My Journey to NIKneuro in a Nutshell
by Nik Neu
Contrary to popular belief, we are not bodies with brains inside them, we are brains with bodies attached to them. Our brains are always receiving input, even while we sleep. Their responsibility is to sift through all of those trillions of bits of info to decide how to respond to protect us. How do they organize all of these inputs? Similar to a computer there is a receive/ process/ respond flow; input comes in, is identified & a response is enacted. Every input gets put through a filter that us Neuro Nerds like to call the threat bucket. (We all know what it feels like when that bucket overflows!!) Our nervous systems look at every bit of info to see if it is going to kill us. It’s super dramatic! But it’s kept us alive with its paranoia.
All of the info that our nervous systems have collected all of our lives for our protection, gets stored into maps all over our brains. Maps for movement we call motor maps, we also have sensory maps to record all of our sensations. These maps need updates just like apps on our phones! If we haven't used a movement map in a while, they get dusty! The brain needs practice at something to remain sharp. If there is an injury to the area, or sudden changes like surgery or childbirth, whole maps can be lost. Which is why we need to learn to walk or move again & are instructed through these “new” movements by specialists. To our logical brain they are old movements, to our nervous systems, everything’s under construction; updating GPS to keep us safe.
Every GPS needs 3 satellites to triangulate our locations properly. Our nervous systems have our Eyes, Balance System (vestibular system), & Proprioception (all of our joint movements & physical sensations). These 3 satellites are used to determine where we are in space, how close we are to other objects we’re interacting with, & how we transition through space (walk across the room, move from sitting to standing, etc). We can only move as well as our maps are clear. In fact every single process our bodies go through, from walking to decision making, relies on the clarity of these maps!
Have you ever tried to drive through a new subdivision on an old GPS? It can’t tell you to turn left or right if it believes you’re in a corn field! Just like our phone’s GPS can have an upgrade of its data map, so can we! If our maps can get dusty without using them, we can dust them off by clarifying “old” movements into our “new” maps. Move it or Lose it! Our brains are efficient & lazy, they hug it, thank it, & let it go if it’s not in use. It has more important things to do than store unused maps!
Our brains filter physical danger & emotional stress via the same threat bucket, the same way! That’s why our bodies physically hurt when we are in emotional pain & why taking pain meds helps reduce the emotional pain of heartache too. That’s why a mental illness affects every aspect of our physical lives as well. It’s all received through the same nervous system & threat bucket filter. It may not feel like it, but anxiety & depression are defense mechanisms! Our brains are trying to keep us safe from something they can’t define properly.
I am a Movement Reeducation Specialist. I study Neurophysiology: our nervous systems through movement. It’s super fascinating stuff! I can see how people’s nervous systems are functioning (or not functioning) via how they walk & move. I help upgrade people’s personal GPS maps, & I began on myself. I had been working with my trainer for years before I decided to study Z Health Education for myself. Through them I gained the knowledge & skills to use movement as medicine.
At the tail end of 2015 I fell & hit my head doing a pole trick I had done a million times before. I suffered whiplash, a neck sprain, a week of acute vertigo, & what I would later determine to be a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In the few years that would follow, my health declined, I was sick constantly, depressed, had panic attacks constantly, in tons of pain, unable to focus, unable to juggle my whole life the way I had been able to previously. I’m also a self abuse survivor, so my maps were already marred with scars & injuries. One of the self harms I used to engage in was hitting my head against walls or floors. So when I had the TBI, my brain “woke up” all the previous self harm injuries that never got tended to & rehabbed back into the map.
I can proudly say I have been self harm free for over a decade. Becoming a Massage Therapist helped save my life. Falling in love with muscles made me not want to harm any of my own. I have been rebuilding what I tried to break, ever since. Breaking it was the easy part, but fixing it is the fun part! Every time I upgrade my maps & am able to achieve new goals, it’s exhilarating! I get to watch it happen & be a part of my healing, instead of my demise. Scar tissue holds a very special place in my heart now & instead of letting it destroy me, I became an expert in scar tissue & fascia rehab.
Neurophysiology gave me a life worth living. It’s helped me achieve more than I know how to fully express. So here are just a few off the top of my head: more range of motion, less pain, less anxiety, better clarity & focus, better decision making skills, better digestion, better sleep, better self awareness, more self acceptance, I feel less crazy because I have a better understanding of my dysfunction, I can see better & read further, reduced peripheral neuropathy, I had a deviated septum that shifted back on its own, reduced Osgood Schlatter’s disease (the bone is remodeling, protruding less, is less painful, & I can kneel on it now!) I also had to teach myself how to swallow again & my tongue to recognize food (not to get immediately threatened & nauseous). I’ve had many more successes than I can’t fit here. I am leaps & bounds from where I was!
It’s been a fascinating journey of self discovery, I feel very blessed to be able to do this work, I’m grateful to be my own science experiment! I’ve been honing my skills on myself for years & am available to help you too. I am the owner/operator of NIKneuro Total Health Reimagined. I recently relocated to just inside Dance Life, how convenient! Please visit me at: www.nikneuro.com or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. I look forward to helping you upgrade your movement maps & achieve your goals!