15 Mar

The complexity of neural networks arises from the intricate patterns of connections between neurons. Neurons form extensive networks and establish connections, creating a vast web of communication pathways via electrical signals called action potentials and chemical signals, through the binding of neurotransmitters to receptors, leading to changes in its electrical state. This can either depolarize the neuron, making it more likely to fire an action potential (excitatory effect) or hyperpolarize it, making it less likely to fire (inhibitory effect). These binding initiates electrical signals in the postsynaptic neuron, continuing the transmission of information through the network. Hebb’s law states, “Neurons that fire together wire together.”  Different neurotransmitters have specific effects and can modulate various physiological processes and behaviors, such as cognition, emotion, movement, and sensory perception.  Some of the neurotransmitters include acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate, among many others. As a result, transmission and processing of information occurs enabling complex cognitive processes such as perception, learning, memory, and decision-making. 

The brain consists of various regions and structures, including the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, limbic system, and brainstem, which house different networks responsible for specific functions. For example, the prefrontal cortex is involved in executive functions and decision-making, the visual cortex processes visual information, and the hippocampus is crucial for memory formation, retrieval, and encoding. The spinal cord is a long, cylindrical bundle of nerves that extends from the brainstem and runs down the back. While not typically referred to as a neural network, the spinal cord plays a vital role in transmitting signals between the brain and the body, it is primarily afferent, meaning seventy-five percent of the information is from the body to the brain. It contains circuits and networks responsible for reflexes and coordinated movements.  

The peripheral nervous system includes the nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord. It comprises two major divisions: the somatic nervous system, meaning the body distinct from the mind, and the autonomic nervous system, meaning automatic. The somatic nervous system controls voluntary movements and sensory information, while the autonomic nervous system regulates involuntary processes such as heart rate, digestion, and breathing. While not a traditional neural network, the cardiac system contains its own neural cells and networks anywhere from forty thousand and one hundred and fifty thousand neurons. It is also known as intrinsic cardiac ganglia or intracardiac ganglia, which are specialized clusters of neurons located within the heart. They are part of the autonomic nervous system, which controls the involuntary functions of the body, including heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac muscle contraction. The sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate and contractility, while the parasympathetic nervous system decreases heart rate and has a calming effect on the heart. While rest and digestion are associated with parasympathetic states and fight, flight, and freeze are associated with sympathetic dominance. The coordination of heartbeat and the adjustment of heart rate in response to physiological needs and emotional states.

The enteric nervous system is often referred to as the “second brain” or the “gut-brain” and may consist of two hundred and fifty to five hundred million neurons. It is a complex network of neurons located within the walls of the digestive tract, from the esophagus to the rectum. The enteric nervous system governs the functions of the gastrointestinal system, including digestion, absorption, and motility also called peristalsis. It operates independently but communicates bidirectionally with the central nervous system, playing a role in gut-brain axis communication. These networks allow for information processing, coordination of bodily functions, and the generation of behaviors and experiences. By examining the connectivity and dynamics of neural networks, researchers seek to uncover the underlying mechanisms of brain function and explore how to disrupt maladaptive networks that can lead to serious neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Neuroplasticity is a fundamental property of the brain that allows it to form and strengthen neural connections, prune unused connections, and adapt to changes. It enables the brain to learn new skills, recover from injuries, and reshape its structure and function throughout the lifespan. Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis are influenced by various factors, including genetics, environment, behavior, and learning experiences. 

The multiple Brain Integration Technique (mBIT) was developed by Grant Soosalu and Marvin Oka. They introduced the concept and framework of mBraining in their book titled "mBraining: Using Your Multiple Brains to Do Cool Stuff," which was first published in 2012. Soosalu and Oka combined their expertise in fields such as behavioral modeling, cognitive linguistics, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which has gained attention and interest in the fields of coaching, personal growth, and neuroscience. There are many peer-reviewed research papers and studies that support the underlying principles and concepts utilized in training. These articles provide insights into areas such as multiple intelligences, embodied cognition, gut-brain communication, and the role of emotions and intuition in decision-making. It is important to consider training within the broader context of scientific research as ongoing exploration in the fields of neuroscience, cognitive science, and related disciplines is still in process.

Here are a few examples of related research: 

1.   "Embodied Cognition and Emotions: A Focus on the Role of Cognitive Representations" by P. N. Johnson-Laird (2003) - This paper explores the role of cognitive representations in understanding emotions and their impact on decision-making processes.

2.   "The Enteric Nervous System: A Second Brain" by M. Gershon (1998) - This paper discusses the enteric nervous system (often referred to as the "gut brain") and its role in gut-brain communication, including its influence on emotions and decision-making.

3.   "Interoception: The Sense of the Physiological Condition of the Body" by A. D. Craig (2003) - This paper explores the concept of interoception, which refers to the perception and awareness of internal bodily states, and its relevance to emotional experiences and decision-making processes.

4. "The Cognitive Neuroscience of Mind: A Tribute to Michael S. Gazzaniga" edited by P. S. Goldman-Rakic and M. S. Gazzaniga (2010) - This book covers various topics in cognitive neuroscience, including the neural basis of decision-making, cognitive functions of different brain regions, and the integration of cognitive and emotional processes.

The process of engaging in mBIT or mBraining typically involves various techniques and exercises that facilitate communication and alignment between the head, (cephalic neural network) heart, (cardiac neural network), and gut, (mesenteric neural network) intelligence. These techniques include self-reflection, visualization, meditation, breathwork, heart coherence, calming the autonomic nervous system, and inquiry. This process focuses on harmonizing and integrating the prime functions of each intelligence in a specific sequence for enhanced insight, intuition, and alignment with the individual's core values, resulting in the creation of one’s “highest expression.” These networks are believed to have unique prime functions and contribute to different aspects of the human experience.

The cephalic neural network refers to the neural connections and processing that occur within the head region, primarily involving the neocortex and the prefrontal cortex. This network is associated with cognitive functions, including logical reasoning, analysis, decision-making, and higher-order thinking. It is involved in tasks such as problem-solving, planning, language processing, and executive functioning. The cephalic neural network plays a crucial role in intellectual and cognitive processes. Example: When you engage in critical thinking to analyze a complex problem and come up with a solution, you are predominantly using your cephalic neural network. This network helps you process information, evaluate options, and make reasoned decisions based on available data and logical considerations. 

The cardiac neural network refers to the neural connections and processing that occur within the cardiac system. This network is associated with emotions, intuition, and relational intelligence. It is believed to have its own set of neural cells, allowing for the processing and generation of emotional responses. The cardiac neural network plays a role in emotional regulation, empathy, social connections, and non-verbal communication. The sympathetic cardiac neurons release norepinephrine, which binds to beta-adrenergic receptors in the cardiac muscle cells, leading to an increase in heart rate and contractility. On the other hand, the parasympathetic cardiac neurons release acetylcholine, which binds to muscarinic receptors on the cardiac muscle cells, causing a decrease in heart rate. Example: When you listen to your heart or follow your intuition, you are engaging your cardiac neural network. This network helps you tap into your emotions, empathize with others, and make choices based on your emotional and relational intelligence creating new neurochemical pathways and changes-neuroplasticity. 

The enteric neural network refers to the neural connections and is located in the digestive tract and associated with the gut. It is a fold of tissue that attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall. This neural network, also known as the enteric nervous system (ENS), is a division of the autonomic nervous system that controls the functions of the gastrointestinal tract. This network is often referred to as the "second brain" or "gut brain" and is involved in processes related to instincts, intuition, and body-based wisdom. The mesenteric neural network plays a role in gut feelings, somatic sensations, digestion, and the gut-brain axis, which involves bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain with the central nervous system. This communication is important for the regulation of gastrointestinal functions and the integration of gut-related sensations, such as hunger, satiety, and pain.
While some research suggests that gut instincts can be influenced by the signals sent from the gut to the brain, such as through the vagus nerve, the mechanisms underlying gut instincts are not fully understood. It is likely that a combination of factors, including sensory information from the gut, past experiences, and subconscious processing contribute to these feelings.  Example: When you experience a "gut feeling" about a situation or person and make decisions based on that intuitive sense, you are drawing on your mesenteric neural network. This network helps you access somatic sensations, intuition, and a deeper sense of what feels right or wrong for you.

The goals and practices of mBIT International and the newly formed mBIT North American Resource Group are centered around promoting and expanding the understanding and application of the mBIT approach. 

 Training and Certification: mBraining aims to provide training programs and certification courses for individuals who are interested in becoming mBIT coaches or practitioners. These programs were designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to apply mBIT techniques in coaching, personal development, and leadership contexts.

Research and Development: The organizations may have been involved in ongoing research and development efforts to further validate and refine the mBIT approach. This could include collaborations with researchers and experts in relevant fields to explore the scientific foundations and applications of multiple-brain integration.

 Global Outreach and Expansion: The organizations may have had plans to expand the reach and presence of mBIT worldwide. This could involve establishing partnerships and collaborations with individuals, organizations, and trainers in different countries to facilitate the dissemination of mBIT principles and practices.

Community Building and Support: mBraining International & mBraining North American Resource Group focus on building a community of mBIT practitioners and trainers, providing ongoing support, resources, and networking opportunities for individuals interested in mBIT. This could include online forums, events, book clubs, and social media platforms for knowledge sharing and collaboration. 

Applications in Various Fields: mBraining International & mBraining North American Resource Group may aim to explore and promote the application of mBIT in diverse domains, such as leadership, education, healthcare, and personal development. This could involve collaborations with professionals and organizations in these fields to integrate mBIT principles and techniques into existing practices.

The dynamic and transformative nature of mbraining- a process of being, thinking, and doing…. can facilitate information in new and exciting ways, forming representations not previously seen, and generating behaviors and outcomes that were blocked or stuck in the past. While mBraining simplifies the process and aims to make it accessible even to children, the underlying components offer insights into multiple intelligences within an individual and shifting relational interactions. By engaging in activities and processes that stimulate complex neural networks, such as mBraining; individuals can harness the maximum potential by integrating a specific sequence and integrate the prime functions of each brain to enhance learning, adapt to new circumstances, expand skill acquisition, accommodate, and integrate new information and experiences. Repetition and consistent practice can rewire default mode networks previously associated with habits, making them easier to perform over time, while in a coherent state for lasting change. By intentionally targeting and processing with mbraining, individuals can break unwanted habits and establish healthier ones, reshape circuits involved in emotional processing and regulation. Resulting in greater emotional resilience, improved stress management, approaching problem resolution with a fresh lens of multiple perspectives- “I really think, I truly feel, I deeply desire,” generating a sense of congruence within oneself. 

Written By: Nichole Oliver LPC, NCC, DAAETS

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