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This may sound a bit strange at first, but if you think about it for a moment, the truth of this statement begins to become more and more apparent. Without movement you could not sustain life: blood cells that don’t move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don’t move can’t breath, hearts that don’t move can’t pump blood, and spines that don’t move can’t create the motion required for proper joint nutrition, for the activities of daily living, or for the stimulation of the joint-brain pathways required for proper brain and body function.
You heard correctly, movement (especially of the spine) is required for proper brain function for the coordination of activities such as concentration and learning, emotions, motor control, and organ function (including immune organs).1-2 Roger Sperry, the recipient of the Nobel prize in 1982 for his work in brain research, stated that the importance of movement of the spine in relation to brain function could be equated to that of a windmill that generates electricity for a power plant. He also stated that the more structurally distorted we are, the less energy we have for metabolism, for healing, and for thinking.
In fact, research has shown that if you cut off the supply of somatosensory information going to the brain, the brain will actually reach a state of coma!! 3 That’s right, the brain does not simply control the body, the brain requires constant stimulation; it requires constant input from movement to keep the batteries charged.
Did you know that over half of all the nerve impulses being sent between your brain and body in your spinal cord are for the delivery of movement stimulation to the brain? 4 Movement charges your brain’s battery and makes you able to think better, feel better, and function better.
Sound a bit too good to be true? Don’t just take my word for it, read the work of some of the most prominent neurologists, physiologists, psychologists, and educators in the world. Messages to your brain created by proper movement (especially of your spine) have been called an essential nutrient for brain function and development.5 In fact, research is now showing that people who do not properly stimulate their brain with joint movement have learning, memory, emotional, behavioral, and overall health deficits.
This is especially true for children because spinal joint receptor stimulation plays an integral role in the development of the child’s brain and nervous system and the effects of decreased stimulation of the brain in childhood have been linked to central motor impairment, developmental impairments, learning disabilities, concentration problems like ADHD, behavioral problems such as violence and increased illnesses such as ear, nose, and throat infections, sleeping difficulties, and colic.6-7
“Connectivity is a crucial feature of brain development because the neural pathways formed during the early years carry signals that allow us to process information throughout our lives (Dixon and Shore).” 7
At first researchers thought that it was just the exercise that improved brain and overall health due to increased blood flow and oxygen supply etc. Further research has shown that aerobic activity is not what is responsible for the amazing benefits of proper movement stimulation of the brain. It is the neurological stimulation of the pathways between moving joints, especially spinal joints, and the brain that are responsible. “At a major neuroscience symposium in Chicago, where experts in the field of movement and cognition met, the message was clear: Our body enriches our mind.” 7