If there is one thing everyone wants, I think it’s a better functioning brain. And that makes sense. After all, the brain is what controls and coordinates every other system in your body including your heart function, breathing, digestive system, and immune system. A better functioning brain also means being more in control of your emotions and helps to ward off nasty things like depression, anxiety, dementia, and a lot more. And I skipped over the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about what the brain does. It’s how you think! Wouldn’t you like to be able to think a little clearer or a little faster? I thought so!
So here’s a quick and easy test you can do at home to see how a few areas of your brain are functioning. It’s called the Fukuda Stepping Test. Let’s get to it!
First, find a friend and be sure you have plenty of open floor space and little to no background noise. (Background noise will interfere with the test.) Your friend has two jobs. First, they are going to silently keep a count of how many steps you take, but most importantly, they are going to make sure that you are safe and don’t fall over or bump into anything during your test. Speaking of which, please do not attempt this test if you have any trouble balancing with your eyes closed.
Mentally take note of your starting position and the direction you’re facing. If you want to get really fancy, put a strip of tape on the floor in front of your toes. Now put your arms out directly in front of you and then lay one forearm on the other in the classic “I Dream of Jeannie” position (no head nod necessary). Now close both your eyes and start marching in place for 30 steps on each side for a total of 60 steps. No peaking! It’s sometimes hard to keep the count yourself so ask your friend to keep track (silently). OK, open your eyes!
Did you stay in the same spot or did you move? Are you facing the same direction or did you rotate to one side or the other? If you didn’t move, congratulations! This test shows no indication of brain imbalance. Otherwise, it indicates that your brain may be having difficulty telling where your body is in space. Usually the deficit is on the side of the brain that you rotated towards, but not always. Read on to find out what this means for you and what you can do about it.
The Fukuda Stepping Test is just one indicator that we use to check the integrity of a system in your brain and nervous system called the Somatosensory System. The Somatosensory System is an important network of neural pathways in the brain and spinal cord that allow the brain and body to communicate with each other. It involves numerous brain regions including the brainstem, cerebellum, thalamus, and parietal lobe just to name a few.
These regions of your brain not only help your balance and coordination by telling you where your body is in space, but they are also needed to run many of the basic functions needed to sustain life itself such as breathing, keeping your heart beating, and keeping the rest of your internal organs running in harmony with each other.
Because the Somatosensory System involves many regions of the brain, we cannot specify where the problem is from this single test. But an abnormal test result does indicate that your brain is likely functioning at less than its optimum level in one or more areas. With more testing we can narrow down where the problem(s) may be and help to get your brain back to functioning in tip-top shape through individualized chiropractic care.
At Acorn Chiropractic Club in Petaluma, we use advanced examination techniques to identify the problem areas specific to your brain and nervous system. We can then target these key areas in your brain through custom-tailored chiropractic adjustments. These gentle adjustments are highly effective in activating suppressed regions of the brain to restore optimum function. Depending on the areas of the brain involved, there may also be lifestyle changes or brain exercises that you can do at home.
Chiropractors Matt and Jen Santos specialize in maximizing brain and nervous system development and function. Schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help your brain. Don’t live near Petaluma, CA? No problem! Contact us and we’ll do our best to find a chiropractor in your area who specializes in the same type of care.