Brain Awareness Week - Thinking outside the box
Exploring unconventional research on this powerful organ
Author: Dr. William Robinson, DC
Brain Awareness Week is celebrated from March 16 to 22, 2020 across Canada. In Ottawa, from March 9th to 13th, volunteers from the Society for Neuroscience tour local schools, teaching brain facts from grades 3 to 12. You can learn more about this great program here.
Given I work so closely with the brain, I wanted to learn more as well (You may be wondering...chiropractors work with the brain? I work with the whole body, but especially the spine. The spine protects and houses the spinal cord which is the main pathway of information that is the connection between the brain and the body).
While the Ottawa Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience has featured really great topics on the five senses, neuronutrition, learning and memory, sleep and dreaming, and the effects on the brain from video games and stress, I wanted to explore approaches that may seem unconventional to some.
This man is pretty incredible. He has defied science and baffled many researchers. Wim Hof, also known as The Ice Man, has caused such a stir in the science community since 2007 that several studies have been and continue to be conducted all over the world on his method with astonishing results.
His accomplishments include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes - he holds 21 Guinness World Records.
So why did he start all of this? His wife committed suicide, and was left with grief while also taking care of his four young children. "Sadness is a deep trigger," he told VICE in a documentary. "Where I [got] peace was in these breathing exercises, swimming outside in the cold." He then discovered the beneficial effects to his body this peace provided.
Here is the Wim Hof Method in a nutshell https://www.wimhofmethod.com/practice-the-method:
Proper cold therapy - Fat loss, reduced inflammation, fortified immune system, balanced hormone levels, improved sleep quality, and the production of the body’s feel good chemicals - endorphins.
Specific breathing techniques - Increase in energy, reducing stress levels, and augmenting the immune response to deal with pathogens quickly.
Commitment - Consistently doing Wim Hof Method proper cold therapy and breathing techniques requires patience and dedication to eventually master your own body and mind.
This method can help in several areas concerning the brain: improve mental health and mental clarity, migraine relief and increase mind-body connection. It also boosts immunity, increases athletic performance, relieves stress, increases energy, and results in better sleep, to name a few.
Dr. Joe Dispenza
This chiropractor has a pretty amazing story, overcoming a serious spine injury from a triathlon accident. This fueled his exploration into neuroscience, epigenetics, and quantum physics to understand the science behind spontaneous remissions. He has written several New York Times best selling books, is a lecturer and educator, both personal and corporate, in over 33 countries.
His work focuses on our ability to rewire our brains and recondition our bodies to make lasting positive changes. One of the biggest factors in his work is the power behind our thoughts and how that affects our bodies. I found this video to be a fantastic example of his work and highly recommend that you check it out.
If it’s something you’re interested in, Dr. Joe Dispenza will actually be in Ottawa in early June 2020 at this conference.
Dr. Deepak Chopra
Many of you may not have heard of Wim Hof or Dr. Joe Dispenza, but I gather a majority of you have heard of this pioneer in mindfulness and the brain-heart connection. His epic book, Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine, was released 25 years ago and changed our view behind the power of our hearts and minds. He recently released an updated version with the latest scientific research and his thoughts on the connection between body and mind.
One area of his book that stands out for me, and that was also featured in the New Yorker on October 17, 2019:
“Research on spontaneous cures of cancer conducted in both the United States and Japan has shown that just before the cure appears, almost every patient experiences a dramatic shift in awareness. He knows that he will be healed and he feels that the force responsible is inside himself, but not limited to him. It extends beyond his personal boundaries throughout all of nature. Suddenly he feels, ‘I am not limited to my body. All that exists around me is part of myself.’ At that moment, such patients apparently jumped to a new level of consciousness that prohibits the existence of cancer. Then the cancer cells either disappear, literally overnight in some cases, or at the very least stabilize without damaging the body any further.”
This is a pretty powerful statement that leaves me scratching my head wondering how much more there is to learn about the brain and its connection to the body and our emotions. If this is the result of the mind/body connection with cancer, we can assume it could have this beneficial effect with other diseases and diagnosis.
It’s piqued my interest to look further into the research, and I’m hoping it has given you something to explore in your journey to wellness.