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Stress, Sensory Input And Fascia

Updated: Jun 2, 2019


Stress can sometimes have fatal results on our bodies. Our boss, our partner, traffic, financial situation, colleagues, neighbors, clients, our own family, circumstances and this are just the outer reasons. All of these can bring our cortisol level up and cause a variety of different body reactions and, bad as it may sound, this is just one part of the picture.

In reality, there is another part that need to be include. Everything we perceive, every information or input go through our neuroreceptor, nervous system and is filtered through the lens of our psyche.


The lens is the one which filter to what we give attention to and in what way and it’s also the one that stimulates our bodily individual, specific and unique reactions according to what it perceives. All this is very much determined on the way this lens was shaped in us base our core beliefs, life experiences, traumas, cultural heritage and life modes.

Here is an example I’ve got from Dr. Gabor Maté during his workshop I attended last week: If your boss or partner will tell you; “you are a green bush”, what kind of reaction does it stimulate in you? While if the same person will tell you; “you are always late.” What does that stimulate in you?

Both of these messages might be completely wrong, but one doesn’t mean anything to me and the other does trigger in me something. That trigger activates the release of cortisol and now all my system is activated and under stress. What determines my reaction to one and not the other are my past experiences, core beliefs, and everything that my personal lens contain.

Our central nervous system receives its greatest amount of sensory input from myofascial tissues. Recent findings from the field of psychoneuroimmunology have uncovered additional confirmation that sympathetic activation causes fascial contractions. (Schleip, R ,153)

The Nervous and Fascial Systems are Inseparably Interwoven. (Schleip, R , 141)

One question that arise is, how our system rapidly regulate it self? Giving attention to one stimulus but not the other? perceive something as threat or trigger but not the other? And by doing that affect our brain, perception, fascia, muscles and even our thoughts.

From observation, we know that an animal’s rapid regulation system is capable of adapting to how the animal perceives its interaction with the environment. (Schleip, R ,140)

The inclusion of the nervous system in attempting to understand fascial responsiveness is hardly a new concept altogether. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy, wrote more than a century ago:

The soul of man with all the streams of pure living water seems to dwell in the fascia of his body. When you deal with the fascia, you deal and do business with the branch offices of the brain, and under the general corporation law, the same as the brain itself, and why not treat it with the same degree of respect. (Still, A.T. 1899)

When we do integration work, we work with these different parts. From my personal experience, working just on my body always ended up in my default body position, movement pattern, pains and old ways of being. Only when I did integration work, where my nerves system, emotions, experiences and trauma were address and integrated, only then my body changes last and my way to perceive stress, life and myself changed with it.

“When you shut down emotion,

You’re also affecting your immune system,

Your nervous system.

So the repression of emotion,

Which is a survival strategy,

Then becomes a source of physiological illness later on.”

Gabor Mate Want to know more?

References

Schleip, R. (2012). Fascia as a sensory organ. A target of myofascial manipulation. Book Chapter in: Dalton, E (2012) Dynamic Body – Exploring Form, Expanding Function. Oklahoma City, OK: Freedom from Pain

Institute, 137 - 163.

Still, A.T. (1899). Philosophy of Osteopathy. Kirks- ville, MO: Academy of Osteopathy.

Schleip, R. (2000). Lichtblicke im Dschungel der Gehirnforschung. FeldenkraisZEIT, 1, 47-56.

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