Why brain training is important


Dr. Martina Melzer, published: 09/26/23


Important notes in advance:

  • In so-called mind-body syndromes, abnormalities are often found in special examinations, but there is usually no organ or tissue damage.
  • Always have new symptoms thoroughly clarified by a doctor. It may be mind-body syndrome, but it may also be another disease, or it may be a combination of both.


You're in the pool for the first time as a child, wearing water wings, kicking and splashing in the water, quite awkward and afraid. Eventually, you move expertly through the water without thinking about it. You can swim. Nerve networks have formed in your brain that have stored all the movement patterns, breathing, etc. Your brain has learned to swim. This is neuroplasticity. Or in scientific terms, the ability of the central nervous system to change its structure, function, and the connections in its nerve networks in response to a stimulus.

Your brain learns a lot of useful things, but it also learns less helpful things. For example: Negative beliefs, fear of a lecture, fear of certain activities, movement, pain, body sensations, people, feelings. This also takes place through neuroplasticity. And this plays a central role in the different forms of mind-body syndrome.

Brain in survival mode

If you have a mind-body syndrome like ME/CFS, Long Covid, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Fibromyalgia, your brain has learned to go into survival mode extremely quickly or stay in it altogether. It classifies all sorts of stimuli as danger and activates your autonomic nervous system to prepare for fight, flight, freeze or shut down. And that makes for all sorts of symptoms - from fatigue to bloating to chronic pain.

What is brain training?

The term "brain training" is to be used synonymously with "brain retraining" or "brain rewiring" for people with mind-body syndrome.

Essentially, brain training is about making your brain realize that it doesn't have to be stuck in survival mode all the time, but is allowed to feel safe and calm again. It no longer has to be afraid of all kinds of stimuli or triggers that are actually harmless.

In my view, this is best achieved with a combination of different techniques. One speaks of the so-called top down approach, i.e. on a mental level. And one speaks of the so-called bottom up approach, i.e. on a physical level.

Which techniques help you best is something very individual.

In general, the following is important for brain training: practice a lot, be patient, don't build up pressure, and firmly believe in the effect.


Here is a little braintraining exercise from my program:


Important: The statements in this text are the result of my research from scientific studies, professional articles, books, courses, education and training as well as my own recovery process. I have done the best possible research, but nevertheless make no claim to accuracy. In science, something is considered a hypothesis until it is clearly proven (or disproven). That is then evidence, a fact. The statements in this text are a combination of hypotheses and facts.

Also, the content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for talking to your doctor or other therapist. Please talk to your doctor or therapist before making any decisions about your physical or mental health. Every way into a mind-body syndrome is something individual, and every way out.