The Brain’s Way of Healing | Norman Doidge

Summary of: The Brain’s Way of Healing: Stories of Remarkable Recoveries and Discoveries
By: Norman Doidge

Introduction

Embark on a fascinating journey through the powerful stories and discoveries found in Norman Doidge’s book ‘The Brain’s Way of Healing.’ In this summary, you will delve into the mysteries of chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries, blindness, and more. Learn how remarkable individuals overcame these daunting challenges by harnessing the innate healing capacities of their brains. You will encounter cutting-edge techniques and therapies such as visualization, the Feldenkrais method, light therapy, laser acupuncture, and tongue stimulation that can lead to astonishing recoveries. Unlock the secrets behind the brain’s healing power and its potential to provide relief in seemingly hopeless situations.

Conquering Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a neurological disease that sends unnecessary pain signals to the brain due to damage to nerve cells. However, chronic pain can be reversed through visualization techniques. Psychiatrist Michael Moskowitz discovered a technique to replace pain through visualization. The exercise involves visualizing areas of the brain where the number of neurons processing pain increased and transforming them back to regular neurons. After three weeks, Moskowitz began experiencing relief and was practically pain-free after a year.

Fighting Parkinson’s Disease Through Mindful Walking

John Pepper, a South African accountant, found a way to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by gradually increasing his walking regimen through an exercise program called Walk for Life, and paying conscious attention to how he moved. Parkinson’s attacks the basal ganglia, which controls automatic functions, but John’s focused attention helped him move control of these movements to areas associated with conscious actions, such as the prefrontal cortex. With moderate walking, conscious movement, and gradually correcting his limping gait, John was able to fight the degenerative effects of Parkinson’s and develop his prefrontal cortex.

The Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais technique is a method developed by physicist Moshé Feldenkrais, which involves slow and conscious repetition of movement patterns. This technique helps to stimulate connections between the brain and nerves, allowing tense muscles to relax. One of the unique exercises is lying flat on your back and making micro-movements with your head, using the least amount of effort while focusing on a particular body part. The technique has been successful in helping stroke patients recover their abilities, as it helps the brain relearn certain functions. Through the Feldenkrais technique, patients like Nora, whose brain was damaged due to a stroke, were able to recognize left from right again.

Eye Exercises for Vision Recovery

David Webber found a cure for his vision failure by practicing eye exercises. He discovered William Bates’s exercises, which were shunned by most of the medical community, through Meir Schneider’s story of how he recovered his sight after applying Bates’s exercises. Bates’s exercises are relatively simple, from blocking out all light to focusing on different objects placed at varying distances. Meanwhile, for some eye conditions, the eyes need to relax before training exercises can begin. David started with eye relaxation exercises developed by Moshé Feldenkrais before moving forward with some of Bates’s exercises. Seven years later, David restored 50 percent of normal vision in his left eye, and his right eye improved from complete blindness to blurry vision.

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