17 Jun 2020

Understanding Neuroplasticity

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Understanding Neuroplasticity

Historical thinking in the field of neuroscience was that the brain you were born with is the brain you were stuck with for life. However, with decades of brain study the emergence of neuroplasticity has challenged this thinking. So just what is neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is defined as the capacity of the brain to develop and change throughout life, plasticity referring to the brain’s capacity to reorganize itself. The idea is that the brain is malleable in terms of structure, allowing opportunities for new growth and connections. As structure changes, so does function.

The brain is a learning machine, thus enforcing the idea of neuroplasticity. A simple example would be learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument. It is now known that we can change our brains by engaging modalities that stimulate neuroplasticity, such as neurofeedback.

For those living in the Tampa area, this means that people with brain damage have a hope of recovery as the brain reorganizes and creates new synaptic connections around damaged areas. It means that we can heal mental and physical disabilities by targeting the brain in the healing process. It means age related mental decline need not be a downward spiral. It even means things like pain and physical ailments can be improved or eliminated by targeting issues in the brain.

How Can Neurofeedback Help With Neuroplasticity?
Neurofeedback directly targets the problem areas in the brain, connecting neural pathways that have been damaged or never connected. To use a visual metaphor, If the brain is a complex system of roads that are not all passable, neurofeedback helps repair those roads so that all of them can connect to each other and travel between them is efficient.

On a cellular level, energy is being shunted away from certain neurological pathways representing illness and directed towards new ones that improve health. New connections between neurons are forming as neurofeedback participants alter their own brainwaves. The newest phrase for this is called “brain hacking” and it is showing a lot of promise in patient recovery and healing. For those looking for alternative methods than medications, neurofeedback is an important option moving forward.

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