How can Brain Gym® nourish your soul?
Brain Gym® “integrates the whole brain, senses and body”, with the aim of priming a person for academic excellence and mental clarity. It involves a series of 26 movements that mimic actions learnt in the first few years of life, two re-patterning techniques and a goal setting process for optimal learning and living.
Brain Gym® incorporates balance, coordination and postural skills to connect the left and right brain hemispheres. This is the basis of Educational Kinesiology which promotes learning through natural movement. The exercises draw from a variety of disciplines, including Psychology, the Feldenkrais Method®, visual development and Neurophysiology.
Developed in the 1970s by educator Paul Dennison PhD and his partner Gail Dennison, Brain Gym® originated to help people with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Dennisons designed exercises to “fill in the gaps” of motor skills that may have been skipped, such as infants who skip the crawling phase. Today, the principles can be applied to enhance learning and abilities in anyone.
Accredited Brain Gym® instructors in Australia are licensed through Brain Gym® Australia Inc. and are entitled to use the registered trademark. They are required to complete annual continuing professional development to maintain professional membership. The worldwide organisation for Brain Gym® Instructor training and licensing is BreakThroughs International.
Benefits of Brain Gym®
Brain Gym® has been used in schools, corporations, elder facilities and athletic training programs for personal and professional growth.
By boosting brain function, this modality may enhance cognitive skills, with teachers advising of improvements in the attention, behaviour, discipline, reading, writing and homework performance of their students, as well a perceived decrease in exam pressure.
It is also reported to increase communication, confidence, language development, stress management and productivity. Brain Gym® exercises also provide physical benefits including better balance, coordination and posture.
Studies support many of these claims, with 2017 research involving Grade 1 students concluding that Brain Gym® promoted neatness, legibility, writing on the lines as well as spacing between letters and words. The exercises were also noted to enhance cheerfulness, excitement and relaxation among students.
One study found that students vastly increased their conceptual understanding of physics, and another reported improved learning outcomes when utilising algebraic finger-based Brain Gym® methods. Studies involving children between 3 to 6 years old observed that Brain Gym® improved motor skills and enhanced memory, while the Cross Crawl exercise specifically was found to be effective in reducing temper tantrums.
In a study involving the elderly, Brain Gym® significantly increased levels of a protein in the brain which plays an important role in the learning process and memory functions.
Brain Gym® can assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Anxiety and stress
- Behavioural problems
- Personal development
- Stress management
What to expect from a Brain Gym® session
Brain Gym® was designed to be an integral part of a holistic treatment plan, so progress may be slow and requires commitment. Sessions can take place face-to-face or online, with both group workshops and private consultations available. Brain Gym® is meant to be tailored to the participants and the context. For example, there are single workshops or longer courses for groups such as school children. A private session lasts one to two hours and allows the facilitator to focus on specific issues and goals.
Due to its flexibility, exercises and session times can be adjusted to a child’s needs and is recommended to be “completed at the child’s pace and for as long as the child needs to ensure the exercise is effective.” Activities such as the 26 movements, five step goal setting process and two re-patterning techniques are standard.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing Brain Gym®. If you have any concerns at all, also speak to your Brain Gym® instructor, who will be happy to address these and evaluate whether Brain Gym® is a suitable treatment for you.