• Rajesh Khemraj

Neuroscience: History repeating itself

Neuroscience seems to be such a new science and thought. There is more information everyday validating the use of the brain and the ability of the brain to be neuroplastic. Neuroplastic is the understanding that the brain is not hardwired as we have thought in the past. We once took the stance once you lost a part of your brain there was never going to be the chance to regain function that was affected. You had to learn how to live without those certain functions. Therapy basically consists of teaching you how to live with those limitations. Now with the new understanding of the brain, there are so many more possibilities. We now know that the brain can be retrained to relearn functions that were lost when there was damage to the brain.

The problem with science is it is not always accepted when it is presented at the time. Usually, new thought conflicts with old thought. There has to be a right and a wrong. If the current scientists agree with a new thought, that means they are willing to say that their old thought was wrong. Most egos will prevent this important step to allow the progression of science in a real-time manner.

In the book, The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidges explains that Feldenkrais was an outlier when it came to science. He was brilliant and was just following his interests rather than trying to develop a name for himself in science. He started as a nuclear scientist in the late 30’s and 40’s. He worked with scientists that won a Nobel prize for developing artificial elements. He also worked with developing the technique of splitting atoms, such progressive work that even Einstein was drawn to warn the United States about the threat of a nuclear war. Feldenkrais was quickly captured during the war primarily due to his name but later was more due to his counterintelligence. He helped develop the nuclear bomb.

During this time when he was under a lot of stress, Feldenkrais would have significant pain in his knee. It was very limiting and painful. He would have many limiting flare-ups through the war. It was one day when he injured the other knee he realized that there was something different. His chronic pain went away. At that point, he became interested in the power of the mind to manage function and pain. He developed complex and advanced thoughts about the brain and how it functions that we are finally able to demonstrate now with brain scans. He was able to relate to the brain and function of patients in a way to sculpt it to start functioning again. He was able to do this with the understanding of the importance of slow, mindful, movement to reprogram bad movement patterns.

I did not hear much about Feldenkrais in school, he was an outlier. It has taken advancements in brain scans to allow us to start accepting his thoughts and theories. Feldenkrais was brilliant, to say the least, but he also cared. He was curious and could relate to the brain like no other in his time.

About the author,

Rajesh is a Physical Therapist, who is passionate about health and wellness. He is interested in all aspects of general well being including fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness. He continues to learn and grow from the profession he loves.

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