Healing with Neuroplasticity Part 1
Discovering neuroplasticity may be the greatest breakthrough in brain understanding in the era of modern science. This fundamental concept is what we have built our clinic around. We attribute this ability of the brain to the many stories of our patient’s significant improvements, healing, and recoveries. The ability for the brain to heal marks a clear distinction from past understanding; for over 400 years the prevailing thought was the brain was hardwired and unchangeable. As such, a person born with a learning disorder or someone that injured their brain were seen as permanent disabilities, with no way to change or improve their limitations, symptoms, or struggles. This multi part blog will describe how we now know that this is not the case—and the amazing details about how the brain, in fact, can heal itself.
What is Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the property of the brain that enables it to change its own structure and functioning in response to stimulation, activity and experience. This source of unique healing involves brain cells being able to communicate with each other, enabling them to form new connections and sometimes reform old ones. In other words, this means that conditions such as stroke, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, complex migraines, dizziness, autism, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, developmental delays, dysautonomia, and sensory processing issues (to name just a few) can improve—there is hope! In some cases, we have seen complete resolution of all symptoms through our methods. Other times we have seen severe deficits that hinder daily life become milder and more manageable.
How do we use Neuroplasticity?
Many of the diseases and brain injuries listed above occur after certain brain circuits have been damaged. Our clinical task is to assess the brain and find those areas of injury.
Most of our clinical therapies and rehabilitation focuses on the use of energy (light, sound, vibration, electricity, and motion). These energy forms unlock the natural, non-invasive methods of brain healing. These techniques focus on stimulating damaged circuits as well as healthy, dormant circuits that could aid in the healing process. These pathways in the brain, as well as the pathways from the brain and body, become important links to facilitate healing. In this way, the brain and body are partners in the recovery.
How is our approach different?
Let us begin this part with the standard modern approach to neurological conditions. Their view is the brain is the master controller of the body, where the brain is the master and the body is the puppet, merely following orders. As such, medicine became a battle against disease; believing that the brain could not heal, most treatments used medication to “compensate for a failing system” and decrease symptoms by temporarily changing brain chemistry. Of course, if you stopped the medication, the symptoms would return. It was just masking the problem, not fixing it. In this scenario, the patient became more of a passive bystander in their recovery. This approach has influenced many physicians over the years to focus more on imaging/testing than hearing and understanding the patient’s story.
This imperial view of the brain, however, is not accurate. An important distinction here is the concept of two-way communication with the brain and body. This constant signaling allows the brain to influence the body and vice versa. This means that the brain is always linked to the body, and through it, the outside world. We can use the body to heal the brain, and the brain to heal the body. This also allows the active involvement of the patient’s mind, brain, and body. By stimulating and focusing on repairing the brain’s injured/damaged circuits, we can have significant improvements by fixing the root cause of the problem.
At Great Lakes Neurology, we focus on the patient’s deficits as well as healthy brain areas to aid in recovery. Understanding and integrating neuroplasticity can allow symptom resolution and healing that were once thought impossible. Our natural, holistic approach has been able to help even the most complex and long-standing neurological issues. If you or someone you know has been struggling with neurological symptoms, we would be happy to help you put the pieces together with our unique approach.
1. Doidge, Norman. The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. New York, New York: Viking, 2015. Doidge, Norman.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER The content above is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. Great Lakes Functional Neurology does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. We recommend readers that are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications consult their physicians before starting any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.