Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Review: The Brain's Way of Healing - Remarkable Discoveries And Recoveries From The Frontiers Of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge

The Brain's Way of Healing - Remarkable Discoveries And Recoveries From The Frontiers Of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge, M.D. 

Publishing Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 432 pages
Health and Well-Being

The Premise: Norman Doidge is the author of the famous New York Times Best Seller Book The Brain That Changes Itself and this new book, tackles the notions that certain damage done to the brain through disease or injury causes certain mental abilities to be lost and instead puts forth natural and noninvasive procedures that demonstrate that the brain can heal through other various avenues such as forms of energy (light, sound, vibration, movement). Doidge draws on cases specifically from real life examples to give examples of specific times that natural healing occurred within the brain. Some chapters of the text include how Neuroplastic healing works in general, brain healing with light, how sound can help the brain and more.

My overall thoughts and review: For my own research as a graduate student, I've become increasingly interested in science regarding the brain in general. My research is mainly in the unconscious and examining brains, but this is a branch I've always wanted to explore further. The difficulty of branching out into a field you aren't familiar with is where to start and most of all, finding a book that is accessible in a language that a common reader can understand. I've seen this book pop up on the chapters website and every time I visited the book store, I saw it on display. I was given the opportunity to review this and I jumped at it because of all the hype surrounding it. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the writing was accessible and the subject matter was not difficult for me to understand. I read a bit of Oliver Sacks in my undergraduate years and Doidge's writing reminds me of his (he even mentions Oliver Sacks in the book, which I was pleasantly surprised about). I found that the way the text was organized with the cases and the "treatment" was split up nicely and from there it branched off into other chapters that were closely related.

Because I work with visual art and visualization can affect our unconscious, the chapter about how visualization decreases brain pain was particularly interesting to me. How visual imagery actually went on to help. Doidge address skeptic's concerns and how could it be seen as a placebo effect but what I really like about Doidge is that he doesn't just ignore it - he acknowledges and shows cases of studies of success. He is not guaranteeing success for everyone that attempts these natural and noninvasive procedures, but he is showing cases of success and hopefully that will encourage individuals to think differently when it comes to brain healing.

This was my first time reading a book like this and it has definitely encouraged me to pick up Doidge's other book to read more. Doidge is an incredibly clear writer when it comes to speaking about neuroplasticity and I think that it is a good introductory text for those interested in this field. Even if you aren't interested in this field, I didn't know I was until the end of the book, so it may work out that way for you as well. If you've ever been a little curious about the brain's way of healing, I definitely recommend you check this book out!

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Penguin Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

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