“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~ Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Physiological laws are of great importance when addressing the brain / body connection. Over the next few months, we will examine and simplify each of the laws so that you have a better understanding about what is happening in your body during a pain episode – acute or chronic. Through the lens of these physiological laws, you will better understand how massage and targeted movement will treat your pain.
Let’s start with my favorite law:
#1: Law of Facilitation
Daily, there are thousands of decisions that your brain makes without your conscious and willing participation. You may like to think that there’s always a choice to be made; that we have control over our brain and our body. While in many ways that is true, it is false in one big way: neural pathways.
What do I mean by neural pathways? A neural pathway connects regions within the brain to one another or conveys information from the peripheral nervous system to the brain. Neural pathways relay sensation to the brain or carry signals for movement to the body, or from it.
When an impulse has passed once through a certain set of neurons to the exclusion of others, it will tend to take the same course on future occasions, and each time it traverses this path the resistance will be smaller; the passage of these neural impulses become even easier for all succeeding impulses. This is known as the Law of Facilitation.
The decrease or absence of resistance creates an automated response. When the brain no longer has to weigh its options and there are no obstacles, the pattern is created.
We see this automated response happen throughout our lives. How many times have you driven to work and then said, “Wow, how did I get here?” The same is true when it comes to the transference of pain messages from the brain to the body… it becomes an automated response to internal or external stressors.
Bodywork and a conscious change in movement and daily activities will disrupt that neural pathway and help you to create new pathways that will ultimately change the message.
It is of great importance to treat pain at the onset. Listen to your body. The more you actively disrupt that neural messaging, the less pain and overall stress you will experience.
The next time you feel that familiar pain coming on, give me call. We’ll discuss your treatment options and determine the best way to detour those pain messages.
Ready to learn how to hack your brain? Listen to this short podcast to learn how to create new neural pathways – and ultimately form new habits and break old patterns.
IMAGE CREDIT: Peak Teams