Brain-Based Balance Exercises

Brain-Based Exercises for Balance Enhancement:

You might ask, how do we create exercises that impact the brain? These exercises use our senses: touch, smell, sight, sound, taste, and the inner ear in specific patterns to get the desired outcome. This approach of combining exercises builds better neural pathways to influence balance. One of the best strategies for balance is performing brain-based exercises. Brain-based balance exercises include: vision (laser guided), sound (metronome), sensory (vibration/Stimpod/TENS), smell (essential oils), and balance integration (complex movements/metronome/Gravity Reset Method). It is important to know that the brain likes novel things and requires changes to continue to make new connections. Changing exercises creates more effective outcomes. Chiropractic neurologists use the term “What fires together wires together.” Layering multiple exercises together can create more information flow to the brain, thus enhancing brain function.

Activating the Cerebellum for Better Balance:

Our balance is mainly controlled by the cerebellum, our so-called “mini brain.” Although it is smaller than the cortex, it has the most neurons and controls balance. The cerebellum is best activated with complex movements. When we extend our arm out straight and then move in a number eight pattern as big as we can, it activates the same side. We can also add a metronome at the same time as we do the exercise to enhance the activity. Oftentimes people fall to the side that is weaker and doing complex movements on that side might assist in improving balance. How many should you do in a day? I would start out with 3-4 figure eights two times a day and build up to 6-8 times a couple times a day. Then evaluate if you have better balance on the weaker side. The cerebellum controls muscle movements, eye movements and thoughts as well. Thus, it is important to target the balance center and its communication to the rest of the brain.

Toe Strengthening Techniques:

Big toe strengthening is very important for balance. It is the single best predictor of fall risk. We can evaluate toe strength with a toe dynamometer to determine if you should strengthen your toes.

When the ToePro was used for strengthening, it led to a 35% increase in balance in 6 weeks. A study with 300 adults found those without fall risk indicators had 20% more toe strength. On the contrary, muscle strength in the lower body did not determine less fall risk.


Rising up on your toes and holding
repeating to the beat of a
metronome 30-60 seconds try a
couple sets to fatigue.

Pushing down on the edge of the
ToePro with your big toe. Hold then
relax after 20-30 seconds repeat try
a couple sets or until fatigued.

Toe Band Exercises

Big toe strengthening:

Hold a resistance band with your hand
while sitting and push your big toe
downward holding for 10 seconds
repeat 20 times for 2 sets or until

Toe strengthening:

Hold a resistance band with your hand
while sitting and push your toes
downward for 10 seconds repeat 20
times for 2 sets or until fatigued.

Laser Vision Therapy:

MotionGuidance® chart with laser
glasses and foam mat. Stand on
the mat with the laser glasses
target on central dot first hold 5
seconds then repeat upward,
downward and left and right while
maintaining balance. Balance can
be challenged more with following
the butterfly pattern. Try spending
5-10 minutes on therapy daily.

Halo headband while targeting
with laser therapy on a foam mat
or while doing steps left or right
while targeting. Turning on a
metronome and stepping to the
beat will enhance this therapy.

Stimpod Therapy 460:

Stimpod is a device used at a provider’s office to
activate nerves in the body. It has a
patented waveform that is delivered
through the nerves near the surface to
restore intra neural communications
pathways. It can dampen pain and
improve communication from the nerves
to the brain.

The manufacturer or StimPod has performed research on diabetic PN; you can also listen to podcast.

Optimizing Brain Fuel and Function:

In addition to brain-based exercises, fuel to the brain is very critical. It is like putting the right fuel in a race car. Important fuel to the brain include oxygen profusion and blood flow. Also, certain markers in labs may cause major impact. The deal breaker markers I look for include: anemia, blood sugar dysregulation, thyroid disease, inflammatory markers and vitamin D levels.

Supplements that can help support the body and influence our balance include:

For any further questions, please email [email protected].

I would like to thank the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy (FPN) for their outstanding dedication to both educating patients across the world in the specialty of neuropathy. It has been an honor to present and provide information for more applications of therapy at home and in the office.

LeeAnn Manoni, DC, DACNB

To find qualified practitioners in your area, visit (American Chiropractic Neurology Board).

Watch Dr. Manoni’s FPN webinar on “Alternative therapies that enhance balance.”

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