I recently received a newsletter from Terry Small and his “Brain Bulletin”. I love learning about the brain. This is a study that he wrote about in his latest issue:
Your brain is so powerful you can literally think yourself fit!
So says a study from Manchester University. Three groups were asked to take part in a fascinating study. One group was asked to do a muscular pushing activity for a month, a second group was asked to imagine, vividly, doing the exercises, a third group was asked to do nothing.
What do you think happened? The first group increased strength by 33%, the second group 16%, the third group did not improve. So why did the second group improve? Neuroscientists believe that it is not what is happening in your muscle but in your brain! If you can improve the neural input to your muscle, you can recruit more muscle fiber and exert more force.
That makes me think…if you can think your muscles stronger, what else can you think yourself into? Why not think yourself healthier? Why not think your pain away? Why not think your lungs clean? Why not think your immune system stronger than any virus or bacteria that attacks you? Why not think your mind at peace?
Easier said than done, I know. And the results from just thinking weren’t as good as the group that actually did the strengthening exercises. So, you still need to do something.
I have one patient who came in for a series of acupuncture sessions to help relieve some issues of pain. She had great results from acupuncture. But I expect that. What I found most amazing was that she would imagine herself receiving acupuncture and feeling her muscles relax and the pain fade away when she was on the bus, sitting at work, walking to the store, whenever she needed it. This worked wonders for her. And I just chatted with her again recently and more than a year later, it still works for her!
Acupuncture can elicit powerful sensations. Some people feel sleepy. Some feel heavy. Some feel like they are floating. Today a patient told me that he felt like his body was connected by licorice strings! He could feel how one part of his body was connected to another by a thin line. “Just like acupuncture channels (meridians),” I said.
And, of course, there are also some patients who simply feel better than they’ve felt in a long, long time.
These are memorable, physical and emotional feelings that people can draw upon to play back when they need to.
Have you ever been able to think yourself healthier?