The Web of Brain Healing & Neuroplasticity

Because scientific research is now available to offer proof that many natural remedies have profound effects, we have entered a new era for healing brains. Inclusive in this list are injuries (Stroke, TBI), disease (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis), developmental issues (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Asperger’s) and/or emotional-psychiatric problems (fear, anxiety, depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia). Today, we understand that the brain is not a fixed structure that when damaged cannot be fixed; today we understand that the brain is plastic – it can change – grow new neurons, reestablish lost connection and even move functioning from one area to another to restore performance, which is known as neuroplasticity. To accomplish this healing and retraining, many natural therapies such as acupuncture, nutrition and computerized neuro-training are proving themselves as the remedies the brain needs. Patients no longer are limited to current conventional treatment with only drugs, surgery and the therapies of physical, occupational and speech/language.

Healing the brain engages a complex web of biological and physiological processes which are interdependent – hence when one is not working it will negatively affect the others. What further complicates the web is the brain’s interdependence of different areas/regions for proper function. The good news is that research has provided us with enough understanding of the interdependence, biological and physiological mechanisms that we can effectively apply natural therapies to facilitate the brain’s healing. The web is comprised of the following seven realms that are each addressed to either recover or maximize function.

Eight Pillars of the Web and Healing Process

  1. Eliminate External Interference & Damage
  2. Treating the Whole Body
  3. Neurophysiology
  4. Awaken the Brain
  5. Neuron Timing
  6. Brain Region Synchronization
  7. Mind-Body Connection (Emotions, Visualization)
  8. Holistic Care

The healing process begins with addressing the health issues of the whole body because of the many bodily systems that support and impact brain function. This includes the identification of external and environmental factors that can interfere with neuron function and/or damage brain tissue

Eliminating external interference and damage includes all things that cause inflammation and autoimmune activity that interferes with neuron function, neuron connections to each other at the synaptic junction and/or damage to neurons, blood vessels, meninges and cerebral spinal fluid production, reabsorption and circulation. Our modern food supply and environment are filled with altered proteins and chemicals responsible for the interference and subtle damage. Some foods are causing the production of antibodies that damage myelin sheath (a possible component of Multiple Sclerosis MS), causing the tangles in Alzheimer’s and damage to mechanisms that allow neurons to communicate with each other and antibodies that damage the brain’s blood vessels resulting with inflammation of the brain. These foods and environmental sensitivities can be identified with advanced lab tests and then removed.

Treating the whole body is critical because brain function is dependent upon stable and proper blood sugar, good cardio-pulmonary function for circulation, good red blood cell production to ensure delivery of nutrients to the brain, and proper thyroid/metabolism and other hormones. Further, viral, bacterial, parasite, yeast and fungal infections can impact the brain. To properly remediate issues within the brain, it cannot include treatment of the brain alone; the entire organism must function at an optimum level to produce the greatest repair in the brain.

Once the whole body has been taken into the plan of action, the practitioner may turn directly to the rehabilitation of the brain itself with a number of treatments.

Awaken the Brain includes therapies that stimulate neurons and/or specific areas of the brain such as acupuncture, essential oils, flower essence, sound, light-color, laser, vision, vibration and more.

Neurophysiology includes providing nutrients that are needed for neuron function and making neuron connections.

Neuron timing refers to firing efficiency – the more a neuron can fire (be active) at a given moment the better the signal flow is from one neuron to the next. Like a domino effect the neuron’s fire in a sequence and if one is not firing the sequence is interrupted.

Brain region synchronization is necessary like neuron timing in that there is a sequence to the flow of information from one region/area of the brain to another and lack of being in-sync will cause dysfunction. Neuron timing and brain region synchronization can be measured and improved by new interactive computer technology  as well as through the benefits from Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Yoga.

Mind-body connection is instrumental to facilitating brain region synchronization because thoughts can place us in sympathetic mode (fight, flight, freeze) or in the parasympathetic mode (rest & digest) of which alters the sequencing of activated brain regions. Practices such as self-awareness, mindfulness, meditation and prayer are powerful interventions and foundation for a stable state of mind.

Holistic care plays a significant role because the patient’s life circumstances (financial, living, mobility) and relationships with family, friends, work will have a direct affect upon the patient’s state of mind – positive or negative. Here it is necessary to address those issues.

Three Reasons The Web of Brain Healing Is Not Addressed 

First, it is due to the fact that the necessary therapies and natural medicines to treat the web are not covered by insurance. That lack of inclusion also prevents medical doctor’s from being aware of these treatment options and subsequently do not refer.

Second, the complexity of the web requires many specialists (doctors and therapists) who know only their field and do not see the entire web as a whole. As such, there gaps which do not receive treatment. Here’s just one example – In order to re-establish communication between brain regions it is necessary to use Neuro-acupuncture (by a specialized acupuncturist) to stimulate one region while activating another region with guided limb-movement (by a physical therapist). This requires two different professions to work together simultaneously and as of today, there’s no such provision in conventional care to provide this service.

Third, even when patient’s try some of the natural therapies they are not addressing the web, only a segment. Example: You can try and awaken the brain with acupuncture but if the neurons need nutrients to respond you’ll have little or no progress. Or, you can have healthy neurons and apply acupuncture to awaken an area of the brain, but if the regions are out of synchronization you’ll get little or no effect. If the patient has underlying fear or anxiety the correction of synchronization is impaired and you get little or no improvement. If the patient is eating foods that cause inflammation on the brain which interferes with neuron communication, then no amount of brain nutrients, acupuncture stimulation, blood circulation, neuron timing exercises, and/or mediation will overcome the inflammation interference. Simply put, to heal the brain requires addressing the entire web.

Therapeutic Process To Engage The Web
Vasodilation to increase oxygen and other nutrient delivery
Recognize fatigue and allow for rest – research by the DOD found that an adult can be exposed to a maximum of 4 hours lecture or reading of new material and it can be processed and absorbed i.e. make new neuron connection and be retained in memory. Studies found that sleeping after reading and lecture there was greater retention. Giving the brain and body rest via sleep allows the new neuron connections to become ‘established’. Hence, without rest you are taking energy and nutrients away form the neurons that need it for making the connections. The bottom line being, you have to strategically rest maximize blood flow, oxygenation & nutrient prior to neuro-therapy and rest both body and brain to maximize the benefits.