Neuroplasticity Summary: Abstract International Conference

Neuroplasticity Summary: Abstract International Conference

Encourage your brain through practical exercises to function optimally throughout your life

Abstract: Presentation on Neuroplasticity at the International Stress Management Association Conference in London, 17 June 2017

Developed and presented by Dr Arien van der Merwe MBChB MISMA NHA FRSPH


Your brain is amazingly adaptable.  It never ever stops learning, depending on how your mind set (rigid, stagnant or flexible, adaptable, keen to learn) supports this natural ability, of course.  It changes because it constantly optimises itself, reorganising by transferring cognitive abilities from one lobe to the other, particularly as you age. After a stroke, for instance, your brain can reorganise itself to move functions to undamaged areas.

A little background information

Old thought: ‘In adult centres the nerve paths are something fixed, ended, immutable. Everything may die, nothing may be regenerated’, written by Prof Santiago Cajal in his 1928 publication ‘Degeneration and Regeneration in the Nervous System’.

He believed that brain neurons were unique because they, of all cells in the human body, lacked the ability to regenerate.

New thought: published by the journal Nature Medicine already in 1998, a report indicating that neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells), does indeed occur in humans.

As Sharon Begley wrote in her book ‘Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain’, ‘….the discovery overturned generations of conventional wisdom in neuroscience. The human brain is not limited to the neurons it is born with, or even the neurons that fill in after the explosion of brain development in early childhood’.

Within each of our brains there is a population of neural stem cells which are continually replenished and can differentiate into different brain neurons. We can all do our own brain stem cell renewal and regrowth therapy every moment of our lives, by opening up to new learning, new experiences, exploring new horisons, possibilities, or elsewheres of thought! The ‘how’ is what my regular workshops on this topic, is all about.

We lead busy lives, often on autopilot, therefore we almost never pay any attention to the fact that we can retrain our brains at any given stage.  In medical terms, this ability of our brains to send the troops where help is needed so to speak, is called n.  Plasticity means ‘mouldable’ or malleable, with the ability to form new patterns and shapes, like clay or play dough. This is the potential that the brain has to reorganise by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as needed.

Outcomes for this workshop

You’ll know and understand the points below, and experience the effect of left and right brain integration for whole brain functioning, optimising your innate ability of neuroplasticity.

  • What is neuroplasticity?
  • How does enhancing neuroplasticity and the new field of epigenetic restructuring and the molecules of emotion (informational substance) support and enhance each other?
  • Can we all use the principle of enhancing and encouraging our neuroplasticity?
  • Mind and brain – sending it out to myself, to others close and far away
  • What is the opposite of neuroplasticity? – i.e. my term ‘neurorigidity?
  • What is the default setting running our mental programs? – lack, scarcity, growing old, weak and sick is just the way it is, or do I believe in an abundant universe – only if I decide to change my old programming based on very old beliefs? Musical chairs principle – I’m the one being left out
  • Key ingredient for developing and maintaining neuroplasticity: willingness – deep and sincere into the marrow of your bones – there must be another way, rather than this (‘life sucks and then you die’ of old age and its evil twin, disease)
  • Practical ways to change your grooves to dance to a new rhythm – or teaching an old dog new tricks
  • Physical – eat, drink, move. Health insurance top up policy – additional cover (basic supplements: antioxidant, calcium & magnesium in amino acid chelate with vitamin C, D, boron; omega 3 fish oil) and herbal remedies such as Ginkgo biloba
  • Mental – challenge those networks, prevent rigidity of thinking, believing, behaving. Notes on meditation – pause, become still, relax a while
  • Emotional – choose peace, happiness and joy – our birth right. Informational substances and epigenetics
  • Spiritual – deliberately increasing our feel good peptides using the 3Ps, EPS (emotional positioning system) and ways to lift into the higher, feel-good frequencies or vibrations. Basics of 3 levels of mind – open up to superconscious mind support and lightening up

Join this workshop to learn practical, experiential (and fun!) techniques to become a human being rather than a human doing, to HEAL (acronym) – intentionally  choose, feel and internalise positive experiences into cell memories – from mind, to brain, to body.

More information on Neuroplasticity

Short biography:

Dr Arien van der Merwe MBChB (Pretoria) NHA (SA) RSPH (UK) MISMA (London)

Dr Arien van der Merwe is a medical doctor, specialising in workplace wellness, mind-body and integrative, natural medicine, stress management and longevity. Dr Arien is an internationally renowned holistic health expert, health coach and bestselling author, a well-known and experienced public speaker, facilitator and trainer, internationally published author of 22 books and training manuals on health and wellness, and medical specialist in workplace health and wellbeing since 1998. Her latest book is ‘Managing Diabetes and Related Health Challenges’, published by Human & Rousseau and available at bookshops and from her online health shop. She also wrote (among others) ‘Stress Solutions’ and developed the accompanying relaxation CD, ‘Stress Solutions: Relax and Unwind’.

Dr Arien recently developed the Timeless DNA™ Youthful Living Program with courses and online programs to entertain, enlighten and educate people on how to become a healthy, happy 120 years of age (our natural lifespan!) embodying the concept of beauty within, beauty without and beauty of being, using the innate ability of the brain to remould itself through the concept of neuroplasticity.

She is registered by the Natural Healers Association (NHA) as Trainer and Ethno-Medicine Practitioner in the field of Traditional Health Care, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH – London) and Member of the International Stress Management Association (MISMA), UK branch.

Arien has recently developed and registered her own online course ‘Optimal Health & Wellbeing in 12 Weeks’, 2 online courses for Educate24: ‘Practical Stress Management’ and ‘Your Health and Wellness’, an online accredited CPD Course for medical and other health practitioners: ‘Practical Stress Management’ (30 CPD points), as well as another 2 Continued Professional Development (CPD) contact courses for registered medical practitioners: ‘An Integrative Approach to Managing Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome’; and ‘An Integrative Holistic Approach to Medicine’.

Dr Arien writes for, and consults regularly, for many real time and online magazines and newspapers in South Africa, and appears in countless national radio and TV shows (e.g. Real Health and kykNET) as guest. Arien is the Director of Health Stress Management Gauteng (Pty) (Ltd) and Co-owner (with Anri van der Merwe) of Ariani Health Solutions, based in Faerie Glen, Pretoria and online (