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  • In the first year of a child’s life, her brain produces more than a million neural connections each second!

    Brain Gym®

    The baby lying in her crib coos, moves her arms and legs in an apparent random fashion and turns her head to follow the movements of the mobile hanging overhead. Although she seems to be doing little of importance, she is already hard at work, setting the ground for the brain connections that will later allow her to play the saxophone in a jazz band, hit a home run or solve intricate algebra problems. In the first year of a child’s life, her brain produces more than a million neural connections each second!

    What will determine her ability to carry out any one of these complex tasks and what prevents her from doing so right now, are specific neurological connections. Key to establishing those connections is movement, few of which are in place at birth. As a child goes through basic developmental stages, from creeping to crawling to standing to walking and running, new connections are established. In some instances, a child does not complete a particular developmental stage. In other instances, stress—whether biochemical, emotional, or physical—causes those neurological connections to shut down.

    Many people believe that memory, hearing and vision loss, as well as cognitive decline are some of the natural consequences of aging. It was commonly thought that brain cells died with aging. Not true! Recent research shows there is no loss of neurons with aging.  In fact, a Columbia University study found older people continue to produce neurons in the hippocampus – a part of the brain important for memory, emotion and cognition – at a similar rate to young people. Both young and old brains produce thousands of new neurons, but neurons might be less able to form connections in old brains. 

    The capacity to create new or activate underused neurological pathways is one that we have all our lives. Brain Gym®, simple, enjoyable movements to enhance brain function, offers an easy way to keep your brain young and healthy, regardless of your age. Initially developed for children with learning disabilities, Brain Gym activities help us move away from the survival centers in the brain into the neocortex for improved critical thinking and focused attention.

    Created as a result of years of research by Dr. Paul Dennison, Ph.D., Brain Gym® is a brilliant synthesis of applied kinesiology, left/right brain research, acupressure, developmental optometry and neurolinguistics. Since 1990 Brain Gym® has been selected annually by the U.S. Presidential Task Force on Learning as one of today’s leading technologies for education.

    Three Dimensions of Brain Organization

    The Brain Gym® program addresses three dimensions of intelligence relating to the whole brain/body system. 

    First is the focus dimension, addressing the connections between the brain stem and the frontal lobes. When in balance for focus, we experience a sense of safety, understand the task at hand, and achieve better postural alignment. The result is a greater sense of safety and increased desire to participate through the expressive skills of speaking and writing.

    Second is the centering dimension, referring to integration of the neocortex with the limbic system. This is also known as the mind/heart connection. When in balance, we can more readily temper our emotions with reasoning, get organized, and integrate new information with existing knowledge.

    Lastly, the laterality dimension relates to the neurological connections between the right hemisphere and left hemisphere. When working together, vision and hearing are enhanced, we can express ourselves with ease, movements are coordinated and graceful, and skills such as reading and writing become easier. In addition, artistic expression is greatly enhanced.

    Benefits
    Integration of laterality, centering, and focus leads to whole brain learning. Through the techniques and skills taught in the Brain Gym® program there is an increase in self-awareness, self-esteem, and improvement in our vision, reading, listening, memory, concentration, and over-all body coordination.

    The practice of Brain Gym® movements can result in reduced stress, better overall sense of well-being, improved concentration, and focus. In addition, there are specific movements to improve vision, hearing, memory, and all academic skills as well as overall body coordination. The Brain Gym® program has been used successfully in schools, in the workplace, with groups and in private sessions.

    Brain Gym® is easy to learn, takes only a few minutes to practice, and is simple to do. The results are usually immediate.

Read the latest blog posts and newsletter articles from Joan Agosta on leaning, development, Brain Gym and MNRI