Following a brain injury, the individual is faced with having to learn or re-learn skills. Once familiar skills may take more time to accomplish. Because of this increased time, the individual may find themselves becoming frustrated with themselves and other people. Frustrated with family and friends who may expect that they “should” be able to accomplish what was once simple without hesitation.
Such frustration with ourselves and other people may undermine our confidence in our ability to recover. But let me share some good news with you. You will succeed in mastering those skills by not giving up!
In today’s article, I would like to share something with you that has helped and continues to help me in my recovery process. Some 18 years ago I started a program to improve my ability to use both sides of my body. Several years later the term neuroplasticity was introduced as a way to create new nerve connections (neural pathways) and brain reorganization. Little did I know that I had been using this principle to improve and increase my activities of daily living.
Neuroplasticity, using repetitive mirrored movements (on both my right and left sides of my body) has given me the ability to accomplished skills and activities that I never dreamed possible. Using repetitive mirrored movements has given me the ability to improve and increase my activities of daily living.
Following my brain injury, I gained a slight tremor in my left hand. Repetitive mirrored movements, on both sides of my body, has given me the ability to overcome my tremor. Repetitive mirrored movements on both sides of my body have given me the ability to perform skills and abilities using my left hand. Repetitive mirrored movements on both sides of my body have improved and increased my ability to perform activities of daily living. Activities, such as; that require my ability to use the fingers in my left hand to grasp and hold.
Activities that I was and am able to learn through a bazillion repetitive mirrored movements on both sides of my body.
Activities that gave me the ability to perform and execute skill and abilities using my left hand, elbow, leg, knee, and foot. Using my left, hand, elbow, knee and foot, in coordination; with my right hand, elbow, leg, knee, and foot. Activities that increased my ability to use both my dominant and none dominant sides of my body to accomplish other activities of daily living.
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
As my gross and fine motor skills have improved, so has my body’s ability to perform skills and activities using the non-dominant side of my body.
As my muscle memory, gross and fine motor skills have improved on the left side of my body I have been able to create the possible and hope in my life.
I have been able to create the possible and hope in my life by increasing my overall balance, coordination, body awareness, agility, hand-eye coordination, focus, speed and reaction time.
According to MedicineNet.com definition,“neuroplasticity is 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.”
Watch a 1 minute and 50-second demonstration of my using repetitive mirrored movements to increase my brain’s ability to communicate with both sides of my body by clicking: HERE
Skills I use to Train my Brain through Repetitive Mirrored Movement
Martial arts and western boxing have helped me to work on specific muscle memory drills to fine tune coordinated movements through repetition. In my training and drilling, I have spent countless hours and endless repetitions to develop and hone specific technique using hands (jab, cross, uppercut, hooks and overhand punches) with both my right and left leads.
I also drill elbow strikes, knees and thai kicks with both my right and left leads bazillion time. I work on wing chun centerline strikes on both sides (leads) as well as jeet Kune do blocks, trapping, and strikes. Recently, I resumed my training in modern arnis / kali — with single and double sticks — to work on / develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, muscle memory and agility. My goal is to be equally agile on both sides of my body.
In all my training I spend time executing drills and skills to activate muscles, ligaments and joints to develop muscle memory, coordination, and agility. I spend extra time drilling my non-dominant side of my body, by mirroring my dominate side. Through time and repetition, I have found that I have been able to create the possible and hope in my life.
In my opinion, training using weapons is not about the weapon itself – although the weapon is a tool – but about the movement incorporated using the weapon. Since I resumed training — using single and double sticks – I have noticed that my fine muscle memory, hand-eye coordination, agility, and speed have all increased in my non-dominant and dominant body leads.
I share the above with you to encourage you to engage in activities – whatever activities that you enjoy and have fun doing — to develop muscle memory, coordination, and agility. By doing things that you enjoy you will create fun for yourself. In the process of creating fun for yourself, time and repetition will be seen as an opportunity to work on and develop muscle memory, coordination and agility.Through time and repetition, you will find that you create what you may have never dreamed possible. By staying committed to your process, you will create hope.
So, please do not give up on yourself.
Through time, commitment and patience with yourself, your activities of daily living will improve and increase.
For more information on learning / re-learning skills, click on this link to read: Activities of Daily Living. For more information on learning / relearning through a video presentation, click on this link: Activities of Daily Living
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Once we start walking, before long we will be able to look back and see how far we have traveled; because we did not give up.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
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