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How I beat my stroke in two weeks

Reading time: 12 minutes

It was April 24, 2022. Erika Chopich, PhD (psychology), was out in her horse barn working with her barn staff. Suddenly she noticed that her speech was becoming slurred to the point she could barely speak. As a former paramedic with a background in medicine and public health, she knew immediately what was happening and headed back to her house to call for help.

Before the paramedics arrived, she had the presence of mind to ask Dr Margaret Paul, her business partner and co-founder of Inner Bonding (a spiritual self-healing process), to grab a healing laser device she regularly used called a McLaren Torch and bring it to the hospital.

“I routinely use the torch on my arthritis and on my horses,” the 70-year-old psychologist says. “I don’t know how I had the presence of mind in the middle of having a stroke to ask her to bring it.”

At the hospital, she knew she was in real trouble when the doctors came in and said she was hemorrhaging in the brain stem. (The brain stem regulates the central nervous system, the heart and respiration, the sleep cycle, and the ability to stay conscious.)

“A hemorrhagic stroke is the most deadly stroke there is, and I could feel that I was struggling to keep consciousness,” Erika says. “It was so bad that I actually could feel my spirit wanting to lift out of my body and let go. I just remember thinking over and over, ‘I’m not going. I’m staying here. I have horses to take care of and people to take care of, and I’m staying right here.’ ”

After she was admitted to the ICU, the neurologist came in to talk to her and tell her what she already knew—the situation was dire. He told her that the stroke was most likely the result of her two-year struggle with long-haul Covid and that only her very active lifestyle and the fact that she’d been on a strict organic diet for over 30 years had saved her life.

“If I’d been eating sugars and processed foods and a high-fat diet, I would not have survived,” she says.

Taking action

As soon as the doctor left the room, Erika grabbed the McLaren Torch from where she’d hidden it underneath her blankets and went to work. A red light therapy device developed by Australian clinical scientist and veterinary surgeon and acupuncturist Dr Brian McLaren, the torch, which looks like a small flashlight, is used to stimulate the body’s acupuncture points.

“The brain stem is right behind your uvula, so I put the torch in my mouth and started zapping my brain stem,” says Erika. “At that point I was unable to swallow and I had to be suctioned out with an aspirator. I was paralyzed on the right side of my body, and I could barely speak because my vocal cords were getting paralyzed. I started tracing the vagal nerves with the torch over and over and over and all along my vocal cords and my tongue.” (The vagal nerves are the main nerves of the parasympathetic nervous system regulating breathing, heart rate, digestion, swallowing and the immune system.)

Because she couldn’t swallow and was choking on everything, the doctors announced she was going to have to have a feeding tube inserted in her stomach for five months. They also said she’d have to spend four months in a rehabilitation hospital.

“This was less than 24 hours after the event, and I looked at the doctor and managed to get out, ‘You don’t know that,’” says Erika. “At which point she started yelling at me, saying if I didn’t follow the recommended protocol that I was going to die and stormed out of my room.”

Six CAT scans and 36 hours later, Erika signed herself out of the hospital. “Six CAT scans in a day and a half?” she says. “That just sets me up for brain cancer. And they were way below the standard of care at that place. I figured if I stayed in that hospital I was going to die. So I went home.”

Helping hands

As an expert nutritionist and nutritional psychologist, her business partner Margaret, age 83, immediately took things in hand, putting Erika on a special restorative liquid diet that included omega-3s, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl l-carnitine, magnesium, resveratrol, green tea, vitamin D3, celery seed juice and probiotics—a concoction designed to mitigate the stroke damage, stimulate stem cell generation and build up her body. (Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can turn into specialized cells, such as blood and nerve cells.)

She also reached out to a close friend, Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement® (, which utilizes the principle of neuroplasticity combined with gentle incremental movement to rewire the brain and facilitate healing. (Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rapidly “rewire” itself by growing and changing neural networks and connections in the brain.)

A can-do attitude

The first week, Anat showed up on two Zoom calls from San Rafael, California, working with Margaret and instructing her on ways to get Erika to gently move different parts of her body—tiny, gentle movements of her shoulders, head and spine, none of which seemed at all connected with speech recovery or getting back the use of her right arm, hand and leg. But there was definitely a point to Anat’s indirect healing approach.

“When somebody has a stroke, either hemorrhagic or ischemic, the bottom line is that there is loss of nerve cells and the loss of connections and neural networks,” says Anat. “The organization, the complexity and richness of neural networks that have developed in the brain enabling physical functions that we’ve learned to do over time—much of it is destroyed.”

Anat explains that the problem with standard rehabilitation programs is that a few days after a stroke, rehabilitation specialists start telling the patient to do things that they’ve lost the ability to do properly—like raise their arm or speak or walk. And because the brain rewires itself in response to its experiences, it thenceforth rewires limitation.

“I keep telling professionals to stop telling people to do things that they can’t do,” says Anat. “This is why I guided Erika to do very gentle, fine movements along the spine and the shoulders instead of asking her to do movements she couldn’t do. Movement is the language of the brain. It is through movement that the brain senses and feels and figures itself out. Rather than creating new neural patterns within the limitations, we allow the brain to reintegrate and reorganize itself around things the body can do. And then healing naturally occurs.”

“It’s so subtle and brilliant,” says Erika. “She’d have me start by rolling my head gently to the left, then gently to the right, sometimes with eyes open, sometimes eyes closed. She’d have Margaret move my head a certain way or my shoulder a certain way and it was all very gentle. At first I wondered, ‘How can this help?’ And then the next thing I knew, I was getting better.”

After a couple online sessions with Anat, one week after checking out of the hospital, Erika was back on solid foods and walking unaided. “I threw the walker the hospital gave me in the basement and slammed the door,” she says. Anat then worked twice with Erica directly, guiding her through a movement program. “When I worked with her, I could see the changes and could hear her speech and diction improving and getting clearer,” says Anat.

One step back, two steps forward

However, as Erika started moving around again, she experienced something called nystagmus—a condition in which the eyes involuntarily move, bouncing up and down, creating vertigo and making focus difficult. She called her chiropractor, who came to the house and adjusted her. The nystagmus stopped immediately.

But after treating her, he highly recommended she see another doctor of chiropractic, a Dr F. M., whose name cannot be printed in full because of numerous lawsuits filed against him by medical doctors angry that he’s treating patients “outside his scope of practice.” Besides chiropractic adjustment, Dr M. uses laser treatments, supplementation, gentle touch and other strategies to heal everything from erectile dysfunction to cancer.

Erika followed her chiropractor’s advice and made an appointment with Dr M. To her surprise and delight, one of the first things he did was pull out a McLaren Torch. “He had two of them that he and an assistant used in conjunction with subtle touches along the major nerves, like the vagal nerves, activating them with the torch at the same time. I could tell immediately that something was happening with just a gentle touch and light. It felt like he was reconnecting the energy flow to the nervous system and activating it. I could actually feel it, like little tingly waking-up sensations. It was fascinating.”

He also instructed her to do various movements while she was humming a low tone, then a medium and then a high tone, moving her head back and forth with her eyes open and then closed, then looking right then left, then moving her head up and down and back and forth, all while he kept touching her spine.

A little more light

“Basically I did alpha wave protocol modulation, which is laser therapy,” says Dr M. “I used a class III B laser in the violet and red light ranges in the visible light spectrum—the 600 to 1,400 nanometers range, changing the frequencies to match the tissues I was going after. And I used pulsed electromagnetic frequencies. I don’t just run constant frequencies.”

Dr M. lasered Erika’s prefrontal cortex, which regulates executive functioning and emotion and enables memory; the brain stem; the parietal lobes, which handle information processing and spatial orientation along with sensory sensations like touch, pain and temperature; the frontal junction, which processes visual information; the nasal cavity; and the pharynx (the throat). He says he did that to stimulate the brain first. Then he gently used a mechanical adjusting tool to stimulate the vertebral segments up and down her spine.

To address Erika’s balance issues—a typical problem after a stroke—he worked with her gluteus medius muscle at the side of the paralyzed hip, a smaller muscle underneath the main buttocks muscle that’s key to hip stability. “The gluteus medius was one of the things that was misfiring on the contralateral side of her body (the side that was paralyzed),” he said. “Her right gluteus medius had to be stimulated in conjunction with stimulating the brain. I used a percussor to stimulate that tissue while we stimulated the matching part of the brain. Basically, we were saying, ‘Hello. Connect to me. Talk to me. I want to use you.’”

The percussor he used is a vibration device called a VibraCussor. He made sure he wasn’t running at a frequency rate of more than 35 Hz. “If you run too many hertz through the stimulating tissue, you’ll overwhelm the tissue. If you do it right, you’ll end up stimulating the brain stem, the cortex and the muscle itself, making each particular muscle at a time communicate with the brain, getting the dendrites to connect and create the neurotransmitters, making everybody connect and start working again.”

Dr M. said Erika also had a lot of interference on an emotional level and on the immune level, which he addressed by working points on her body related to cytokine expression (small proteins involved in cell signaling) and interleukin expression (cytokines involved in the creation of white blood cells). He did this using kinesiology, also known as muscle testing, a system of using specific muscle weakness to diagnose allergies or other conditions, such as structural, muscular, chemical, and mental ailments.

“Frankly I’ve never seen anybody work like him,” says Margaret. “It was amazing to watch. One of the things Erika was really having a hard time with was sleep. She just wasn’t sleeping after the stroke. Dr M. told her that that had to do with the disruption of her brain stem, which manages the circadian rhythms. After that one session with her, she slept just fine.”

Long-term success

Dr M. told Erika to continue the movement exercises he used with her, and she says she still does them faithfully every day, months later. “Out of curiosity, one day I called the hospital to find out what kind of exercise therapy is standard for stroke patients and they said, ‘Oh, we use wrist weights and ankle weights and hold you up while you try to balance,’ says Erika. I could hardly believe it. It was really lame.”

After working with Anat and Dr M., two weeks after her deadly stroke, Erika was back out in her round pen, working her horses. “Back at the hospital, they call me a miracle because I’ve progressed faster and farther than anybody they’ve ever seen. But it’s all the treatments combined that brought me around so fast. Most of the paralysis in my body is gone. My brain is still healing and I still have some trouble with speech—not speech itself—I struggle a bit with pitch and intonations. But I’m going to have a second session with Dr M. next week to address that.

“In the meantime, I’m running errands and doing my life, working with my horses every day, working in the barn and in my business, Inner Bonding.”

If you think you’re having a stroke

Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally. Signs that a person is having a stroke include:

  • Sudden trouble speaking
  • Sudden numbness and seeming paralysis of the face, arms and legs—usually on one side of the body
  • Sudden visual difficulties in one or both eyes
  • Sudden extreme headache
  • Sudden loss of balance and coordination

“Basically the concern is loss of blood flow to the tissue,” says Dr F. M. “It’s like having no gasoline for your car. You have to restore the gasoline—the energy—back to those cells in the brain as quickly as possible before they actually terminate.”

Call 999 in the UK or 911 in the US immediately if you think you may be having a stroke.

Stroke prevention

The American Stroke Association says 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. And since high blood pressure is considered the number one cause of strokes that do occur, it makes sense to deal with that first.

High blood pressure weakens arteries, making them more prone to bursting, possibly resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke. 

Stopping smoking is at the top of the list of ways to manage high blood pressure. Nicotine also thins the walls of veins and arteries, which weakens them.

Also managing alcohol consumption is advisable, since heavy alcohol consumption can cause something called atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that causes blood to pool in the heart and often leads to blood clots. The clots can then be transported to the brain with possibly fatal results.

High blood sugar and diabetes make you up to four times more susceptible to having a stroke, so diet is an effective way to manage stroke risk. A diet rich in healthy leafy greens and other veggies, fruits and lean proteins is optimal. Cut out sugar, sugar substitutes (except erythritol, monkfruit and xylitol), food additives, chemicals and highly processed foods. Also keep high-complex-carbohydrate foods (potatoes, rice and other starches) to a minimum.

Of course, exercise is also on the list—strength training and cardio exercises 30 minutes a day, several days a week, are highly recommended.

Emotional balance is another key. According to a recent study, anger and other types of emotional upset contribute to a 30 percent higher risk of having a stroke within an hour of having experienced those heightened emotions,1 which means calming exercise like tai chi is a good idea. Or just get out in nature and talk a walk.

Meditation and breathwork are both logical go-tos. As well, emotionally soothing pastimes like reading, working puzzles or painting can be a real help to keep your emotions under control. And then there is always the time-honored calming ritual of taking a bath with some soothing candles and bath salts and gentle music playing in the background.

How Erika beat cancer, too

During the CT scan for the stroke, doctors discovered that Erika also had cancer on the base of the tongue, resulting in swelling around her jaw and visible lesions in her throat. She immediately adopted the following protocol, besides eating a diet of exclusively fresh, organic, local foods plus prebiotics like fermented and pickled vegetables.


  • Glucan Particle (ImmunotiX 500) from her chiropractor
  • Organic freshly made apple/carrot/celery juice: 12 oz
  • Frankincense oil: Young Living, 5 drops in a capsule
  • Ginseng: 1 vial Red Panax extraction, Ultra Strength
  • Carnivora extract: 2 droppers from 
  • OncoPLEX ES (Broccoli) from her chiropractor 
  • Vitamin B complex from The Synergy Company
  • Garden of Life organic raw probiotics


  • Organic freshly made apple/carrot/celery juice: 12 oz


  • Glucan Particle (ImmunotiX 500), with a glass of water
  • Ginseng: 1 vial
  • Carnivora: 2 droppers

Numerous times/day

  • McLaren Torch applied to the affected area 
  • Blood marker testing performed at the Mayo Clinic confirmed that after four and a half months on the protocol, she is now cancer free.

Supplements and protocols that may help prevent or treat stroke

  • Ashwagandha may mitigate stroke symptoms and strengthen mitochondrial functions and cognition after a stroke.2
  • Citocoline has been shown to assist in neurogenesis and neurorepair, thus supporting physical therapy and rehabilitation.3
  • Consuming oily fish at least twice a week may decrease the risk of thrombotic stroke (a type of ischemic stroke), but not hemorrhagic stroke.4
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf preparations assist post-stroke recovery.5
  • Glucosamine has been found to mitigate inflammation post stroke, but primarily in males.6
  • Probiotics may be helpful since gut health and brain health are linked.7
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a brain stimulation technique, supports neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation after a stroke.8
  • Vitamin B supplementation is promising as B vitamins may help in stroke prevention.9
  • Vitamin D deficiency is related to incidence of stroke, and vitamin D supplementation improves stroke outcomes.10

Low-level light therapy for stroke

There has not been a great deal of clinical research on the effectiveness of low-level light therapy (LLLT), specifically the use of infrared and visible light in the red frequency ranges for stroke. One study shows that, in rats, the use of red or near-infrared light between 600 and 1,000 nanometers promotes cellular transport, prevents cell death and is useful in the treatment of ischemic stroke (the most common kind of stroke, caused by a blood clot blocking blood flow to a portion of the brain).11

Red to near-infrared LEDs have been successfully used to promote the metabolic and oxidative functions of mitochondria in the body (organelles in the cell membrane that power biochemical reactions in the cells). This in turn has been shown to improve nerve regeneration.12

LLLT has also been shown to help muscle fibers regain functionality while reducing pain levels in stroke patients with spasticity.13 The use of transcranial near-infrared laser may also provide benefit in cases of acute traumatic brain injury.14




On Thursday, December 1st, Anat will take us through her methods and provide a live Q&A session so everyone in attendance can get your unique health questions answered.

Thursday, December 1st 2022

7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 11am PST   Via Zoom




Eur Heart J, 2022; 43(3): 202–9


Metab Brain Dis, 2018; 33(4): 1261–74; Eur J Neuro, 2009; 16(5): 569–75


Brain Sci, 2013; 3(3): 1395–1414


Prev Cardiol, 2003; 6(1): 38–41


Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2021; doi: 10.1155/2021/4265219


Brain Behav Immun Health, 2020; 3: 100041


Ann Gastroenterol, 2015; 28(2): 203–209


Hum Brain Mapp, 2018; 39(8): 3326–39


Lancet Neurol, 2017; 16(9): 750–60


J Clin Diagn Res, 2017; 11(2): CC06–10

1 1

Neural Regen Res, 2014; 9(3): 236–42


J Orthop Sci, 2010; 15(2): 233–9


Lasers Med Sci, 2016; 31(7): 1293–300


PLoS One, 2013; 8(1): e53454

Article Topics: stroke
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