When we think of how we move, we often think of our muscles and our bones. But there is a whole other part of our body that’s involved: our brains.
A recent research study that focused on core stabilization improvement examined how different parts of our brain are activated through the use of specific types of exercises. The study showed that different types of exercises activated different parts of the brain.
The technique that Dr. Sergent uses in his practice, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, focuses on movements that we first learn as babies and toddlers as we discover how to move our bodies, which means that they are different than the types of exercises typically prescribed by a medical professional.
Dr. Sergent is trained the Prague School of Rehabilitation, which emphasizes the connection between neuromuscular development and the motor control you have in a fully developed body. If you’re having a problem, Dr. Sergent will look to restore and retrain your body in the proper method of moving. It’s not something new to your body – it’s what you learned as a baby.
ypically, when prescribed an exercise to stretch or strengthen a muscle, for example, the cortex of your brain is activated as part of the process. A traditional approach may, for example, have you do heel raises off a stair to strengthen a calf muscle. This requires a conscious effort on your part to isolate the muscle. It makes sense that this type of movement would engage your cortex, which is where your brain does its higher-level thinking. The DNS approach would use a crawling pattern to get the same effect, but in a more familiar stable pattern for the brain to retain the patterning.
The DNS exercises that Dr. Sergent prescribes (in addition to other stretches like the one described above) are much more “primal” in nature, which means they also activate a different part of your brain known as the subcortex. From an evolutionary standpoint, the subcortex is a much “older” part of the brain. This recent study affirms the approach of the Prague School of Rehab.
This part of the brain is where our bodies regulate complex motor and non-motor processes in our bodies. We don’t have to think about these things for our brain to make them happen; this is where we process emotions, control our electrolyte balance, our basic motor skills and where our vision and hearing ability is centered. While you may have to think about how you are doing a DNS exercise, you are not actively engaged in ensuring that muscle A and muscle B and muscle C are doing their jobs.
Is there a benefit to engaging multiple parts of the brain as part of the therapeutic process? Indeed there is. The more resources to draw upon – the conscious effort of our higher-level brains as well as the subconscious work our bodies do as we move – the greater the outcome for successful healing.