Neuroplasticity - A Basic Principle of Z-Health

With the release of our new website, I have decided to spend a bit of blogging time outlining some of the scientific principles that form the foundation of the Z-Health Performance system. One such principle is termed "neuroplasticity". Many people have heard this term by now, but it is important to understand what it means, and how it plays a role in our system.

To begin, here's an excellent, simple definition of neuroplasticity from Medicinenet.com:

"Neuroplasticity -The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as "axonal sprouting" in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.

For example, if one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the intact hemisphere may take over some of its functions. The brain compensates for damage in effect by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. In order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity.

Neuroplasticity sometimes may also contribute to impairment. For example, people who are deaf may suffer from a continual ringing in their ears (tinnitus), the result of the rewiring of brain cells starved for sound. For neurons to form beneficial connections, they must be correctly stimulated.

Neuroplasticity is also called brain plasticity or brain malleability."

While this may not sound like such a tremendous insight, the CONCEPT of neuroplasticity is revolutionizing the fields of health, fitness, and high performance training. For many years, the brain and nervous system were considered "fixed". However, modern technology has revealed that not only is the nervous system NOT fixed, it is incredibly plastic and built to change and adapt at high speed - when the correct training methods are applied.

To learn more about neuroplasticity, we strongly recommend the book, "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, MD. It's an excellent and thorough introduction to this amazing topic.

More to come!

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