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Dr. Schechter's Blog Blog 7: Mental Muscle Exercise and Neural Pathways

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Think Away Your Pain Blog, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. Think Away Your Pain Blog

    Think Away Your Pain Blog Automated blog by David Schechter, MD

    Originally posted: December 24, 2014

    Here's an interesting piece someone sent me:

    ATHENS, Ohio, Dec. 24 (UPI) — New research suggests muscles respond to simple thoughts of exercise; simply imagining exercise can trick the muscles into delaying atrophy and even getting stronger. It’s further proof that brain and body, which evolved together, are more intwined than separate.

    To demonstrate the power of the brain, researchers at Ohio University wrapped a single wrist of two sets of study participants in a cast — immobilizing their muscles for four weeks. One set was instructed to sit still and intensely imagine exercising for 11 minutes, five days a week. More than just casually daydream about going to the gym, participants were instructed to devote all of their mental energy towards imagining flexing their arm muscles.

    Obviously this is different work than eliminating chronic pain. But what was fascinating was the power of the brain to strengthen muscles with mental exercises. Previous studies have shown skill improvement with mental practice (free throw shooting in basketball), but this shows physiological changes in measured strength!

    Brain imaging showed changes suggesting neural pathways were strengthened as well.

    Again, further evidence of the power of the mind/brain and thought to change physical parameters, functions, and abilities. So you can Think Yourself to Strength... and Think Away Your Pain.
    Laudisco, North Star, Barb M. and 2 others like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    That Ohio University experiment would have driven me nuts.
    I just tell my mind that everything is okay and think away any pain or anxiety that way.
  3. Buckeye

    Buckeye Peer Supporter

    "Researchers also used magnetic imaging to isolate the area of the brain responsible for the specific arm muscles. Participants that imagine exercise not only had stronger arms but also a stronger brain; their mental exercises created stronger neuromuscular pathways"

    Wouldn't it be interesting if this was the answer to how a kid can lift a 2 ton car when his grand dad is pinned under it? That the brain simply said "okay, you can do this" Now, they need to come out with how much mental exercise can replace 30 minutes of walking so I don't have to try to walk in the freezing cold. :)
    North Star likes this.
  4. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Stories like this are not surprising to those who believe that consciousness creates matter and not the other way around.
    North Star and Tennis Tom like this.
  5. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Milton Erickson, the psychiatrist, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, who revolutionized Western psychotherapy, used these "mental rehearsal" techniques to recover from paralysis caused by polio. Quite an amazing story of what he accomplished with his mind on himself and then the techniques he developed to help others by getting at what was going on in their unconscious minds.
    North Star and IrishSceptic like this.
  6. DocDave

    DocDave TMS Physician and Author

    The truth of this work can be seen as its connections to so many different disciplines, philosophies, practices ancient and modern, and neuroscience are being revealed.
    North Star and IrishSceptic like this.
  7. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    its kind of an ancient inherent wisdom that has been forgotten.
    Think of it like this. Many centuries ago in tribal conditions people lived as nature intended. In tight social groupings and eating food from the ground.
    There was no outer awareness of the outside world and so they became intimately aware of their own bodies.
    Whilst I'm not calling for a return to those times I'm thinking of the impact global communications/technology has had on the human psyche. For instance the 'celeb culture' is one example where men and women are made to feel inferior on an almost daily basis.
    People back then were much more sophisticated in emotional/physical awareness of their bodies in my view.
    For instance I listened to a psychologist explain how some tribes have almost zero instances of psychological disorders like depression. When they do occur, what happens?
    the whole tribe comes around that person and show them unconditional love and encouragement. we could learn a hell of a lot from so called savages.
    Instead we prescribe a pill and send the person to a total stranger to talk to. We define the pathology(chemical imbalance) without considering external factors that may have altered that pathology.
    Many of us are emotionally stunted as a result of upbringings that focus on educational attainment, achieving their parents dreams instead of focusing on developing the human.
    That is slowly but surely changing thanks to the likes of DocDave.
    North Star and Tennis Tom like this.
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    There is a movie that is one of my favorites that illustrates your point very well called Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling.
    North Star likes this.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    One of my best friends is considering divorce from his wife after 25 years.
    I only heard his side, but have noticed myself over the years that she is apparently
    in a power struggle with him over domination. He's an easygoing guy and not dominating her,
    but I think she misinterprets his gentleness and noncomfrontation as weakness.

    I love the movie "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" in which William Holden tells
    Jennifer Jones that he thinks he is not a strong person, and she replies that one of the
    strongest things in anyone is their gentleness.
  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for the great thread, Doc Dave. I'm halfway through your book right now so I love seeing your posts here and am grateful you're involved with our little TMS family.

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