side-effect commonly experienced by many who have recovered from cancer.  It is often debilitating and unresponsive to treatment.  The Lightning Process was evaluated as a potential solution for this issue due to previous promising evidence concerning its effects on fatigue.


This study found statistically significant improvements for all the patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) questionnaires comparing the pre- and post-intervention periods, with a significant reduction (p < .001) in the total fatigue score from baseline to 3 months and six month follow-up. This was reflected in the qualitative findings of the interviews where ‘participants emphasised that they now experienced both less fatigue and explicit improvement in their energy level’.

All 11 participants confirmed that the intervention had not worsened their health or caused them any negative side effects and that they were satisfied or very satisfied with intervention.  They also expressed that during the LP they felt they were ‘finally being taken seriously’ and the researchers noted how the LP course explicitly validated the participants’ symptoms as being real rather than ‘imagined’.

The researchers noted that ‘The reductions in the participants’ total fatigue scores were remarkable, since no changes in their overall level of fatigue, as subjectively expressed by the participants themselves, were reported over the preceding years.’

You can find the complete paper here: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/16/4076/htm

Recent Posts
  • Salad and the MindBody Link


+61 (0)450736082

PO Box 481
Eumundi, Qld, 4562.