How we created the Release program

This blog post is about how Valentina and I discovered a new and more effective way of healing from a chronic disease, in particular ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Long Covid, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme, and other similar labels. There are many approaches out there, but what makes Release unique is that we dive into the underlying stressor that is causing your current symptoms. With the help of release tools, you can learn to release that stressor, allowing the symptoms to dissipate immediately. The healing journey will no longer be about progress but about trying to find an immediate release of symptoms. This turns the entire healing scene upside down. But let’s start with the beginning.

release cfs program

Struggling for many years with chronic fatigue syndrome

To start, if you don’t know, I used to have chronic fatigue syndrome myself. It really started in 2015 after a viral infection, but in the years before, I had many periods of extreme fatigue. Because I didn’t know what was going on with me, and the symptoms were extremely severe, it was logical that I fell into a downward spiral. After only a few months of extreme crashes, using my body for anything at all became a very anxious moment. The more I had to withdraw from life, the more time I had to worry and obsess about the symptoms, and it didn’t last long before I was completely bed-bound.

Eventually, I did discover that I had an influence over my symptoms, and I started making progress. In the beginning of 2018, I even thought that I had recovered after doing some brain retraining; little did I know. After only a few weeks, I experienced the worst crash and relapse ever. After that, I had lots of ups and downs. But I never had a period without symptoms that lasted longer than one month. Every relapse initiated a long period of suffering, but every time I managed to get out of it faster, I think that the belief that recovery was possible was the most important thing of all. I knew that it was possible to feel good again. I started making YouTube videos about healing and the wisdom I’d learned.

Starting as a health coach and making a recovery program

In 2020 and 2021, I was mostly in a good place, and I helped some people via donations with a recovery program and coaching. In 2021, someone emailed Raelan Agle and asked her to have a recovery interview with me. At that time, I felt great, and I eagerly shared my full recovery story with her. After that, many people joined the Alignment Recovery Program, and I started having around 4 or 5 coaching sessions a week. I focused on chronic fatigue syndrome and ME/CFS in the beginning, but I was also attracting people with other chronic diseases. I had already discovered that copying my recovery for others was very difficult, and I had to stay humble when telling people what to do. Very often, I realized that my work had a lot of limitations. Lots of the practices I am doing now were already part of my old way of working, but I didn’t understand things fully.

So many people who have recovered are starting a program and adding a few healing modalities on top of each other. A little bit of pacing, together with some mindfulness and emotional work, and it must be okay. Oh, and don’t forget some MindBody chapters and brain retraining to attract some more people. Yes, brain retraining had become very popular by 2021. I used some of it in 2018, and it caused me to have a short boost in health, but it also caused an extreme relapse in which I felt worse than my darkest moments of despair before that initial recovery. After that downfall, I understood that brain retraining is what I did before I became sick. It can become another way of squeezing the stress back into your body. My body didn’t want to join that game any longer.

Why brain retraining is not the answer for the majority of people

No, I was definitely not a fan of brain-retraining, and then I talk about the common brain-retraining methods. Neuroplasticity to live on stress hormones again. Because by denying the depth of the stressor, and coming up with tactics to wind it down instead of releasing it, many people will experience counterproductive results in the long run. This will, over time, make you stressed because you are again resisting what is causing the stress response. It is effective for individuals trapped in a negative cycle, but not for those whose underlying issue remains unresolved.

In the short run, it will make you get more energy from stress; sometimes people call it future energy, but I no longer believe any of us are spoonies. It was not the activity that caused symptoms; it was something that happened inside of us while we were using our muscles. We are never just using our muscles; there is an entire unconscious world going on with every activity. Something that happens inside of us causes these flare-ups, setbacks, or relapses. But I didn’t know that yet in the year 2021. Of course, brain retraining is much more than what they are selling it for. What we currently see in the recovery world is a very shallow version of it, based on a few assumptions. Brain retraining is not just practicing to be calm by imagining different states of being; it is also reacting differently to stress and symptoms and treating yourself differently. That’s why I called the podcast ‘Healing Differently’.

Accidental recoveries

Sometimes I received emails from people who recovered after, say, the first few modules of the old free alignment recovery program. Maybe all they needed to do was some old-school pacing. I didn’t understand that at all, and then I came to the concept of accidental recoveries. We could say that different things work for different people, but I didn’t believe that. All these different things, with low success rates, worked because of something else. It was similar to all my previous recoveries. As long as I didn’t understand it completely, I was still prone to relapses and accidental recoveries.

Now I know that there is no such thing as a relapse or a recovery. There are simply symptoms or no symptoms. And having symptoms is not a bad thing; it just means that you need a release, so it’s better to get on with it.

Although I gave myself completely away with all the work that I did, I would recommend that over what everyone else seems to be doing. It is better to find out the limitations of your work before you become a big company with employees and fame. More and more people are starting to see the limitations of these recovery influencers and their programs, as well as their marketing funnel campaigns. You can’t just copy your own recovery for others, especially if we are talking about accidental recoveries. Everyone with a chronic disease has their own stress bucket. Some have thousands of layers of severe stress inside of them, while others only need a few releases to be good again.

Online hate

After paying lots of money for something that doesn’t work, one can easily become bitter or even angry. Not to say that I never experienced online hate; maybe I even received more than others. The program was for free, and that attracted a lot of people. Unfortunately, the majority of participants lacked commitment and were quick to criticize me or share their negative experiences with others. But in marketing, they say that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Eventually, I stopped doing the coaching sessions for a donation. Receiving a few dollars after an hour of collaboration no longer felt appropriate. However, I remained cheap for a long time.

In the meantime, I had left the Netherlands and moved into a community in Germany with lots of spiritual people. Living together with many people was a big stressor. Not everyone has other people’s best interests at heart, and there was a lot of manipulation going on in the background. Dealing with all of that caused me to have a crash after only a few weeks. It was only one crash for a few days, but it gave me a very unpleasant feeling. I pretended that everything was fine, but I soon had more and more symptoms, and getting through the day became harder and harder.

Finding Valentina and learning about real healing

In my first few weeks of being in the community, I met Valentina. And when I had a full-on relapse at the end of 2021, I finally decided to drive to her. After arriving, I was tired, of course, but Valentina made me feel so safe that all my symptoms disappeared over the course of a few days. But whenever I returned to the community, they would be back within a few days. This went on for a few more months, until we decided to move to Sardinia together.

However, before we go there,

Valentina helped me whenever I had symptoms. She guided me to a place of safety and helped me use the emotional healing tools that I had already partially developed with clients. It was even hard for me to implement these tools, especially with extreme symptoms. The MindBody symptoms are designed by the brain to keep you away from the underlying stressor, or emotion. I really needed her help to point me towards my emotions, and together we discovered more helpful tools. Until one day, when I woke up with a crash and felt horrible, she went full-in and helped me to release the symptoms instantly. Instead of having a crash for the usual three to five days, she managed to help me release it within 30 minutes after waking up.

We spent many hours together discussing healing, emotions, and symptoms, and as our knowledge converged, I began to truly understand the subject matter. I was still working as a coach, and I experimented with clients. It didn’t take long before I was able to increase people’s symptoms on demand. I could not only amplify the symptoms of my clients, but also those of others. Sometimes the partner of a client wanted to understand a few things to make them understand their loved ones. I made them focus on their particular stressors, with the result of immediate symptoms. I started getting better at finding the underlying stressors, but I still had to learn a lot. After an increase in symptoms, people also want a decrease. For some people, I managed to release their symptoms and stressors instantly, but for the majority, this was still difficult for me.

Hard-core healing

Valentina and I moved to Sardinia to live in a very crappy studio. We constantly triggered each other, and that opened up a multitude of childhood wounds inside me. Every day I had symptoms, and almost every day, she helped me to release them instantly. When I wanted to take a rest and wait for the symptoms to wind down, it was usually Valentina who didn’t allow me to do that. She helped me push through and release the underlying stressors and symptoms. In that very intensive healing period, we developed lots of tools to make me release my stressors faster and faster.

As long as Valentina was there to help me, I was basically functioning okay. During that time, we expanded our tools and freestyled a lot. I began to become a lot more aware of my emotions, and then we released my symptoms on the go. Valentina didn’t have MindBody symptoms, but this period really wasn’t easy for her. Thank God that we made it through. We took a puppy; he didn’t like to see us arguing and had to create strategies to stop us and create harmony in our pack. I really believe that our dog, Badu, made us go through this.

I grew up in very harsh emotional conditions. There was a lot of extreme abuse and bad stuff happening at home and school. The more I healed, the better I understood Valentina and myself. I had trained myself to not feel emotions or boundaries. Emotions were a very dangerous thing in my childhood. Not having them was a matter of life or death for me. Who likes to see a very angry young boy? I had every reason to feel extreme fear and anger, but doing so would have made my childhood even more difficult. Instead, I slowly became an anxious boy with extreme depersonalization before the age of 10. When these old feelings came up, I was fortunate to have Valentina by my side. I am extremely grateful to her. This was also the driving force behind my decision to establish an online community for the program. I want people to have a healing buddy. I also want you to have your own Valentina. The things that can come up are not easy, and having someone who can hold your hand and co-regulate makes everything a lot easier.

Healing in a wave pattern

Rather than experiencing extended periods of well-being, I experienced daily triggers. Every day I had symptoms, and I had to find a way to release them. This was hard-core healing. Creating ups and downs every day. This is also one of the reasons why I believe that the wave of recovery should go fast, with many ups and downs. It can be challenging for those who still experience intense fear and anxiety due to their illness. However, to make the most of this chronic disease, you’d want to use it as much as you can. Having good days is great; enjoy them as much as you can. But eventually, you will want to release even more old stress, because that will make you feel even better. My so-called recoveries were nothing. Releasing was the real work. At times, it was very heavy.

For a while, my sole purpose in life was to release lots of layers of stress, and I have become pretty good at it. I teach from experience. This transcends mere knowledge; it ultimately becomes embodied.

Becoming obsessed about healing others

In the meantime, I was still working as a coach, and after every session, Valentina and I came together to discuss this particular case. We had to invent new tools, ways to deal with the protection mechanisms, and work on preparation tools. Each client that I couldn’t help made me feel bad. We were both committed to creating the best possible approach for everyone. If I hadn’t let a client experience an immediate release of symptoms, I would have had the feeling that I had failed (another trigger). I became truly obsessed with it.

We eventually stopped sharing new discoveries because we didn’t feel appreciated. For a long time, I improved the Alignment Program in the expectation of receiving more donations, but that didn’t work out very well. Instead, the better it became, the fewer donations we received for it. We also dealt with many people who lacked commitment. Most days, I had to respond to dozens of emails, and answering emails became a part of my daily routine. If these people didn’t value my time and effort, I was wasting it. Closing the program did not only solve our financial problems; we were now working with committed people. That changes everything. I think that most people need at least a 2-year period of struggling before they are willing to start the release process. It is undoubtedly challenging, as it requires a complete relinquishment of one’s old identity. This can be particularly challenging for individuals who yearn to return to their previous lives—the exact lives that led them to experience a chronic illness.

The birth of the Release program

Fast forward one more year to July 2023, and there were a few days that I didn’t have internet. I had to take a break. It was the first break I took in a long time. I started noticing that I had been too obsessed with the work. I took some time to process the last couple of years and came to the conclusion that I finally understood everything. My mission of trying to understand my health problems, which started in 2012, had finally come to an end. I entered a phase of no-man’s land. It is a phase of recovery where you feel really heavy and sleepy. I could sleep for weeks on end. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.

Someone who recovered via us wanted to work for us, and teaching her the tools, while she wasn’t ready, gave me a lot of stress again. I fell in and out of the state of no man’s land all the time. We eventually decided that we had to keep things between the two of us because of a variety of unusual and weird events that started happening when we started training her. This gave me back my peace of mind, and I could enjoy a holiday.

Already, others were copying or stealing our work. Some individuals obtained our work at no cost, with the intention of profiting from it and replicating our efforts. Some of them really hurt my feelings. This was not just about copying some modalities; this was Valentina’s and my life’s work. She was busy with the healing work long before she met me. Together, we made something beautiful out of our pain, and we only barely made it. It was time for a big shift.

The time that I gave myself and my work away for free had come to an end. I had now learned about this boundary. I understand that many people will eventually copy the Release program because of its awesome ability to turn symptoms on and off on demand, but at least we should receive payment from those who follow it. Almost every day, people tell me that they want to start a healing program as well. I no longer encourage people to do this. It is more important to fully heal and embody the tools first. After that, it becomes about your purpose. What are you here for? Where do your curiosity and skills point you towards?

I took a month off to decide what to do. I was seriously considering stopping everything, as I felt that my mission was complete. That mission was based in part on stress, and without those stress hormones, there was little to no motivation anymore. The world of recovery programs had become a wild western scene, and even with other creators, I had experienced my fair share of negativity and bad moments.

We took some more time off to decide what to do. There was an online course from Mind Valley that was about branding and purpose. I started doing that. Valentina and I talked a lot about what we wanted from life. We could just as easily start something completely new and different. I mean, I’ve worked as an entertainer, a comedian, a German teacher, and an insurance salesman, and Valentina has a PHD in chemistry. Life has always provided us with enough money to have food and shelter. There are always plenty of options. But after a few weeks, we decided to close the Alignment Program and start a new online program, Release, because that is the essence of what we have learned. We began the journey cautiously, but after dealing with severe abuse, we took the decision on a Sunday evening to transition to Release the following morning. That was the start of another stressful period for me. There were lots of problems in the beginning, and I had to make the whole program anew.

So many people have healed from their chronic disease via this healing program

At the moment, it is almost a year since I didn’t have internet and took a few days off. I feel better than ever. We made many bold decisions, such as adopting the dog, relocating to Sardinia, choosing our current house, and ending the program. And everything turned out well. Life itself carries us, providing us with everything we need. We have some more beautiful healing projects on the horizon, but we focus more on enjoying our lives. There were times when the work became too much of an obsession for me, and that inner drive has left me completely. The inner work we have done seems to have an enormous ripple effect on everything else.

All of the struggles and difficulties led to this moment right here and now. Without the suffering, there wouldn’t have been a release program. Many people have recovered from it, and many more are yet to come. During the program, we want everyone to experience an immediate relief of symptoms with a proper release. This is an extremely empowering experience because you will have control over your health again. We don’t know how many layers will come up or how much time you will need to have no symptoms anymore. However, we can train you to release the layers of stress that are causing your symptoms. Everyone who needs many releases should know that I probably needed even more.

But healing is not a destination. Life is not about a destination; it is about the journey that makes it so beautiful. Don’t be in a rush; it will stress you out.

4 replies
  1. James Silverman avatar
    James Silverman says:

    Such an incredible and inspiring story! So grateful for yours and Valentina’s dedication and hard work bringing this program together. It is truly light years ahead of mainstream medicine and you deserve all the success from your tireless efforts. This is surely your purpose- to help so many other people live theirs.


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