Branch Sky

Neuroplasticity, defined by Norman Doidge as the property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and function, contradicts long-held theories in science that claim the brain is hardwired or fixed. “It is more like a plant than a machine,” he has said, meaning it is both adaptable and malleable.

Since the origin of pain can be found in the brain’s pain maps, those who suffer from it can find great hope, inspiration and healing through neuroplastic approaches.

Norman Doidge points out that “one of the core laws of neuroplasticity is that neurons that fire together wire together, meaning that repeated mental experience leads to structural changes in the brain neurons that process that experience.” And so, he explains how the competitive nature of neuroplasticity allows us to weaken chronic pain circuits by reclaiming maps “taken over” by pain processing, using touch, sound, vibration and visualization. His book The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity is a wellspring of ideas, and the ongoing inspiration for the development of this site.

This section is still in early development and will eventually be the central focus of Pain Maps. Following is a list of organizations, books, articles, videos and practitioners that feature, or adopt, neuroplastic approaches.



Key Sites

Norman Doidge, M.D.
Books, blog, newsletter

Neuroplastix: Relieve the Pain, Change the Brain, Transform the Person
Neuroplasticians Michael Moskowitz, MD & Marla Golden, DO
Free workbook & fantastic resource for people with persistent pain

The Listening Centre
Developing & improving learning, language & communication skills through sound stimulation
Featured in Norman Doidge’s The Brain’s Way of Healing (A Bridge of Sound)

BrainHQ – Brain Training That Works
Brain training system built & tested by an international team of more than 100 top neuroscientists & brain experts
Revolutionary brain training software: Exercises improve cognitive function & attention span, strengthen memory & brain processing times & fortify our capacity for learning
Blog, newsroom, podcasts, videos, webinars, fun brain teasers & much more*

Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life
Book excerpts, videos, podcasts on the work of Dr. Michael Merzenich, leading pioneer in brain plasticity research


Audio, Video
Norman Doidge on Brain Plasticity: Brain Science Podcast

Norman Doidge on The National (CBC)

TED: Nurture the Miracle of Neuroplasticity

Changing Your Mind: The Nature of Things
Norman Doidge: neuroplastic approaches to mental disorders

Allan Gregg: Dr. Norman Doidge & The Brain that Changes Itself (TVO)

Growing Evidence of Brain Plasticity (TED)



How You Can Make Your Brain Smarter Every Day (Forbes)
by Michael Merzenich

Turning to Software to Help Treat Brain Injuries
New York Times on the work of Michael Merzenich, neuroscientist & pioneer in brain plasticity research

Norman Doidge: the Man Teaching Us to Change Our Minds
The Guardian: In-depth interview

Using the Power of Neuroplasticity (Rewired: Learning to Tame the Noisy Brain)
Globe & Mail on Norman Doidge: Jan. 23, 2015

About Brain Plasticity
Easy-to-understand overview by Dr. Michael Merzenich

Our Amazingly Plastic Brains (Wall Street Journal)
by Norman Doidge

How Your Brain Can Heal Your Body: Astonishing new research reveals the brain’s ability to rewire itself can conquer pain & overcome ‘untreatable’ illness
Norman Doidge, The Daily Mail, UK

How Your Brain Can Heal Itself: Groundbreaking Research Offers New Hope for People with Chronic Pain 
Maclean’s Magazine: Jan. 23, 2015

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

Neuroplasticity and Mental Health

How to Outsmart Your Brain (Forbes)

The Plasticity of the Brain: Guiding the Damaged Brain to Recover From Injury & the Healthy Brain to Improve Itself

Rewiring Your Gray Matter (Newsweek)

Neuroplasticity: Changing Our Belief About Change

Using Neuroplasticity to change the way we treat everything from ADD to Parkinson’s

Inflammation Pathways in Neuroplasticity
Jon Lieff, MD: Searching for the Mind

Can Pain Change Our Brain Maps?
By Flavia di Pietro

Mind Changing Brain Changing Mind
The Dharma and Neuroscience
by Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, PhD



The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries & Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
by Norman Doidge

The Brain that Changes Itself
by Norman Doidge

Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life
by Dr. Michael Merzenich
Leading pioneer & world authority on brain plasticity explains how the brain rewires itself across a lifespan & how you can take control of that process to improve your life

The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force

You Are Not Your Brain
by Jeffrey Schwartz & Rebecca Gladding

The Mind and the Brain
by Jeffrey Schwartz & Sharon Begley


More Relevant Sites 

On the Brain with Dr. Michael Merzenich 
Podcasts, videos, research, articles on brain plasticity

Neurona Therapeutics
Early stage biotechnology company based in South San Francisco created to develop neuronal stem cell-based therapies for neurological disease

Seeing Clearly: Using Feldenkrais, Buddhist & Other Neuroplastic Methods to Improve Vision
David Webber, featured in The Brain’s Way of Healing chapter “A Blind Man Learns to See”

The ADD Centre & Biofeedback Institute of Toronto
Improving focus & concentration, mood regulation (anxiety), brain injuries, seizures, autism, learning problems, more

The Neurosculpting Institute
Where Gray Matters: Neuroscience of healing & happiness

Arrowsmith School
Educational day school & programs applying the principles of neuroplasticity to learning disabilities

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D.
Research Psychiatrist; Co-founder, NeuroLeadership field

Judy Steed
Enhancing memory & reducing stress through brain plasticity techniques

EMDR Series
Harnessing of neuroplastic processes
By Mark Grant
Includes Change Your Brain, Change Your Pain


Quotes & Passages

“As we age and plasticity declines, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to change in response to the world, even if we want to. We find familiar types of stimulation pleasurable; we seek out like-minded individuals to associate with, and research shows we tend to ignore or forget, or attempt to discredit, information that does not match our beliefs, or perception of the world, because it is very distressing and difficult to think and perceive in unfamiliar ways.”

Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science