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Do We Really Use Just 10% of our Brains?

The enduring myth says that we only use 10% of our brains with 90% standing by for spare capacity. 75% of the public and 50% of science teachers have believed this myth. In the 1890’s William James, the father of American Psychology, said that most of us do not meet our mental ability.

He meant this as a challenge to encourage us to develop ourselves mentally. This, together with science’s inability to understand the role of our massive frontal lobes, resulted in most people misunderstanding James and believing that we do not use most of our brain. This could not be further from the truth.

Consider the percentage of total body energy the brain uses. Dogs and rats use 5% of total body energy to run their brains. Primates use 10% of body glucose and the human brain (2% of body mass) uses 20% of all available energy. Children use 50% of energy and infants use 60% to run their brain activity.

The human brain contains more neurons than any other species

The human brain contains more neurons than any other species

On a weight basis the human brains contain more neurons than any other species. We have 86 billion neurons, 40% more than an ape.

Half the energy we use in the brain is consumed pumping chemicals from one part of the brain to the other. This resets the chemicals which move in and out of the nerve coating to send nerve signals. Once a signal has passed through the nerve the chemicals need to be reset.

As we use so much energy just to keep the brain in a state of readiness, there is much less energy left for the nerves to ‘get things done’. It would therefore be impossible to fire all the nerves of the brain at the same time; we need a way of saving energy.

By firing only the necessary parts of the brain at any one time, a process called ‘Sparse Coding’, we can carry the most information using the least energy.

In the human brain, between 1 and 16% of brains cells should be active at any one time for the most efficient use of energy. One way of saving energy is to allow many functions to occur below the conscious level, using less energy but allowing us to perform many things at the same time.

Another way that we use less brain energy, just as we may use a road network to travel from Norwich to London, is in selecting the quickest way to travel depending on traffic and other conditions. Nerves also seek out the most efficient route of travel. So far from only using 10% of the brain, we really do use all of the brain at some point.

The brain, as well as all nerve tissue, will develop strong, reliable pathways when used often. This is why chiropractic care works so well.

Chiropractic adjustments have a powerful ‘resetting’ effect on the nervous system, retuning the brain to accept nerve signals and clearly understand them. As good nerve signals often choose pathways that control other positive functions of the body such as increased immune system or improve healing rates – clients often report that they have better body functions, healing rates and sleep patterns as well as a reduction in symptoms such as pain.

The more we use a variety of nerve functions the more our body’s display overall improved function. If a path is walked along regularly it becomes clear, so much so that two can walk abreast and eventually a bike or a small car can drive along it. This is the same with nerve signals.

Far from using only 10% of our brains we use 100% of our brains, only not at the same time.

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