The Power of the Brain’s Ability to Change
by Patrick Hill
The Anat Baniel Method®, ABM®, is a brain-based approach, where new patterns and connections are formed through a series of movement exercises, done slowly and attentively, which harnesses the power of the brain’s ability to change! ABM® is supported by today’s latest neuroscience research and provides opportunities to understand our physical, cognitive, emotional abilities, and how we can further develop these areas.
For children, this method is based on the understanding that diseases and traumas in the early stages of life interrupt the brain’s development and process of learning. This interrupts the communication needed to create the relationship in the child’s body, world, and loved ones. It is possible to directly communicate with the child’s nervous system using the “9 Essentials of ABM®” in a very gentle, powerful way, especially through movement, greater awareness, and non-verbal kinesthetic experiences.
The brain doesn’t learn through repetition and doesn’t respond to being forced. Thus, ABM® stresses the distinction between “making your child do” and “calling upon your child to find their own solution.” If your child cannot roll or crawl, sit up, stand on all fours, or stand up unassisted, they aren’t forced to be in these positions, or into repetitive motions. Instead, the child is engaged in a gentle movement process that provides the conditions and information the brain requires to achieve different skills and developmental milestones. Through this process, the child gains the missing pieces that skills are built on, and can spontaneously learn to do what he or she couldn’t do before.
Changes are presented in a number of ways, such as better movement, balance and coordination, increased focus, reduced anxiety, improved language and problem-solving skills to name a few. By upgrading the entire system, the child learns to perceive finer and finer differences, which is essential for learning. Outcomes include the child being able to improve physically, cognitively, and emotionally as they increase their capacity for learning and understanding their environment, both internal and external.
Children with cerebral palsy, autism, genetic conditions, ADHD, FASD, global developmental delays, and undiagnosed conditions can benefit from ABM®.
For adults using this learning approach, we can reduce pain, increase flexibility, and have more energy in a pain-free and enjoyable way!
We organize our bodies around our experiences; when we have pain free, enjoyable experiences of movement, the brain spontaneously shifts to recreate that experience. This can happen, but we have to click the “auto pilot” off and get out of our old pain-infused patterns. The brain is the computer of the body; it instructs what, when, and where areas of the body need to move.
Shifting from fixing, looking at the body as a mechanical system, to connecting, looking at the body as an information system, we can create a conversation with which the whole body can be connected and move as one complete unit. Most back pain is caused from the pelvis not being organized to catch the weight of the upper body. When the skeleton is organized to allow gravity to flow through it, the muscles have to take over and create that support, leading to overuse and muscle fatigue causing pain.
Adults with brain injuries, chronic pain, repetitive stress injuries, and stroke survivors can benefit from ABM®. High performers, athletes, musicians, and dancers can also use ABM® to achieve a higher level of performance.
I have a neurological condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which causes severe chronic pain in both my legs. This syndrome affects 1 in 100,000 people, and only 20% of people affected make any sort of recovery. The therapy regimen I was on—physio, massage, chiro, acupuncture, dry needling, and ABM®—just kept me functioning and was slowly becoming ineffective. A change was needed. I decided to take the ABM® training.
When the basic training started in May 2013, I was recovering from a major back surgery and substantial regression in nerve damage which happened in July 2012. At the end of the first segment, I was able to move freely and with less pain. 2013 was a year of huge transitions. I went from a fairly sedentary workplace only able to work four days a week, and needing three full days to recover, to working as a sub-contractor for a high-end home builder, where I had to do everything from framing to finishing and end with a high-quality product five to six days a week. At this time my body couldn’t process the information coming from my environment; how my body managed this was a release through severe muscle spasms in my legs which made it look like I was having a seizure. These spasms happen five to six times a week, lasting between two to 15 minutes.
Not only was there physical improvement, but a large improvement in mental clarity. Thanks to ABM®, my chronic pain has dramatically reduced; I am able to put in full-time hours working at a job that is physically and mentally demanding; keep up with homework assigned between segments; continue therapy; and keep on top of all operations necessary to maintain a small business. The muscle spasms reduced in frequency and severity as I went through the levels of training. The last major spasm I had was in 2018. ABM® has given me a new lease on life. People who meet me don’t believe the severity of my condition.
ABM® has allowed my brain and body to integrate the changes made by my traditional therapists. This means that the potency of each treatment has increased two-fold. Having a library of movement lessons, I am able to practice this method on myself, maintaining a high level of function and integration of traditional therapies. The last bonus in my ABM® journey is being able to cut my prescription medication by almost two-thirds of the highest recommended dosage.
Patrick Hill started his practice in 2015 and is primarily working in Saskatoon. He travels to Regina once a month to work for a week with children and adults. For more information
and to contact him, visit www.moveminttherapies.com and see the Directory of Services ad on page 19 of the 28.1 May/June issue of the WHOLifE Journal. Also visit www.anatbanielmethod.com.