Neuroplasticity: Train Your Brain, Change Your Life

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As creatures of habit, we begin to develop certain neurological connections and pathways that we believe exist as parts of ourselves; we label them our personality, our traits, our virtues and flaws. But the more we identify with them, the more we strengthen the neurological connections and pulses, justifying them through our reactions, triggers and what we deem is right or wrong. These strengthened connections and identifications can limit the control we have over our state of mind and can even lead to deterioration of our mental health. For a long time, we believed that we required medicine to chemically influence the brain in order to rewire itself. But in the past few decades, research has shown findings that neuroplasticity is able to achieve the same if not more through far less invasive methods.

“Most people think that their brain is in charge of them. We say we are in charge of our brain.” – Deepak Chopra.

Many people feel like they are controlled by their brain. Moreover, they believe they are a prisoner to their genetics, addictions, and pain. This creates a belief that they have very little influence over how their brain develops and responds to their environment. For a long time, people believed that our brain was only able to change and develop during childhood. Once you became an adult it was thought that your brain was not able to develop much further, but findings on brain functions and activity over the last couple of decades had revealed the complete opposite. Neuroplasticity simplified is the brain’s ability to adapt.
Research on neuroplasticity shows that there are neurons as well as neural networks in our brain. This allows our brain to change their connections and behavior in response to the environment, stress, damage, information, or any external stimuli.

What is neuroplasticity and how does it work?

There are several different types of neuroplasticity which refer to when and where they occur in the brain. As described by neuroplasticity experts Christopher A. Shaw and Jill C. McEachern:

“While many neuroscientists use the word neuroplasticity as an umbrella term, it means different things to researchers in different subfields… In brief, a mutually agreed upon framework does not appear to exist”

Neuroplasticity roughly falls into two categories in the way it is observed; as the ability of the brain to restructure itself, resulting in new behavioral responses; or as a broader term of brain changes and adaptations.

Besides the practicality of obtaining new skills, neuroplasticity can greatly improve our life and wellbeing. By disrupting old brain patterns and introducing and strengthening new ones, it can contribute to improving memory, adapting to stress, alleviating mental health symptoms and even recovering from brain trauma and injuries. Since our brains are ‘plastic,’ they can adapt to the new change by creating and repairing neurons. It occurs in regions of the brain like the olfactory bulb, the hippocampus, and the cerebellum.

Other benefits of neuroplasticity include:

1. Improving a sense (if sight is lost, hearing might improve)

2. Improving memory, recount, and pattern detection

3. Accelerating learning

4. Enhanced cognitive abilities

5. More effective learning

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How can someone increase neuroplasticity of the brain?

Activities that increase the grey matter are thought to be powerful for rewiring your brain. This is because grey matter is in the center of language, memory, feelings, motor skills, and attention.

Activities that can boost grey matter include learning a new language, skill, traveling, and dancing. But it’s not just limited to performing new activities. Even simple everyday activities like cleaning, exercising, gardening, and walking your dog can increase grey matter.

In fact, exercising is one of the simplest ways to ‘amplify’ neuroplasticity. Physical exercise can also delay Alzheimer’s Disease, which is thought to become more prevalent in the coming decades as we approach an aging population.

Yoga is another way to rewire your brain. A study found that people who participated in a 3-month yoga retreat had a better ability for their brain to reorganize and form new networks. In addition, another study showed that the more you practice yoga, the faster you’ll learn and improve your memory skills. It is the case because yoga has a link with a larger hippocampus volume.

How can PEMF affect our brain?

Neuroplasticity therefore evokes different neurological connections and by doing so weakens the older ones responsible for worsening our mental and physical health symptoms and conditions. Another way to achieve this is through repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, the results of which were published in another study that suggested it “acts via neuroplastic effects on the brain, which can be measured by changes in hippocampal and amygdala volume as well as cortical thickness.”

NeoRhythm uses repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in the form of PEMF – Pulsating Electromagnetic Fields therapy, which emits frequencies to which our brain is able to adapt to naturally. By stimulating our brain with frequencies different from the ones we are used to emitting – either as a consequence of stressful environments or situations or just our daily routine, we are able to provide a different environment for our brain to thrive in; disrupting old patterns and introducing new ones. This is also called brainwave entrainment and is able to significantly improve our daily life, motivation levels and shift the perspective about our capabilities and constraints.

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How to better our mental health?

Anxiety and Depression are both overlooked conditions that many suffer from. Moreover, some even choose to silently suffer. However, the wonders of neuroplasticity may present an unconventional ‘remedy.’

Depression often occurs with negative thought patterns. Consequently, it may result from interrupted and ‘incorrect’ neuroplasticity processes. By reacting to the same triggers, those connections become strengthened and others weakened, resulting in a negative but strong mind pattern. We become victims of our own neurons.

There are numerous books, applications and studies on neuroplasticity. The discovery that the brain is not fixed but instead is able to evolve with us has changed the way we understand it. In other words, this provides us with unlimited information on what we can, should or would like to do. This can free us from the idea that we are prisoners of our conditions or diagnosis.

However, not every damaged brain is able to achieve an entirely full recovery. The success of neuroplasticity depends on many variables like how severe the damage is, age, current treatment, and more. Some do argue that with the effect of placebo, neuroplasticity is able to overcome even genetic and chronic conditions, but the research on it isn’t significant enough to provide tangible evidence.

Above all, studies are only proving how little we know about our brains and how powerful they are. We really do possess something miraculous.

References

  • Albert, P.R. (2019). Adult neuroplasticity: A new “cure” for major depression? Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, [online] 44(3), pp.147–150.. Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • Askenasy, J. and Lehmann, J. (2013). Consciousness, brain, neuroplasticity. Frontiers in psychology, [online] 4, p.412. Available at: LINK  [Accessed 16 Dec. 2020].

  • B. Rael Cahn, Goodman S. Matthew (2017). Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression after a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat, [online] Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • João Medeiros (2014). How to “game your brain”: the benefits of neuroplasticity. [online] WIRED UK. Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • Lin, T.-W., Tsai, S.-F. and Kuo, Y.-M. (2018). Physical Exercise Enhances Neuroplasticity and Delays Alzheimer’s Disease. Brain Plasticity, [online] 4(1), pp.95–110. Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • Mateos-Aparicio, P. and Rodríguez-Moreno, A. (2019). The Impact of Studying Brain Plasticity. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, [online] 13. . Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • Neuroplasticity | Different Types, Facts, & Research | Britannica. (2020). In: Encyclopaedia Britannica. [online] Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • PositivePsychology.com. (2018). What is Neuroplasticity? A Psychologist Explains [+14 Exercises]. [online] Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • ScienceDaily. (2018). Everyday activities associated with more grey matter in brains of older adults: Study measured amount of lifestyle physical activity such as housework, dog walking, and gardening. [online] Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • Vetter, A. (2017). 3 Must-Try Exercises That Improve Brain Power, According to Science. [online] Inc.com. Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

  • Villemure, Chantal. (2015). Neuroprotective effects of yoga practice: age-, experience-, and frequency-dependent plasticity. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.com. Available at: LINK [Accessed 16 Dec.2020]

Disclaimer

NeoRhythm is registered as a general wellness device, but it is compliant with the EU Medical Device Regulation: Regulation (EU) 2017/745, Annex XVI, which sets the safety and performance requirements for devices of both medical and non-medical purposes.

In the US NeoRhythm is positioned as a general wellness device compliant with FDA regulation (General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices: 2019-09-17)NeoRhythm has not been evaluated by the FDA. These products do not claim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition. Always consult your medical doctor regarding any health concerns.

 
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