“The Brain That Changes Itself” and the sequel, “The Brain’s Way of Healing” By Norman Doidge.
Two of the most riveting books I have ever read on the human brain.
In the first ground breaking work “The Brain That Changes Itself,” Norman Doidge introduces readers to neuroplasticity—that is the brain’s ability to change its structure and function in response to new activity and mental experience. This book documents studies that indicate the brain was perceived as a glorious machine, with parts that performed a single mental function, in a single location in the brain. If a location was damaged—by a stroke, injury or disease it could not be fixed because machines cannot repair themselves or grow new parts. The machine metaphor led to the belief that the brain was comparable to a computer with “hardware” and as a machine wears out: you use it and lose it.
Doidge heralds the neuroplasticians or scientists who demonstrate the brain is plastic and refute the doctrine of the unchanging brain. He refers to many studies that indicate the brain changes as it works and mental activity is not only the product of the brain but also the shaper of it. ( Norman Doidge “The Brain’s Way of Healing” p. XIV Preface).
The sequel, “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” documents amazing advances of a second generation of neuroplasticians who devote themselves to understanding and using plasticity’s extraordinary power. This book shows that this highly sophisticated organ involves brain cells being able to constantly communicate with one another, to form and re-form new connections, moment by moment and is the source of a unique kind of healing. Most of the interventions in the book make use of energy—including light, sound, vibration, electricity and motion. He indicates how it is possible to use these different forms of energy to modify the patterns of the brain’s electrical signals and then its structure. (Ibid., p. XVI).
Thanks to a friend, who gave me a copy of both books, I was introduced to the healing power of light/laser on the brain and through the direction and encouragement of a local physician (doing laser research) we were able to harness this healing power to benefit my husband who is struggling with Parkinson’s disease.