What is Brain Gym?

What are Brain Gym exercises-

During Inner Rainbow Mindfulness 7 week Course the participants will have the chance to learn and practice Brain Gym or Movement Therapy Exercises each week. These are a great way to improve focus, switch on the brain, practice physical coordination and reconnect the body and mind. You’ll be able to continue using them at home using the videos found in the exclusive online content that goes with the course!

 

So what is Brain Gym? Learn more here.

 

Brain Gym, Educational Kinesiology or Movement Therapy is a series of movements, done with intention and designed to ‘wake-up’ the brain or to stimulate brain function. Its focus is improved learning and mental organisation. The idea is that these are simple exercises that anyone can do at home or at work or at school and they are often used with children who have special needs or need to improve their learning ability. They are designed to strengthen the relationship between body and mind and so are particularly interesting in this time when so many of our activities are cerebral.

The Brain Gym programme was developed by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison and grew out of Educational Kinesiology. It is a set of 26 exercises or activites. Brain Gym or Movement Therapy is often used by therapists or in school classrooms with a reported increase in concentration and reading and listening skills.

 

Brain gym images

Brain Gym exercises are used to improve focus; children (or adults) repeat the exercises regularly and slowly. In children using these exercises there is often a noticeable improvement in memory, concentration, relationships and communication, and physical coordination. Though it is not 100% clear how and why this happens the thinking is that it exercises areas of the brain and strengthens neurological pathways that may not be well used otherwise. It allows participants to practice and strengthen physical coordination pathways and used to support children having developmental issues in this area. The therapy also requires them to be focused and present (i.e. mindful) during the exercises, supporting a habit of focus and single-mindedness. The exercises stimulate particular areas of the brain to improve its function, improve the integration between brain parts and links between the two hemispheres.

Children (and adults) often habitually rely more heavily on one hemisphere of the brain and under use the other, particularly in times of stress. This then means the other side of the brain is under utilised and therefore the person may not be functioning optimally. A lot of Brain gym exercises are designed to cross over from one side to the other – for example making sideways figure eights or putting an elbow to the opposite knee. The aim is to strengthen the connections between left and right brain activity, strengthen neural pathways and improve coordination. When our brains work better our whole body works better and we have an increased sense of well being.

During one-on-one and class sessions, the client is observed to see which exercises will best help them – consideration is given to how their body is when they stand and sit, what behavioral traits they display, their hand-eye coordination, what head or body movements they use, if they can move both sides of the body simultaneously, whether hips and shoulders can be moved at the same time etc. After using the specific exercises people should notice their mental processes are better organised and they are able to focus. But the exercises can be used by everyone and are not limited to those with learning difficulties or coordination problems. They are a great accompaniment to life and learning.

For a great explanation and more indepth discussion about it I like this article which focuses on one of the exercises; http://heartsatplay.com/the-cross-crawl-a-remarkable-movement/

For an old but interesting research project focused on improving reading in classrooms http://www.movementbasedlearning.com/articles/articles/readingproject.html

Or if you are interested in Educational Kinesiology and Brain Gym http://www.braingym.org.uk/about-edu-k/

Kate Baldwin is a qualified Kinesiologist and can be found at http://thebalancesession.com

Coconut

Nutrient Fact File coconut Loula Natural

Coconuts are one of my favourite foods on the planet. They contain all of the nutrients required to grow and develop new life. Plus they taste so delicious! Known as a functional food- the health properties far outweigh their nutritional constituents. Not surprising it is referred to as “The Tree of Life”, a little like eggs, I like to refer to them as one of nature’s perfect packages. 

Coconut oil,

coconut flour,

coconut milk,

coconut yoghurt,

coconut water (fresh) 

Coconut water and coconut milk Kefir,

coconut ice-cream and

desiccated coconut are always in stock in my house!!

Charcoal is made from the husk 

Palm oil is made from the leaves

I love to add coconut to everything; here’s why;

coconut

The coconut palm grows throughout the tropics. The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and prefers areas with ample sunlight and rainfall. They also need a daily temperature of around 20 degrees celsius.  The benefits of the coconuts meat and water contents span all the different varieties of the fruit that they yield. Most cultures where they grow use the products from the coconut to heal most ailments, and have done so for generations. Since they are always in season and grow all year round, they are one of the most incredible natural medicines. They are also easy and cheap to buy. Once you know how, they are also easy to open.

Young meat is jelly like and really sweet and more mature meat is whiter, firmer and less sweet. The water creates the flesh in layers, so the more flesh you have in your coconut the less water and vice versa. The flesh and the water have an amazing mixture of beneficial saturated fats, electrolytes (minerals ), vitamins (A, B’s and E) and amino acids (protein). See the full list here. Plus both have an intricate and balanced bacterial environment. All of this combined gives the coconut its wide range of benefits and health giving properties. A full list of all the claims for coconuts is found here and Bruce Fife’s book Coconut Cures is excellent.

coconut cures

Coconut can be eaten and the water can be drunk during pregnancy. Both are  repudiated to nourish mother and baby and may help even help with a ‘quick delivery’. The oil when rubbed into the skin can help prevent and heal stretch marks. It can also be applied direct to nipples to soothe chafing and heal wounds whilst breastfeeding.

The oil is also a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike. The fat acts as a barrier, the bacterial elements are protective and balancing and the other nutrients in the oil can help to repair any damage the sun might have on the skin cells

When dehydrated in the hot summer months coconut water can help. Containing all the necessary electrolytes it can help get you back to balance. Combined with the bacterial properties to be able to absorb those nutrients, coconut water can also help with some digestive ailments and is a great drink to use whilst working out. However the pasteurization process the packaged water goes through kills off the bacteria. This makes the drink no better than any other pasteurized juice. I only advocate fresh coconut water, or consumption of coconut water that has been fermented- like kefir.

Lychee, Coconut Water Kefir

Coconut water also contains antimicrobial properties. It may be better to think of the bacteria as balanced in the body, after consuming fresh coconut. Therefore it is also great when suffering from bacterial imbalance (runny tummy!). It also helps to rehydrate after vomiting or diarrhea. 

The sugar and nectar from the flowers are also full of necessary nutrients to process the sugar (improving blood sugar levels and create energy). See my post on refined sugar to understand how this is beneficial. The fat and protein aspect of coconuts can also help slow down the digestion of sugars and therefore can help to balance sugar levels. The body is looking for fats in the diet to trigger satiety (feeling full). Coconut in recipes can help you to feel fuller for longer whilst having nutrients to nourish, repair and satisfy. 1 tbs Coconut flour can be added to baked goods to raise their nutrient profile. The fibre in coconut also helps to feed our internal bacterial environment– which further strengthens our essential internal bacterial balance.

More and more people are beginning to understand how important the coconut is to stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, balancing hormones and generally healing. Because of its amazing natural sugar, fatty acids, amino acids combined with all the other nutrients in perfect ratios it is even used in some countries to replace blood plasma in an emergency and after operations.

oil pulling with coconut oil Loula Natural

Coconuts have been seen to help a diverse range of conditions, mostly due to their Medium Chain fatty acids.  Coconuts packs an eye-opening amount of calories and so many grams of fat (90% saturated). However when people advise you to avoid the product for these reasons their advice is misguided. People who include coconut products daily in their diet actually show a greater weight loss than those who don’t, they also report better skin health, muscle tone, energy levels, hormone balance and better moods. Here is my post on how amazing fats are- try to re-educate yourself  about what are a healthy fats and which ones are unhealthy. Coconut oil also plays a huge role in changing your body shape.

The fatty acids contained in coconut have a positive effect on the body as they are easily absorbed, have anti-microbial properties, can boost metabolism , enhance thyroid activity, reduces pain and swelling, improve digestion, boost immune system and improve skin, hair teeth and nails. Is there anything a coconut can’t help? 

You can make your own coconut water, kefirmilk, creamyoghurt , butter and vinegar very easily. I also do oil pulling, use it in my body scrubs (here and here), amazing used directly on the skin from birth (the oil can be absorbed through the skin) I use it in many cosmetics including hair masks, after swimming and sunscreen

Here are my recipes that include coconut; (how to open a coconut)

Oil Pulling

Coconut Milk

Coconut Cream/ Yoghurt

Lychee Coconut water kefir

Coconut Ginger Cookies

Coconut Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Mint chocolate chip coconut ice-cream

Choco-coco milkshake

Coco-berry milkshake

Bulletproof Smoothie

Choco-coco ice pudding

Sunshine shot

Almond and coconut flour kefir pancakes

Bounty bars

Homemade chocolate

Vanilla butter fudge

Chocolate fudge

Cinnamon salty sweet popcorn

Coconut- oil popcorn

Banoffee Toffee

Real food icing sugar

Spicy Chai tea Concentrate

Beetroot brownies

Chicken and coconut soup

Body Scrubs

The ultimate kefir body scrub/bath salts

Pineapple and Ginger kefir-kolada

Coconut and carrotseed oil natural sunscreen

Indeed all of my Kefir and Kombucha is made from coconut sugar as seen in Culture Your Life

Also all of my recipes contain either coconut oil, flour or sugar. I also use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and sell Cocobono sugar and oil here in Hong Kong.

Nutrient Fact File coconut Loula Natural Pin

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