Neuroplasticity and Alexander Technique

by in Posture, Flexibility & Body Mapping April 16, 2019

Neuroplasticity: what is it?  How does it affect your Posture. What about diseases like Parkinsons?

Three years ago I fell and broke my wrist; I also suffered a partial rotor cuff tear in my shoulder.  During this time I became engrossed in studying all I could find about how this condition would affect me overall and particularly the brain, the Neuroplasticity which governs body changes.  What goes on in the body is two-way with the brain.  Body muscle mirrors brain ‘muscle’.

A trauma e.g. injury, or a disease e.g. Parkinsons results in damage to the dopamine-producing cells in the brain that help us make routine (habitual) movements. This damage leads to difficulties with movement, balance and walking etc.

Dr Norman Doidge gave neuroplasticity a boost with his bestseller ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’.  “Think of people with traumatic brain injury,” he says. “There are certain things they can’t do anymore, and that’s because circuits are dormant, but there are other circuits that seem to be hyperactive.  They are very, very sensitive to sounds and light and so on: that all has to be re-balanced. Then the brain goes through a period of rest and then it goes through learning.”

During my painful ‘downtime’, my whole limb immobilised to elbow; an unusual hyper-pain syndrome (CRPS) flaring, I made some interesting self-discoveries.   Although somewhat collapsed (in a not so good Alexander fashion) I was very active on my computer.

Formerly it was believed that the brain after childhood is set to remain fixed and unchangeable.  Trauma can further fix the brain.  However, new discoveries have proved after a catastrophic injury disabling a limb from moving, with tremendous effort and training the individual can turn this result around and be able to the movement again after a period of time.

This I noticed so clearly when due to my own enforced inactivity, my arm slowly started ‘freezing’.  After six months it was alarming to realize that I had developed a ‘frozen shoulder’.  The effect on the brain is a slowing down and gradual numbness.

I have also noticed this phenomenon in Parkinsons.

Warrick, who had been diagnosed with Parkinsons, came to me so we could explore how Alexander could benefit his daily activities. Both Warrick and I were fascinated as to how the mind when given better signals can change the result that is experienced in the body.

With regard to my own injuries, with a wonderful physiotherapist’s support and my own Alexander knowledge, I regained full use and function.

Next week I will explain the mechanisms that make our brains as powerful and why we need tools to have more control of circumstances that affect us.

Do you want to know more, contact me here