••• The International Writers Magazine: Review
The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge
Format Paperback | 448 pages
Publication date 28 Jan 2016
Publisher Penguin Books Ltd
Stevellie Wheeler review
Halfway through the writing of this book, Norman Doidge’s publisher, James A. Silberman, had a significant stroke that affected both his left arm and leg. He was told by his neurologist not to hope for much recovery. Using all of the brain plasticity techniques described in this book, he recovered fully and finished editing . He, his wife and Dr Doidge, while regretting the experience he had to go through, agree that he came out of it better than ever.
Norman Doidge, the author of The Brain That Changes Itself, has written another book cataloguing some of the truly miraculous results of treatments using the brain’s inherent healing power and different kinds of energy. In his first book he took the time and effort to demonstrate the validity of brain plasticity and in this book he recounts some of the experiences he encountered on his round-the-world travels to see for himself the results of treatments by the second generation of practitioners which he calls, “neuroplasticians”.
The book has eight chapters and is easily readable, something which can’t be said about all books which explain medical and scientific concepts to lay audiences. It contains 3 appendices, a section of acknowledgements, interesting notes and references to each chapter and an index.
In Chapter One, Michael Moskowitz, MD, a psychiatrist turned pain specialist, demonstrates, after trying it on himself, that chronic pain can be overcome by visualization and brain plasticity exercises with or without surgery and medication.
In Chapter Two, Dr Doidge describes his encounter with John Pepper, a man in South Africa who was ignored and even mocked by “experts” in the field of neurodegenerative disorders, who had, by walking for many years, actually overcome his Parkinson’s symptoms and finished with his medication. Here Doidge states, “If there’s a panacea in medicine, it’s walking.”
Chapter Three describes Doidge’s own concept of neuroplastic healing: Neurostimulation, Neuromodulation, Neurorelaxation and Neurodifferentiation and Learning as well as the Constraint Induced Therapy originated by Edward Taub.
Chapter Four describes the brain’s use of light to heal, including the description of a man’s recovery of sight and hearing through the use of treatment with lasers. He describes many instances of healing using low intensity lasers and light in this chapter.
Chapter Five is an account of the extraordinary life of Moshe Feldenkrais who escaped the Nazis in Paris after starting the first judo club in France, worked on sonar in WW2 and ended up in Israel where he helped heal many with seemingly hopeless brain injuries and diseases including a girl born with a part of her brain missing who went on to gain two graduate degrees.
Chapter Six is a detailed account of the seemingly hopeless case of David Webber who went completely blind at the age of forty-three, lost his job and marriage and eventually regained his sight through treatments using a combination of Eastern meditation, Feldenkrais’s method and William Bates’s neuroplastic exercises.
Chapter Seven contains a description of the PONS device which is an invention which a person fits onto their tongue in order to send mild electrical current to different areas of the brain. On Dr. Doidge’s website (normandoidge.com) it is stated that the device itself is presently being used by the US military to treat traumatic brain injuries. Positive results were achieved using this device in treating Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s Disease and many other brain problems.
The final chapter, Chapter 8, is a description of the various uses of music and sound in treatments. It is a fascinating catalogue of positive results as are all of the treatments described in the book.
Light, exercise, music, the tongue, an organ situated close to the brain and brain stem, four thousand years of Eastern meditation and medical practice, are all available solutions to the many brain problems humans encounter. Brain plasticity, as explained by Dr Doidge, gives us an entry into the world of miraculous healing.
I would recommend reading The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge to anyone who is looking for answers in the field of neuroplasticity and anyone who is curious about the mysteries of the human brain. The insights gained through these books give us great hope for the future.
© Stevellie Wheeler May 2016