What is Brain Gym®?
Brain Gym® is integrative movement and is one component of a broader discipline called Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K), which developed out of more than seventeen years of research by Paul E. Dennison, teacher and reading specialist. His research began in 1969 when he was director of the Valley Remedial Group Learning Centers in California. His research included an exploration of learning theory and right-brain / left-brain function and earned him a doctorate in the relationship between thinking skills and beginning reading ability. Along the way, he collaborated with many experts in visual and motor development, continually searching for the means that would allow each client to be successful. Dr. Dennison and his wife and partner Gail E. Dennison, a writer, artist, and movement educator, adapted activities from these collaborative efforts, creating other activities based on their understanding of the needs of the learner. These specific, targeted movements are incorporated into the evolving discipline of Edu-K -- the study of movement in relation to achievement.
For example, activities from developmental vision training, such as eye-hand coordination, eye-teaming, and visual focus improve vision. Muscle-lengthening techniques from dance, sports, and physical therapy release muscle tension, restoring the body to its natural alignment. And activities from the Touch for Health program, developed by the late John Thie D.C., support the equilibrium of the mind-body system. It became clear to the Dennisons that these activities strengthen the foundational skills (e.g., smooth eye tracking and focus, postural control, left-right coordination, spatial orientation, auditory processing) that are required for success in academics and more.
Edu-K, which includes the components of Brain Gym®, Vision Gym®, brain dominance profiles, and Touch for Health techniques can assist us in overcoming obstacles we are experiencing. These obstacles might be a skill we have found difficult to achieve, a habit we wish to eliminate, or a potential within ourselves we would like to develop.
The intentional movements of the Edu-K system bring together thinking skills and physical coordination which then allows us to
1) improve memory, concentration, and focus
2) control our emotions
3) relate with others more comfortably
4) express our creativity
5) be more relaxed and calm as we face challenges
6) improve academically –reading, writing, math, test-taking
7) increase physical coordination
8) move more easily toward our life goals
There are three directions of dynamic movement:
1) Moving across the vertical midline (for processing information).
Bi-lateral movement develops cross-lateral skills that support writing, keyboarding, reading, walking writing, depth perception, communication, and expression.
2) Moving across the horizontal midline (for emotional resiliency and relating to the world).
Top/bottom rotational movement develops equilibrium in space, proprioception, and the ability to be flexible in a changing world.
3) Moving across the front/back midline (for participation and comprehension).
The ability to easily move forward or pause for consideration allows easy interaction with the world around us.
For more information on Brain Gym ®, visit the official Brain Gym website.