Increasing blood flow to the brain is beneficial
There is an adage in Osteopathic Medicine that states “The Rule of The Artery Is Supreme.” This simply means that for the body to feel good, avoid breakdown, mend if injured, or heal if sick — it needs a vigorous blood supply.
Blood delivers life-giving oxygen, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and removes harmful substances such as metabolic waste and toxins.
If you sprain your ankle and go to a physical therapist, everything they do helps increase blood flow. Movement, hot and cold baths, ultrasound, massage, etc. all increase blood flow to the sprained ankle to help it heal. While this is obvious for the body, the same rule applies to the brain.
Anything you can do to increase blood flow to your brain will help maintain cognitive function and reserve. Regular activity and physical movement of the body help increase blood flow to the brain.
This doesn’t have to be done in a gym or health club setting. You just must get out and move. This could be going for a walk, stretching, doing yoga or Pilates, or whatever you enjoy doing — movement of your body is, first and foremost, critical for blood flow to the brain.
Research has shown that, ideally, and weather permitting, exposure to natural sunlight stimulates blood flow to the brain.
Learning neural feedback techniques has also been shown to help, as has stimulating the brain with new tasks such as learning a second language.
Listening to music you enjoy has also been shown — through functional MRI studies — to improve circulation in the brain. Even chewing gum, while not always socially acceptable, will increase blood flow to the brain.
Obviously, your diet has a lot to do with blood flow in general, and there are even a few supplements out there that have been shown to help with neural circulation. No matter what your chosen technique is, spend some time every day increasing the blood supply to your noggin.
Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.