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Steve and Ged talking away on fascia, is the body more than cells, the nature of the self, can we sense across a room and why is it hard to meditate on a plane? All essential questions.

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Self touch improves the picture of our body in the brain and reduces the experience of pain (Results from new study in Current Biology)

Below is a link to a really interesting article on how representation of the body affects the experience of pain. The is very affirming of the importance of working with dissociation to improve health.

In this study the results show the pain is reduced more if people self touch rather than them being touched. I wonder/hope that the combination of body awareness work we do in biodynamic craniosacral therapy, plus the skilful nature of biodynamic touch, would trigger the experience of ‘coherent whole’ that seems to affect pain.

“We showed that levels of acute pain depend not just on the signals sent to the brain, but also on how the brain integrates these signals into a coherent representation of the body as a whole.

Self-touch provides strong evidence to the brain about the correlation of sensory information coming from different parts of the body.

This helps to give us the experience of our body as a coherent whole.”

Click here to read the full article  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11399254

Really good interview with stephen porges………

Amazing footage of an operation to repair a cerebrospinal fluid [CSF] leak. In some patients, the CSF may start leaking spontaneously. This type of leakage occurs into the ear or the sinuses. In this surgical video, you will see the repair of a spontaneous CSF leakage that originated in the posterior fossa. This surgery is performed by Dr. Hamid R. Djalilian, director of otology, neurotology, and skull base surgery. Notice the introduction of fascia and bone wax to help seal the leakage.

http://youtu.be/2HjSTAB6dqM

Check the first two or three minutes of this spinal cord operation. Before the dura is opened you can see the csf  (and cord?) moving through the membrane (around 0.30 plus). When the dura and then arachnoid is opened the flow of csf is clearly visible (around 2.10 to 3.00 plus)

This is a view of the exposed thoracic spinal cord with an abnormal vessel. As the surgeon cuts the abnormal vessel, you can see the pulsing of csf around the cord.

(Thanks to Ciara Dhiomasaigh, biodynamic craniosacral therapist in Galway, for the latter video)

Here’s a great article on pain and the brain science behind the latest discoveries which appeared in the New Zealand Listener and is part of a growing awareness around pain mechanisms in the public domain. The article includes a piece on the neuroscientist V Ramachandran.

A revolution in brain science has led to the discovery of new ways to stop persistent pain.

Ken Ng was 12 when he had his left leg amputated below the knee to stop the spread of bone cancer. It was the start of a long journey of pain. Phantom sensations from his amputated limb haunted him as a teenager, including stabbing sensations and a vice-like constriction around his stump. It got worse when he moved to Wellington to begin studying for his law degree. By 2009, the sensations flooding in from his absent limb were consuming him. 

Each day he downed a succession of prescription painkillers – codeine, tramadol, Neurofen and Voltaren. “I couldn’t really study any more, I couldn’t sit my exams. It made me introverted, I didn’t want anything to do with people. I wasn’t eating, I stopped going to lectures and the tramadol was making me hallucinate.” Ng sought help from his GP, who referred him to Capital & Coast District Health Board’s pain clinic. Luckily for Ng, the clinic had just begun to offer a simple but revolutionary new therapy, which recognises that some types of chronic pain are caused not by tissue damage but by changes in the wiring of the brain. Ng started his treatment with two weeks of computer exercises looking at pictures of right and left legs, and then began mirror therapy.

Ng’s occupational therapist, Maria Polaczuk, seated him with a large mirror positioned upright between his legs so it reflected his whole right leg. “All I could see was two bare normal legs. I massaged my right foot with my hands, manipulated it up and down. I was getting a sense of what a foot felt like.” As he looked at this reflected whole leg in the mirror, where usually he would see an amputated limb, something strange started to happen. “The tingling painful sensation in my stump started to fade and become less prominent.”

After two weeks of mirror exercises, four times a day, the phantom pain disappeared altogether. Now 22, Ng has been able to stop taking painkillers. He has had one brief attack of phantom pain, after a period of stress, but apart from that he experiences only the more routine discomfort of pressure on his stump from his prosthesis. Mirror therapy is one byproduct of a great leap forward in science’s understanding of pain and how it is manufactured in the human brain.

A decade and a half of brain imaging has found that although tissue damage is very important in determining pain, it is not the only ingredient. When you injure part of your body, an alarm goes off in the central nervous system in the spinal cord and brain. The brain constructs the pain experience by assessing not just the injury but also thoughts, feelings, context, beliefs, expectations, past experiences and genetics. Any of these factors can turn the volume up or down on pain. These other factors can also influence whether the brain’s pain system becomes stuck on high alert in the long term, even when an initial injury has subsided. Some 700,000 New Zealanders, or one in six, suffer from chronic pain. This is pain that has lasted for three months or more; arthritis and back pain are two common types.

Click here for more:

http://www.listener.co.nz/lifestyle/health/no-pain-big-gain/

‘Pain is 100% all the time produced by the brain’

After 3 to 6 months tissue damage will be repaired – chronic pain is from the brain

‘You can retrain the brain’

 

 

Here’s a wonderful article from Time Healthland Ezine revealing how the brain loses consciousness. It looks like the brain functions as a whole or a cluster of relationships and that consciousness is a product of the whole rather than residing in one place like a seat of consciousness – which sits nicely in a holistic model of consciousness being an outcome of cell communication. Read on…

“What happens to your brain as it slips into unconsciousness? A new technique allows researchers to view real-time 3-D images of a patient undergoing anesthesia using the drug propofol, and the findings show that consciousness isn’t suddenly switched off, but rather fades as though a dimmer is being dialed down.

The research also suggests that consciousness resides in the connections between multiple parts of the brain, not in any single region. The images show that changes in the anesthetized brain start in the midbrain, where certain receptors for a neurotransmitter called GABA are plentiful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Below are some interesting quotes on CSF flow from recent research using new computer modelling of CSF flow in the third ventricle from MRI scans. There are also some great images on the site of Dr Vartan Kurtcuoglu. (Many thanks to GP Visser, dentist and current student on the current CTET training, for pointing out the papers.)

‘Unlike the cardiac system, there is no dedicated pump, such as the heart, that directly drives the CSF flow. The CSF is propelled in a pulsatile manner, primarily due to brain motion caused by the expansion and contraction of cerebral blood vessels. Superimposed on this motion is flow generated by the secretion of CSF by the choroid plexus in the ventricles at the center of the brain and cerebrospinal fluid absorption, predominantly at the arachnoid villi in the subarachnoid space that surrounds the brain (Davson and Segal, 1996). Additional drainage into the blood-stream is purported to occur through the cerebral extracellular space (Greitz, 1993).’ (Kurtcuoglu et al 2007)

‘The CSF further serves as an intermediary between blood and nervous tissue, providing the latter with nutrients and removing waste products. Recent research shows that the cerebrospinal fluid flow is much more important than previously believed. For example, the pituitary gland and hypothalamus communicate through the CSF and new neurons follow the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the adult brain.’ (Kurtcuoglu 2011)

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Sources of information into the deep brain centres that control our primitive reflexes to being overwhelmed

We can frame three essential principles on how the nervous system works that are relevant to cranial work:

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