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Neuroplasticity - Training Your Brain For No More Pain

Neuroplasticity … Norman Droidge MD.

THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF

THE BRAIN CAN CHANGE ITSELF. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain’s basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature. Norman Doidge, MD, a psychiatrist and researcher, set out to investigate neuroplasticity and met both the brilliant scientists championing it and the people whose lives they’ve transformed.

THE BRAIN’S WAY OF HEALING

For centuries it was believed that the price we paid for our brain’s complexity was that, compared with other organs, it was fixed and unregenerative—unable to recover mental abilities lost because of damage or disease. The Brain’s Way of Healing turns that belief on its head, as Doidge lucidly explains how the brain’s capacities are highly dynamic, and how its very sophistication makes possible a unique and gentle kind of healing. He describes natural, noninvasive avenues into the brain provided by the forms of energy around us—light, sound, vibration, movement—that can pass through our senses and our bodies to awaken the plastic brain’s own transformative capacities without surgery or medication and their unpleasant side effects or risks.

Using this more nuanced understanding of how our brains work, scientists and practitioners have learned how to use neuroplastic therapies to address many common conditions and to offer hope where prospects for healing were long denied. We see patients in whom years of chronic pain have been alleviated, and others who have recovered the ability not just to walk or talk but to live fully despite debilitating strokes, as well as cases of long-standing brain injuries cured or vastly improved. We meet children on the autistic spectrum or with learning disorders or attention deficit disorder who have used neuroplastic techniques to achieve normal lives, and sufferers who have seen symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy radically diminished. And we learn how to vastly reduce the risk of dementia, or improve the brain’s performance and health, with simple approaches anyone can use.

Neuroplastic healing is truly one of the life-changing breakthroughs of modern science—“mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff,” in the words ofThe New York Times, describing Doidge’s first book. Here, he uses both astonishing, moving human stories and reports from the frontiers of an exciting field in brain science, putting it all together to help us recognize how mind, brain, and body, as well as the energies around us, are all essential elements that combine in health and healing. This is a book with the potential to transform, to heal, and to offer hope.

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