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The video below is another wonderful development of how pain works. There is a revolution in how researchers are framing pain over the last few years. As teachers in the cranial community we are trying hard to catch up. We have changed our essential reading list to include Painful Yarns by Lorimer Moseley and tweaked the Body Intelligence Training manuals and teaching to reflect these new understandings.

The good news is that much of the territory we have been exploring for many years. The video below gives some great science backing up the model of using WOSI (Weight Outline Skin and Inside) as a framework of exploring how people actually perceive their body and our general goal of being embodied.

The research on two point discrimination described about half way through is fabulous. Also the left right discrimination. In fact the whole thing is just great.

Osteoarthritis pain is at least as much about the perception in your brain as it is tissue damage to the joint:

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 18.17.40

You can access many of the papers here   http://www.bodyinmind.org/resources/journal-articles/  A really good start is scroll down to 2008 to: Moseley,GL (2008) I can’t find it!  Distorted body image and tactile dysfunction in patients with back pain. Pain 140,1 239-43.

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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

‘Ginsberg (1974) immobilized chicks, and then allowed one group to recover spontaneously, and one to recover, but with prodding and stimuli to terminate the freeze. These groups, along with a third group of chicks that had not been immobilized, were then tested for resiliency to avoid death by drowning. The group that had not been allowed to complete recovery from immobility died first, the group not exposed to immobility next, and the group that had spontaneously recovered from the freeze survived the longest. Clearly the experience of and the spontaneous recovery from freezing carries survival benefits, whereas not being allowed to go through this recovery process seemed to reduce resiliency to life threat.’ Scaer (2001)

This is a very powerful illustration of the innate ability of animals to recover from trauma. Natural/spontaneous recovery actually enhanced the drowning survival rates over the control group. We can transcend trauma and be stronger afterwards, but only if we engage the bodies natural healing mechanisms. Not my favourite philosopher, but Friedrich Nietzsche was right: ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger.’

The worst option is to interfere and block the natural processes of the body – in this experiment poking and prodding the chicks out of immobility. The chicks were immobilized by holding, the inescapable threat inducing the freeze response.

My experience of TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) has shown me that shaking is a natural part of recovery from trauma. Even though it can appear that people are falling apart when shaking, it is better to fall apart briefly, rather than hold on to a life time of chronic tension.

References

Ginsberg, H. (1974). Controlled vs noncontrolled termination of the immobility response in domestic fowl (Gallus gallus): parallels with the learned helplessness phenomenon, as quoted in Seligman, M. (1992) Helplessness: On depression, development and death, New York:W.H. Freeman

Nietzsche quote from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/friedrichn101616.html#ixzz1lKDnjPOs

Scaer R.C., (2001) The Neurophysiology of Dissociation and Chronic Disease. Published in: Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, (2001), 26(1), 73-91

With thanks to Riccardo Cassiani Ingoni for the reference and image – I saw Riccardo talk about the chick experiment at a TRE Level 1 course in London.

 

Amazing illustration of the mobilisation and immobilisation phases of the overwhelm response. Initially aggressive and quick, but when its head is trapped and there are no options for escape the snake goes limp and plays dead.

If you ask me, playing with snakes and spitting out the venom they have managed to spit into your mouth is slightly too interesting a way of earning a living. Just saying.

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