10 Impressive Facts You Should Know About Brain Retraining Programs

By

Des

Published on

December 6, 2023

Updated on

December 6, 2023

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Magill (In Review)

Brain retraining

What is neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to experience. This means that the brain is constantly reorganizing itself in response to what we do, think, and feel. This reorganization plays a role in everything from our ability to learn new skills to our ability to recover from injuries and chronic illnesses. It also influences our moods and emotions, as well as our fight-or-flight response[1]. This is because the limbic system constantly receives input from the environment and adjusts in response. For example, if we experience a traumatic event, the limbic system will change the structure of neurons in order to help us better deal with similar future stressors which can make us more prone to anxiety and depression[2]. This is why people who have experienced trauma often have a heightened sense of danger and are more prone to anxiety and depression.

For example, when we learn how to ride a bike, our brains create new neural pathways in the nervous system between the neurons that control our muscles. The more we practice, the stronger these pathways become, and eventually, they become automatic. This is why it is easier to ride a bike than it is to learn how to ride a bike.

What happens if there is limbic system impairment?

Limbic system impairment can influence many brain functions, which can have significant consequences. Any form of dysfunction, that stems from genes, physical or emotional trauma, health issues, toxicity, or inflammation can cause a number of symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • PTSD-like symptoms
  • Intense reactions to mild stimuli (sounds, lights, aromas, touch, anxiety, etc.)
  • Chronic pain and fibromyalgia
  • A range of digestive issues
  • Low energy, or chronic fatigue
  • Fear, anxiety, and anxiety disorders
  • Decreased motivation or depression
  • Brain fog
  • Disorders such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Shifts in behavior (such as increased anger or mood changes)
  • Substance misuse or dependency
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Disorders involving the nervous system (post-stroke symptoms, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, etc.)

How does neuroplasticity work?

While programs vary in how brain training is carried out generally they provide individuals with specific techniques and a step-by-step system for gradually shifting the limbic systems’ maladaptive responses into ones that are more beneficial for overall health & wellness. These programs are either guided by a health professional or are completely self paced, both ranging between several weeks to several months in duration.

What are some of the wellness benefits of brain retraining programs?

Some of the benefits of brain retraining programs include improved cognitive abilities, improved memory, improved focus, and improved creativity. They can also potentially help people with chronic illnesses manage their condition better[3]. Due to the increase in scientific support, potential health benefits and the low risk, neuroplasticity is quickly becoming a viable option for those suffering from chronic health conditions. There are numerous organizations offering brain retraining programs around the world. There is also a wide range of formats, such as webinars, virtual courses, textbooks, and in-person coaching!

Who should consider enrolling in a brain rewiring program?

Brain retraining or ‘brain rewiring’ programs can be beneficial for anyone looking to improve their cognitive abilities. This includes people with chronic illnesses, people who are looking to break bad habits, and people who want to unlock their creative potential. Furthermore, brain rewiring programs are being used more and more, and even prescribed by doctors to people struggling with a wide range of chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), chronic pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome. People with chronic pain can learn to better manage their pain[4]. People with chronic fatigue syndrome can learn to better manage their energy, and even those suffering from food sensitivities may benefit from exploring how to retrain their brain starting with the limbic system. If your condition is related to overactivity of the limbic system and are looking to improve your mental and physical health, brain retraining programs may be right for you.

What are some tips for sticking with a program?

  • Set realistic goals for yourself and strive to meet them.
  • Persevere through difficult times – it’s normal to feel frustrated sometimes.
  • Use a journal to track your progress and celebrate your accomplishments.
  • Take breaks when needed, but try not to take too many breaks or you may lose momentum.
  • Enlist the help of friends and family members to support you in your journey.
  • Understand that the road to wellness and the healing process takes time, be patient with yourself!

Can you continue to use a neuroplasticity program even after you have reached your goals?

Most people find that they can continue to use a brain training program even after they have achieved their goals. In fact, many people find that they need to continue using the program in order to maintain their improved cognitive function. There are a few things you can do to make sure you stick with your brain training program. Set realistic goals for yourself and don’t try to do too much too soon. Find a friend or family member who can also participate in the program and help keep you accountable. Reward yourself for completing tasks or reaching milestones. Keep an open mind and be patient – changes will not happen overnight but your wellness is worth it!

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10 impressive facts about brain retraining programs

  1. Our latest estimates show that over 100 thousand individuals have used a brain retraining program for help with a chronic condition.
  2. More and more medical doctors are becoming aware of the benefits of neuroplasticity programs as shown by the increase of doctor referrals.
  3. Thousands of people per month search google for brain retraining and brain retraining programs.
  4. Those who participated in retraining programs showed a 30% increase in dentate gyrus size (the first region where senses merge to form memories)[5].
  5. Brain retraining programs have been shown to be as effective as medication for reducing chronic pain
  6. The benefits of associated with using a brain retraining program have been shown to last longer after use, than those of medication when its use was stopped[6].
  7. Chronic stress can decrease or even restrict the process by which new neurons are created in the brain (neurogenesis)[7].
  8. There is recent evidence that biofeedback and meditation can successfully train individuals to self-regulate physiological stress responses[8].
  9. Neuroplasticity takes place in the brain under two main conditions:
  10. During normal childhood brain development when the young brain first begins to handle sensory information through adulthood.
  11. As an adaptive process to make up for any lost function and maximize the remaining neural pathways  in the event of brain injury or illness.
  12. The environment plays a crucial role in influencing plasticity.
  13. Aside from genetics the brain’s function and development is influenced by components of a person’s environment and by the actions of the individual..

References

  1. Begley, S. (2007, January 19). The Brain: How The Brain Rewires Itself. TIME.com. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1580438,00.html
  2. McEwen, B. S., & Gianaros, P. J. (2010). Central role of the brain in stress and adaptation: links to socioeconomic status, health, and disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1186, 190–222.
  3. Call, M. (2019, August 8). Neuroplasticity: How to Use Your Brains Malleability to Improve Your Well-being. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://accelerate.uofuhealth.utah.edu/resilience/neuroplasticity-how-to-use-your-brain-s-malleability-to-improve-your-well-being
  4. Gordon, A., & Ashar, Y. K. (2022, July 21). How the Brain Causes Chronic Pain & How to Stop It. Accessible from: https://www.healthcentral.com/pain-management/how-the-brain-causes-chronic-pain
  5. Deng, W., Aimone, J. B., & Gage, F. H. (2010, May 11). New neurons and new memories: how does adult hippocampal neurogenesis affect learning and memory?. Accessible from: Https://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886712/
  6. Rebok, G. W., Ball, K., Guey, L. T., Jones, R. N., Kim, H. Y., King, J. W., Marsiske, M., Morris, J. N., Tennstedt, S. L., Unverzagt, F. W., Willis, S. L., & ACTIVE Study Group (2014). Ten-year effects of the advanced cognitive training for independent and vital elderly cognitive training trial on cognition and everyday functioning in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62(1), 16–24.
  7. Lucassen, P. J., Oomen, C. A., Naninck, E. F., Fitzsimons, C. P., van Dam, A. M., Czeh, B., & Korosi, A. (2015). Regulation of Adult Neurogenesis and Plasticity by (Early) Stress, Glucocorticoids, and Inflammation. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology, 7(9), a021303.
  8. Weerdmeester, J., van Rooij, M. M., Engels, R. C., & Granic, I. (2020). An Integrative Model for the Effectiveness of Biofeedback Interventions for Anxiety Regulation: Viewpoint. Journal of medical Internet research, 22(7), e14958.


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Des