How the Brain Maps the Body
By Steve Haines
Why do people feel pain in a hand that has been amputated? There is a paradox of reduced signals being interpreted as an increase in pain.
The brain does strange things in the absence of accurate, sustained, sensory information. It fills the hole in the body map with pain. This is confirmed by studies showing that people with long-term lower back pain actually receive less sensory information from their lower backs. If this cycle is not broken, we learn to get better and better at feeling pain.
When we are in pain most of us try and limit the amount of sensation we are feeling. We should do the reverse; feel as many other sensations alongside the pain as possible. Break the pain cycle by enhancing the mind and body connection. Increase your body awareness and get more in touch with the multitude of signals being sent out by your body. There is always more to feel than pain.
Instead of the brain guessing, we can reteach the brain the real state of the body. The natural plasticity of the neurons will use enhanced, accurate signals to create new connections and unlearn the pain habit. This understanding is essential to biodynamic craniosacral therapy.
At the heart of cranial work is the development of meditative body awareness, supported by the gentle touch of the therapist. The work feeds the brain useful information and allows it to form the accurate body maps essential for health.