The Brain’s Way of Healing Book Summary - The Brain’s Way of Healing Book explained in key points
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The Brain’s Way of Healing summary

Norman Doidge

Stories of Remarkable Recoveries and Discoveries

4.4 (282 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

'The Brain's Way of Healing' by Norman Doidge presents stories of people who have overcome chronic illnesses by harnessing the brain's ability to change itself. It explains the science behind these exceptional recoveries and offers hope and inspiration to those seeking a cure.

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    The Brain’s Way of Healing
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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Chronic pain is a neurological disease that can be reversed with visualization exercises.

    If you suffer from chronic pain, or know someone who does, then you’re fully aware of how debilitating and frustrating it is. Often, the source of chronic pain is unclear, which makes it difficult to treat, sometimes even leading to a patient’s concerns being dismissed by doctors.

    So, both patients and doctors are faced with the question: Where does chronic pain come from, and how can it be treated?

    Essentially, chronic pain is a neurological disease that causes the body to send unnecessary pain signals to the brain.

    To see how this can happen, let’s look at the case of psychiatrist Michael Moskowitz, who, in 1994, injured his neck in a water-skiing accident. For 13 years after this, he suffered from chronic pain.

    When you sustain an injury, a signal is sent from the nervous system to the brain; this signal alerts you to the fact that some tissue is damaged and in need of attention. We perceive this signal as pain. However, in some cases, like Dr. Moskowitz’s, the nerve cells themselves get damaged, which causes them to continue sending pain signals even after the body has healed.

    This is how chronic pain can last 13 years. But the question still remains: Can it be successfully treated?

    As it turns out, chronic pain can actually be reversed through visualization techniques.

    In trying to treat his own pain, Dr. Moskowitz found books and articles on neuroscience which revealed that the areas of the brain that process pain can also be stimulated by visual information. Equipped with this knowledge, he began working on a technique to replace pain through visualization.

    It worked like this: Whenever he felt a spasm of pain, Moskowitz would visualize a map of his brain and focus on the areas where the number of neurons processing pain increased. He would then visualize these pain neurons being transformed back into regular neurons.

    And, sure enough, it worked! After sticking to this exercise for three weeks, Moskowitz began experiencing some relief. After a year, he was practically pain-free and ready to begin sharing his discovery with other patients.

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    What is The Brain’s Way of Healing about?

    The Brain’s Way of Healing (2015) highlights the human brain’s amazing ability to change its structure and develop new ways of coping with disorders. The brain, whether by being “rewired” to process information in new ways or by being “trained” through repetitive exercises, can overcome debilitating diseases and heal itself.

    The Brain’s Way of Healing Review

    The Brain’s Way of Healing (2015) explores groundbreaking advancements in neuroplasticity and offers hope for those suffering from neurological conditions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It showcases innovative and unconventional healing methods that challenge traditional medical approaches, providing alternative options for patients.
    • The book highlights real-life stories of individuals who have experienced remarkable recoveries, showcasing the power of the brain to heal itself.
    • Backed by scientific research and written in an accessible manner, it demystifies complex neurological concepts, making it engaging and relatable.

    Best quote from The Brain’s Way of Healing

    I wondered, Is it a placebo? But the pain still hasnt come back. - Jan Sandin, patient of Michael Moskowitz

    —Norman Doidge
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    Who should read The Brain’s Way of Healing?

    • People suffering from a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis
    • Physicians and therapists who work with people trying to recover from brain damage
    • Students of neurology looking for new ways to cure old problems

    About the Author

    Norman Doidge is a psychiatrist specializing in neuroscience and the use of alternative methods for stimulating the brain. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, a former resident of Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Brain That Changes Itself.

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    The Brain’s Way of Healing FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Brain’s Way of Healing?

    The main message of The Brain’s Way of Healing is that the brain has the capacity to heal itself, and there are innovative techniques that can help facilitate this healing process.

    How long does it take to read The Brain’s Way of Healing?

    The reading time for The Brain’s Way of Healing varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is The Brain’s Way of Healing a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Brain’s Way of Healing is a valuable read for anyone interested in brain health. It presents groundbreaking research and practical applications that can improve our understanding of the brain's healing capabilities.

    Who is the author of The Brain’s Way of Healing?

    The author of The Brain’s Way of Healing is Norman Doidge.

    What to read after The Brain’s Way of Healing?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Brain’s Way of Healing, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
    • The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean
    • Phantoms in the Brain by V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee
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    • Descartes’ Error by Antonio Damasio
    • Biohack Your Brain by Kristen Willeumier
    • The Disordered Mind by Eric R. Kandel
    • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
    • Deviate by Beau Lotto
    • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz