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The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,106 ratings  ·  481 reviews
Now a New York Times Bestseller!

The bestselling author of The Brain That Changes Itself presents astounding advances in the treatment of brain injury and illness

In The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge described the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years: the discovery that the brain can change its own structure and func
Hardcover, 409 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Viking
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Steve Gold
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is the fascinating story of a Toronto neurologist psychiatrist who travels the world fawning over sorcerers and con artists.

Doidge front loads the book with his strongest cases of neuroplasticity, to lure you in, but each successive chapter retreats further from reason and evidence, until you're learning about a wizard who can heal nearly any mental or physical ailment you can name by shining LED lights at you.

I think Doidge means well, and I am down with bleeding-edge science. The trick
Edoardo Albert
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To review this book, I have to tell you about my grandmother.

When I bought my house, I was thirty years old and single - with little apparent prospect of that changing (not that I hadn't tried to get married, but all the women I'd asked to marry me - some of whom I even knew - had refused). However, my grandmother, my little Italian Nonna, was living with my parents, ten minutes walk away. It was, as the marketing men say, a no brainer: I asked her to move in with me.

May I say that there is no m
Darcia Helle
The information Doidge provides on the brain's ability to heal itself, and thereby the body, is both fascinating and compelling. This flies in the face of our current mainstream view of the damage from brain injuries and certain chronic illnesses being permanent, with no hope of recovery. Our brains are far more resilient than science has, so far, understood.

That being said, I have some problems with the overall structure and content. The important nuggets of information often get lost within re
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
From this book you learn of amazing new developments in neurology. The brain is plastic. What this means in simple terms is that we can do things to change it. Plastic means mold-able. It was previously thought that the brain directed the body, but now we learn that the body too changes the brain. Neurons that before have been classified as dead and useless are not dead. This has huge implications for treatment of:

-Parkinson's disease
-chronic pain
-multiple sclerosis
Tim Murray
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was more disappointing than I think I can possibly convey. The Brain That Changes Itself was one of my favourite books and I have recommended it to all my friends, so I was very excited about reading the sequel. In this book Norman Doidge basically does the same as the first book, he gives examples of people with very serious illnesses who have had amazing cures. However for this book he has abandoned the scientific and fully embraced the pseudoscientific. I am certainly not an expert ...more
Lyn Elliott
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, book-club
It's not that long ago that the idea of neuroplasticity was seen as fringe fantasy, though it is now widely accepted (though like climate change, it has its sceptics).
In his second book on the subject, Doidge covers several techniques that are being used to change neural pathways to manage pain, recover lost movement, reduce symptoms of Parkinson's and other conditions. One of his main messages is that the body and the mind (brain) can't be seen as separate, the two work together in infinite fee
Jennifer Lane
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Plastic Brain

When I expressed interest in understanding more about the neurobiology of mental health, a psychologist friend recommended The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. When I looked up that book, I found this more recent book by the same author, so started with this first.

Did you know scientists didn't fully appreciate the plasticity of the brain until 2000? That wasn't so long ago, and we are on a steep learning curve to unders
Sep 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anecdotal and ignorant of scientific method. I found it hard to credit anything Doidge wrote after his random prattling about the action of laser light inside cells.

This is not Oliver Sacks style "here is an interesting case and this is what it might tell us about how things might work" or "here are some new developments being trialled" it is a string of "Bob had a brain problem, by application of X he got better!" type stories where X varies from exercise to mindfulness to lasers.

Quackery for
Book Riot Community
The Brain’s Way of Healing is the sequel to Doidge’s earlier introduction to the science of neuroplasticity, The Brain That Changes Itself. While that book took a more general look at the subject, this book hones in on the specific ways that harnessing the brain’s ability to rewire itself can result in remarkable recoveries from stroke and other traumatic brain injury, and halt or slow the progression of diseases like Parkinson’s and MS. This is some of the most exciting science of the twenty-fi ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, 2016
excellent stuff.
especially if you have any disability, cognitive issues, adhd, dyslexia, blindness, deafness, tbi, ptsd etc.
a lit about brain and how to train it - much better than the overreliance on psychiatric drugs.
interesting stories.
Iona  Stewart
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A while ago I read and reviewed this author´s first book “The brain that changes itself” and found it fascinating. I deem the present book to be even more so.

First we learn of the case of the psychiatrist/pain specialist Michael Moskowitz, who after a horrific accident, had chronic pain for 13 years, He got rid of the pain by visualizing that the areas of his brain producing it are shrinking, after discovering that two brain areas process both visual information and pain. The assumption is that
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was ok

This article sums up exactly what disturbs me about this book. After hearing several of his interviews and being fascinated by their content I bought Norman Doidge's latest book. Only a few pages in I lost faith with him. Peddling false hope with dubious science and worse, encouraging irrational fears that will cause actual harm to people. So disappointing.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
The preface promises miracles... but there sure isn't a lot of primary literature cited. >_< so disappointed this seems to be a bunch of pseudoscience... I can't bring myself to read it fully after skimming the references. Naturopaths? Osteopaths? Chiropractors? Seriously?? If this book wasn't claiming to be scientifically sound, I'd be way less annoyed. Quite frankly, it's misleading people to believe a lot of these therapies are medically and scientifically sound.

Doidge's first book, The Brai
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, giveaway
This is my first-read win. This was a great book, fascinating, learning many different ways that the brain can heal itself.A great resource book. I will be using the eye exercises to improve my eyesight & maybe get rid of my glasses. Now, I need to read The Brain That Changes Itself.
Pam Thomas
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved the book, its about the way the brain recovers and embarks on a journey of discovery, how a brain can recover with light and awaken damaged neural circuits, how it can turn off when pain is in the body releasing endorphin's to quell pain and the role of neurons and pain through research. a very indepth and fascinating and educational book. ...more
Am Y
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely worth a read. I didn't manage to finish the last few chapters but the first few I read were very interesting and illuminating.

The first case study involves the author following a man with Parkinson's and detailing his recovery process. We learn about "laser light healing" - a form of treatment which basically involves applying a low-level laser or light-emitting diode to the surface of the body in order to stimulate the body's cells to heal faster.

The science behind this is based on
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, nonfiction, health
Boy, when they say "remarkable" they mean remarkable. I was astounded by these recovery stories based on therapies I'd never heard of before. The book is a fascinating read, and I ended up just buying it as a reference when I got near the end of it. I found a lot of information that had potential applications for myself or my loved ones.
I've been hearing references to neuroplasticity for about a year now, and this is the first book I've read about it. It does get rather in-depth in spots, alter
Payel Kundu
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I previously read The Brain that Changes Itself, and liked the writing. That book was exciting because it was presenting the “intellectual revolution” of adult brain plasticity, and the first studies utilizing this new principle were emerging. Doige likes to get personal with his stories, often spending extended periods of time with those he writes about, thus giving his books a compassionate and human feeling. This new book is a follow up in the same vein, investigating the newest and most exci ...more
RH Michetti
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really good exploration into various methods of healing.
Mar 28, 2017 added it
I found this book very interesting. I'm going to try to meditate to Gregorian chants and get back into my yoga. It inspired me to try something different. ...more
Jun 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Super fascinating book about our brains and how they can be healed through different forms of therapy. Really enjoyed this book!
Terry Ozanne
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very very good book, and reading it improved my life, the lives of my kids, my wife, and my friends kids.

Chapter 8, listening therapies and Tomatis, helped my son significantly reduce his hearing sensitivity. It also helped his balance an overall temperament. My daughter’s motor control improved. My friend’s son’s ASD/ADHD emotional control has improved, and his hearing sensitivity is reducing. Treatments are ongoing.

I may never have heard of this treatment, if not for this book.

An add
Scribe Publications
An exciting overview of powerful new neuroscience theories that connect mind, body, and soul … Brain science offers all kinds of useful techniques to care for our infinitely complex selves. A Michelin Guide to this hopeful new trove of knowledge and insight.
Boston Globe

Doidge explains the processes of the brain and body in a clear and understandable way, even to those of us who previously couldn’t distinguish a hippocampus from a hippopotamus. He tells of patients who hobble into labs and me
Karen Chung
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt the most important book I've read this year. Doidge describes a whole array of mostly side edffect-free ways for the brain to experience profound healing. It took me awhile to get through this 500-page work, just because it is so full of amazing new things to think about and absorb. But now that I have finished it, I think I need to read it again. Highly recommended for anybody interested in the workings of the brain, as well as anybody suffering from Parkinson's, traumatic brain ...more
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, medicine
A fascinating update on several diverse medical applications depending on neuroplasticity that can mitigate or heal heretofore intractable health problems, like chronic pain, Parkinson's, MS, brain trauma, dyslexia, certain vision problems, etc. These approaches to medical treatment of serious conditions, generally considered chronic, sometimes involve understanding how older systems work (Tomatis, Feldenkrais), while others are very recent developments. Some treatments rely on the mind/body alo ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Deeply fascinating and important information shared in this book. I hesitate to give five stars though because sometimes the promises of healing with the therapies described really sound too good to be true particularly the chapter on light and laser therapy which makes it sound like a cure-all. Most of these therapies will probably not harm a person physically, but I am greatly concerned about the financial havoc which could be wrought. The possibilities are exciting though in what people are l ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015, health
Not a 'light' read and will have to revisit periodically. Some of Norman Doidge case studies seem a little flaky at first but he back everything up with science - good science! I was interested to see a fairly large section on Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement. I have been a long time advocate for Feldenkrais methods and this book has reinforced my understanding of the science behind them.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers from chronic pain, ME, Parkinsons, Multiple
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read on a fascinating field which is rapidly expanding.
This book is a must read for anyone who recognises they are aging and wants to at least keep their brain young, anyone who is a parent or anyone who works with children with any type of learning disability affecting the brain. There is so much more hope for halting/slowing progression of degenerative diseases or for improvement of various disorders of the brain than there was even a decade ago and yet we rarely hear of it in the
Bronwyn Millar
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't rate this book highly enough. What a breath of fresh air to see a writer unafraid to delve into the fringes of medical science and explore the latest discoveries that "science writers" scoff at. After all, if we are to evolve we cannot limit ourselves to the box of already-discovered medicine, we need to broaden our scope and open our minds. Cosider the fact that pretty much every kind of medicine we practice was once "pseudoscience" and didn't have studies to back it up.

Doidge is open-
Alex Linschoten
Extraordinary. Doidge, who coined the term 'neuroplasticity', has written a followup to The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. He presents a number of case studies of patients who have seen remissions in their serious brain injuries. These includes using things like brain stimulation through the tongue, 'cold' laser saturation of the body and holistic movement therapies like that developed by Feldenkrais. Doidge offers no easy solutions, b ...more
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Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet.

He is on the Research Faculty at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry.

He is a native of Toronto.

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3 likes · 0 comments
“Moskowitz defined chronic pain as “learned pain.” Chronic pain not only indicates illness; it is itself an illness. The body’s alarm system is stuck in the “on” position, because the person has been unable to remedy the cause of an acute pain, and the central nervous system has become damaged.” 7 likes
“Neuroplasticity is the property of the brain that enables it to change its own structure and functioning in response to activity and mental experience.” 6 likes
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