What is Brain Gym?

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  • Written By: M. Donahue
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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The brain is a marvelous organ — the center of everything we do. What if you could make your brain function more efficiently? What if you could learn things more quickly and easily? This is exactly what Brain Gym® claims it can help you do, with a series of simple physical exercises.

Brain Gym® is an educational kinesiology system developed by Dr. Paul Dennison and Gail E. Dennison. It claims to speed the learning process through physical movement. According the Dennisons, physical movement balances the brain and creates new neural pathways, which facilitates faster learning. Physical coordination, they say, leads to mental coordination.

Kinesiology is the study of human movement; educational kinesiology then, is how body movements are applied to learning. The basic Brain Gym® system involves 26 movements scheduled in a particular sequence. These movements are designed to activate the brain to function at its best, helping the nervous system and sensory motor system communicate at top efficiency. Once the brain has integrated the movements, learning becomes a whole brain activity, and occurs more quickly and easily.


Brain Gym® can be helpful for anyone who wants to improve their learning process, but it may be particularly useful for those with brain damage or hyperactivity. Originally intended for people with learning disabilities, Brain Gym® is now used much more widely. Whether a first-grader is struggling with reading, or an older child is trying to focus enough to play violin, Brain Gym® might help them achieve their goals. It is used by teachers, therapists, business people, artists, athletes and parents around the world.

Brain Gym® has been linked to better academic, social, and physical performance. It is said to offer stress relief, increased self-esteem, and a greater awareness of personal space.

The recommended way of learning Brain Gym® is with a certified instructor, either through a class, or private sessions. There are both basic and special interest classes, and Brain Gym® instructors are all over the world. You can also learn from Paul Dennison and Gail E. Dennison’s book, Brain Gym®

While the Dennisons claim that Brain Gym® is effective in improving memory, many opponents claim that it is a pseudoscience that has not been scientifically proven to actually help learning. These opponents believe that any improvements from using Brain Gym® can be attributed to the placebo effect, the benefit of paying greater attention to learning, and the general benefits that exercise affords.


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Post 1

I have heard about brain gym before but it always seemed like bunk science. Its one of those ideas that makes sense at first, and then you think about it for about 5 seconds and it begins to seem ridiculous.

I got the ultimate proof after a friend of mine actually bought a book on brain gym and started doing the exercises regularly. He noticed no difference at all. He was trying to learn French at the time and hope it would help with his vocabulary retention. Instead he ended up giving up on the project entirely.

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