Sixteen-year-old Aiden was in an alternative school to help him manage his academic challenges and some behavior issues. He struggled to fit into a regular classroom setting because he had difficulty focusing in class and completing tasks. Aiden’s troubles seemed to keep mounting, making him feel unsuccessful and lacking in confidence.
Six-year-old Jarod struggled with emotional outbursts. He was unsure of himself and was afraid to be left alone to sleep. He would often get very upset over something, resulting in uncontrollable crying. He struggled with coordination and was frustrated that he could not ride his bike without training wheels.
Fortunately for Payne, Aiden, Jarod and dozens of other kids and families with similar concerns, a nationally acclaimed program called Brain Gym is available in Northern Arizona.
- Christina Boyd, owner of High Point Strategies in Flagstaff, is a movement therapist and licensed Brain Gym practitioner. Boyd has years of experience in helping children, teens and adults overcome learning difficulties, communication issues, behavioral challenges, emotional imbalances and even the lingering emotional and mental trauma caused by a traumatic event and/or injury.
Founded in 1987 by Paul and Gail Dennison, Brain Gym focuses on how movement, reasoning and learning are dependent upon each other. Brain Gym looks at physical aspects of learning and behavior – the brain, nerves and body – that many educators and parents may not be aware of. Twenty-six activities stimulate the senses and connect the learning, behavior, processing, coordination and memory centers of the brain.
Brain Gym, available in 40 languages and used throughout the world, is used in education, business, school, sport, behavioral therapy, fitness and performing arts settings. Licensed practitioners have extensive training to determine the specific movements and exercises needed for each person based on where improvements are needed.
“Brain Gym is a dynamic movement program,” Boyd explained. “In this case, dynamic means ‘a force that stimulates change within a system.’ In other words, Brain Gym uses movement to stimulate change. These ‘dynamic’ activities use specific combinations of movements that when done consistently, daily or several times a week, open the door for improved brain function and increased mind/body connections.”
She adds it is not clear, yet, why these movements work so well, but they bring about dramatic improvements in concentration and focus, memory, academics, learning, coordination, relationships, self-responsibility, organization skills, attitude and creativity.
Deana Keck and her 11-year-old son Payne are firm believers in Brain Gym and Boyd. Payne was struggling in school, had difficulty staying focused and had bouts of anxiety and sadness.
“After just four sessions we began to see a huge difference in Payne,” Keck said. “Not only did he start to improve at school, but his anxiety decreased. The improvements were very recognizable and Payne really liked going, so we continued for six months.”
What started out to help him with his schoolwork turned into helping Payne deal with an ongoing traumatic situation that he experienced as an infant until he was about eight years old.
“Payne started feeling better about everything and he started to tell friends and family to go to Brain Gym,” Keck said. “Two of his older sisters started the sessions to alleviate anxiety and depression, and they, too, were able to heal from traumatic events they suffered. All the kids noted substantial differences in their emotional and learning status after just four or five sessions.”
Payne says that thanks to Christina and Brain Gym, he is doing better in school and he likes to learn. He is a better hockey player now, too. Brain Buttons is one of Payne’s favorite exercises.
Brain Buttons: A Simple Brain Gym Exercise
Brain Buttons stimulates blood flow to the brain and activates the brain’s alarm clock to tell the mind and body to be awake and ready for learning. Brain Buttons is especially helpful to those who are sluggish, fidgety, are prone to low-energy or who have problems with attention and focus.
Here’s what to do: While standing or sitting, place one hand over the bellybutton and place the thumb and index finger of the other hand directly under the collarbone. Both hands should be on the body at the same time. While keeping the hand on the belly still, lightly massage or tap the area near the collarbone with the other hand, or just keep both hands still. Do this for at least 30 seconds or longer to begin feeling more energized and/or less fidgety. This exercise is especially good to do before taking a test.
Do Results Last?
“Yes,” said Boyd. “Because Brain Gym connects the body and mind so they work together to heal and restore and increase function. The exercises can be done as often as needed for as long as needed. Some of my older clients do a group class every week to help them maintain balance and coordination. Brain Gym helps everyone be more focused mentally, calmer emotionally and coordinated physically.”
If you are interested in learning more about Brain Gym, visit BrainGym.org. For more about High Point Strategies and S. Christina Boyd’s therapies and programs, visit HighPointAZ.com, call 928-863-0595 or email Christina@HighPointAz.com. FBN
By Starla S. Collins, FBN
Boyd leads Payne Keck through some Brain Gym movements during a session in her Flagstaff office.
Photo by Starla S. Collins