The Benefits and the Research

  Let’s see…

According to Spaulding, et. al (2010), Brain Gym claims that Dennison, founder of Brain Gym, states it has a “sound basis in neuroscience”(2006, p.1).  Brain Gym International prefers evidence of the program’s success be derived from countless anecdotes and personal testimonies claiming amazing results by BG users. 

UshaGoswami (2006) explains that Dennison tries to convince the lack of research is the result of a “gulf between neuroscience and education”.  His seminars simply “bridge the gulf” while neuroscience catches up withdevelopment of criteria for identifying who could benefit from this program.

Kathleen Vail’s in the American School Board Journal (March, 2006) discusses the research connecting physical activity and fitness to academic success.  She states, “There is absolutely an association with grades and fitness levels…math in particular” (p. 31).  Furthermore, she makes reference to Brain Gym International as “exercises that focus, relax, and stimulate the brain” (p. 32. ) Within the article, author Carla Hannford compares Brain Gym movements with those of Tai Chi, that “twisting and crossing arms or legs…encourage the brain’s right and left hemispheres to work together” (p. 32).  She claims a significant change in students’ behaviour as calmer and focused.

None of the above examples are research based on the effectiveness of Brain Gym.  Actually this author was an unsuccessful at finding empirical evidence supporting Brain Gym’s claims.  At best, anecdotal examples referred to using Brain Gym strategies more for classroom management.

Hyatt, K. J. (2007, April 1). Brain gym:  Buildng stronger brains or wishful thnking? Remedial and Special Education, 28(2), 117-124.

Spaulding, L. S., Mostert, M. P., & Beam, A. P. (2010, March 1). Is brain gym an effective educational intervention? Exceptionality, 18(1), 18-30.

Usha, G. (2006, April 1). Neuroscience and education:  From research to practice? Nature Reviews Neurocience, 7, 406-413. Retrieved September 27, 2011, from

Vail, K. (2006, March). Mind and body.American School Board Journal, pp. 30-33.


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