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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Neuroplasticity -- what and why you need to know about it!

Our brains have amazing capacity! We have the power to unlock this magic door when we move with attention and awareness.

In case you aren't sure what neuroplasticity actually means, one writer defines it as an umbrella term for your brain's capacity to reorganize itself, physically (structurally) and functionally (how it does what it does), throughout your life. This reorganization can be in response to the (1) environment, including what you eat and drink and otherwise take into your body and system, (2) your physical behavior, (3) your thinking and (4) your emotions, as well as injury, accident, surgery, and other external events.

For much of modern history the brain was thought to be a collection of hard-wired specialized functions. Dr. Feldenkrais was one of the earliest people to investigate and write about neuroplasticity as a reproducible, responsive phenomena that enabled some parts of the brain to take over when other parts were rendered non-functional.  

All of his books deal with the capacity of the brain to modify and change and do new work; with the indivisible relationship between the moving, sensing, acting body and the brain, and the extraordinary effects of these relationships that can overcome limitations of all sorts, from improving and healing an injury or developmental issue, to vastly improving ones' performance in art, music or athletics. It also brings forward new ways to work with movement patterns, chronic pain and inflammation. As we occupy our bodies more completely and with more attention, our options multiply exponentially. 

We have verified this in the last few decades as technology has allowed us to see inside the brain's chambers and observe first hand the effects of brain function while it is occurring. There is no longer any doubt that the brain's capacities and possibilities surpass our wildest conceptions. But to unlock these capacities requires some individual effort. Our autopilot functioning does not bring about the desired transformation.