Monday, March 24, 2008

Re-training the brain - some ideas.

I decided to post my reply to a request for more information about re-training the brain.

At first I was so relieved to discover mirror therapy. I read Ramachandran's writing, came across Dr Lorimer Moseley's research in a google search on CRPS and could see the possibilities. I waited till I had a single sided problem (as against whole body all at once) and began what I thought made sense using a mirror. Since that discovery I've come to the realization that there are many things you can do to retrain the brain and also to enrich the retraining experience. An example of this is that if I'm moving my arm in front of a mirror, I can add to this experience by chewing gum, wearing perfume ( burning inscense), listening to various music (singing), having a fan blow on me (heater) etc. Each added thing changes the brain inputs and is a new experience which builds on the "OK" message.

I've also learned that things which activate the parasympathetic nervous system such as hypnotherapy, meditation, acupuncture, yoga, taichi etc also retrain the brain with this same message. To me the most important thing seems to be to do "normal" movements. Things that distract you and require normal movement (such as the WII game mentioned on the How to Cope with Pain website
http://www.howtocopewithpain.org/blog/?s=wii
How To Cope With Pain Blog
retrain the brain that all's well and in the case of the WII, that "all is more than OK, that these movements are also fun" - a powerful message.
This might be a lesson for physical therapists, "put some fun into therapy".

Please ask if I am able to help you in any way.

I'll soon be posting lots of links to research. Yesterday I created a new link section (top left) where I'll post mirror therapy research etc links).

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