The Brain's Way of Healing


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This book is about the discovery that the human brain has its own unique way of healing. For centuries we believed that the price we paid for our brain's complexity was that, compared to other organs, it was fixed and unregenerative - unable to recover from damage or illness. In his revolutionary new book, Norman Doidge turns this belief on its head.

About the Author

Norman Doidge, MD, is the author of the best-selling book, The Brain That Changes Itself- personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science, which has sold over one million copies worldwide. Dr Doidge 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. Visit him at


`Brilliant and highly original. Neurology used to be considered a depressing discipline with patients often displaying fascinating but essentially untreatable symptoms and disabilities. Drawing on the last three decades of research, Doidge challenges this view, using vivid portraits of patients and their physicians. The book is a treasure-trove of the author's own deep insights and a clear bright light of optimism shines through every page.' -V.S. Ramachandran MBBS, Ph.D., Neurologist, Neuroscientist, and author of The Tell-Tale Brain, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego `A tour de force. In one of the most riveting books on the human brain and its mystery powers ever written, Doidge addresses the role of alternative medical therapies to reset and re-sync the dynamic patterns of `energy' in our brain, with the ability to restore relatively normal health to those whose fate seems hopeless ... These are people that traditional medicine all but abandoned as hopeless, untreatable. But they were rescued ... It's possible to start anywhere in the book and be mesmerised.' -The Huffington Post `Bold, remarkable ... paradigm challenging. The Brain's Way of Healing is brilliantly organised, scientifically documented, and a beautifully written narrative that captivates the reader, who is left with the profound message that the brain, similar to other organs, can heal.' -Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. Distinguished University Scientist, Indiana University Bloomington; author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation `Stunning ... The Brain's Way of Healing is another ground breaking book by Norman Doidge. His style keeps you going into the deep dark secrets of how the brain works ... his reframing of remarkable treatments that I had categorised as gimmicky left me fascinated and humbled. He brings a whole new level of insight into the body, brain, mind connection that will impact any reader.' -John J. Ratey, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, author of Driven to Distraction `A vivid, robust and optimistic read ... an essential addition to our growing understanding of the mind-brain-body connection. Doidge argues quite convincingly that when the brain is damaged or incompletely formed, whether from stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, autism, ADHD or a host of other conditions, it's entirely possible to `rewire' the circuits by training a different part of the brain to take over the task ... Doidge has an uncanny knack for addressing questions just as they arise in the reader's mind ... An award-winning literary writer and journalist as well as a psychiatrist, Doidge has achieved a fine blend here between scientific substance and literary style. While never dumbing down the science, he's positively elegant in his crystalline explanations of brain science for a lay audience.' -The Toronto Star `The Brain's Way of Healing is a stunner - the sort of book you want to read several times, not because it is difficult to understand, but because it opens up so many novel and startling avenues into our potential to heal. Norman Doidge enthrals us with a rich combination of lucidly explained brain research and pioneering ... approaches to recovery. With an eloquence reminiscent of Oliver Sacks, Doidge bolsters the latest advances in brain science with a series of extraordinary case histories of people for whom all hope seemed to be lost, but who healed as a result of great personal courage, and by changing the ways their bodies and brains processed sensations and movement. This hopeful book demonstrates that a variety of sensory inputs - light, sound, electricity, vibration, movement, and thought - can awaken the brain's attention processors, and thereby allow even the most afflicted to (re)gain ownership of their lives.' -Bessel van der Kolk M.D., medical director, the Trauma Center, Brookline MA; professor of psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; and author of New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score `Doidge's book is filled with compelling stories about radical improvements in conditions often deemed hopeless. It points to a future of remarkable and unprecedented brain healing.' -Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D., neurologist, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and author of The Autism Revolution `Doidge is such a bright star in the firmament of scientific storytelling ... more than any other writer, [he] has shown us how we can seize control of our brain's destiny.' -The Sydney Morning Herald `This is a book of miracles: an absorbing compendium of unlikely recoveries from physical and mental ailments offers evidence that the brain can heal. Fascinating ... brings to mind Oliver Sacks.' -The Guardian `A dazzling collection of stories about neuroplasticity and the ever-changing brain ... cutting-edge treatments that use the body's senses to access, and improve, neurological functioning. In friendly vignettes reminiscent of Oliver Sacks' case studies, Doidge chronicles the heroic efforts of patients with a wide variety of apparently intractable ailments, from chronic pain to multiple sclerosis ... Doidge truly takes a holistic approach to his subjects, getting to know them and their doctors and sharing every detail with his readers ... Each of Doidge's examples suggests tangible treatment ideas for patients who may have thought they were out of options. Doidge's penchant for considering unconventional approaches to healing offers hope for all.' -Bookpage `Beautifully written ... inspiring ... By merging scientific information into timeless and fascinating personal stories, Doidge makes his discoveries extremely readable ... In some cases, the results are completely astounding and unexpected ... The Brain's Way of Healing grabs onto the reader at once and compels them to keep reading. This is an important and encouraging book.' -The Vancouver Sun `Exhilarating science... In an era of ever-increasing medicalisation of the human mind, and the medication of it, the appeal of neuroplasticity outlined by Doidge is addictive. It is inspiring, page-turning stuff.' -Sunday Times `Reviewers hailed Norman Doidge's 2007 The Brain That Changes Itself as a book that showed its author's rare talent to explain science to the rest of us: `You don't have to be a brain surgeon to read it-just a person with a curious mind.' Now the physician who was then paired with Oliver Sacks and Stephen Jay Gould returns with a captivating new tome about neuroplasticity, the brain's astonishing capacity to repair itself after injury or illness. Dr. Doidge's clear descriptions of exciting breakthrough brain research will give readers a heartening new sense of the dynamism of the body we live with daily.' -Barnes & Noble Review `Doidge is the master of explaining how the brain's plasticity can be harnessed to improve the symptoms of brain-related disorders, ranging from stroke to autism' -The Independent `An exciting overview of powerful new neuroscience theories that connect mind, body, and soul ... In this age of distraction and unnatural environments and actions - like staring at screens all day - brain science offers all kinds of useful techniques to care for our infinitely complex selves. Norman Doidge's work is a Michelin Guide to this hopeful new trove of knowledge and insight.' -Boston Globe `Doidge is persuasive and curious as a writer, and rigorous as a thinker, though what he writes about is at the edge of our current understanding of mind and body.' -The Observer `A powerful and brilliant book that gives hope to those with illness and creative inspiration to the whole medical community.' -Jack Kornfield PhD, author A Path With Heart `The Brain's Way of Healing starts with a superb description of the former axiomatic belief in the neuroscience community of the immutability of the CNS and the more recent research that has slain that conceptual dragon. The articulation of the ideas in the book is a model of exposition; the language is direct, simple yet elegant, which is no mean trick when conveying the meaning of technical research studies. The book offers real hope to individuals suffering from diverse chronic conditions. It shows in terms of graphic personal stories that we truly do not yet know the limits of what is possible in rehabilitation. The book also has a number of creative integrations of the data that will be of interest to neuroscientists.' -Edward Taub, Ph.D., Behavioral Neuroscientist, University Professor,University of Alabama at Birmingham Director, UAB CI Therapy Research Group and Taub Training Clinic `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 medical offices on canes and leave without them after their first visit ... For someone who suffers - or knows someone who suffers - from an injury or illness related to the brain, both this book as well as Doidge's previous will provide information - and perhaps hope - that the brain can heal itself.' -The Seattle Times

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