I was introduced to a love for the brain and all that we know it can achieve at the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) in Quebec City, ON. David Butler, with all of his charisma and charm, took the stage and gave a brilliant demonstration of a rewiring practice using touch and imagination. It was simplistic but powerful. He then started talking about the brain. His focus was on glial cells, and at the time that was a term that I had never heard of. Since then I have developed a greater appreciation for glial cells and their function in our daily health and wellness.
According to Doidges, 85% of the brain is made up of glial cells; the rest are neurological cells. So when we use to say that you would only use 10% of your brain, we were not that far off. What do these glial cells do and why are there so many of them in the brain?
Glial cells are essentially the immune system of the brain. I liken the glial system to the lymphatic system. The main focus is to remove wastes and toxins through the cerebral spinal fluid. According to Nedergaard, the glial cells are up to 10 times more active when you are asleep.
What does all this mean and how does it affect your clinical practice? First, the immune system is essential to the health of the neurological system. When you are working with anyone that needs a greater cognitive capacity than their current presentation, a significant approach would be to ensure the glial cells are working at a 100% to help decrease any potential of toxin buildup.
Steps to improving neuro-immune health:
- Decrease know neurotoxins including smoking and alcohol.
- Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables that are free of pesticides and toxins.
- Less conventional animal fat and more wild caught or grass-fed animals.
- Decrease substances that have a high relationship with autoimmunity i.e. gluten.
- Have a higher fat diet.
- Most importantly, get plenty of rest. Nothing else will be as effective without the activation of the glial system by rest.
Would you add anything?
Clinical Fellowship Instructor
The North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy
About the Author
Rajesh is a Physical Therapist, who is passionate about health and wellness. He is interested in all aspects of general well being including fitness, nutrition and mindfulness. He continues to learn and grow from the profession he loves.
If this article is helpful to you or you would like to get more information, please do not hesitate to contact him at email@example.com