How the Brain and the Body Cooperate, Part 1: Why I keep touching my clients that much

Lately, I’ve been noticing one phenomenon in my clients – a distorted body perception. Possible reasons where this might come from are complex and could make a separate article, maybe next time 😊. You might say, „What nonsense is this, I know where my arm is!“, But are you really so sure?

Apart from altered body perception (you may also have encountered the term „body awareness), my clients did not have much in common – one suffers from migraines, the other experiences pain between the shoulder blades, the third has a sore toe (and scattered statics of standing and walking dynamics, but that is what I can see) and this is how I could go on. During the interview and diagnostics (both are extremely important to me, because the problem may come from a different spot than it seems at the first glance) we find out that some movement stereotype or „just“ static setting are not optimal. Therefore, muscle imbalances and uneven joint load are created. I see! But why? Further tests and therapeutic experiments will reveal that this segment is a kind of „a gray zone“ for the client. I keep hearing things like, “Where’s my shoulder blade now? I cannot feel it at all.” Or „This is somehow different than I’m used to, but I can’t really describe what and how it’s different. “

The control of the whole human body is based on a complex system of feedback. But simply, „the output depends on the input.“ This means that only the correct initial setting creates the correct movement pattern. If the input is insufficiently functional or altered in some way, then the result cannot be correct. It is as if there is a malfunction of the photocopier’s reading unit – you can put a picture of a horse in, but a goat will come out.

Okay, so a perception disorder of position, movement or muscle activity… But what can we do about that? The part of the body that has been displaced or neglected by the brain for various reasons must be brought back to attention and re-incorporated into the so-called body-scheme (the inner image of my body in my brain). Each area of the human body has its place in the cerebral cortex (you may have come across the term „homunculus“ – a little man), in which all information about this segment is concentrated and from where this segment is controlled.

It is therefore very important to change the input, simply to show the brain „here is the shoulder blade and this is how it would like to lie on her chest.“ Touches are a very powerful tool for this. A simple touch of the therapist’s palms on the client’s body. That’s why I touch my clients so much. Contact with the skin results in a massive stimulation of receptors in the area and the segment is brought to the attention of the brain. Subsequently, I guide the given segment to various positions, I show it what range of movement is possible and I am looking for the optimal setting in the given segment (joint) but also within the whole body. First, I set the posture („basic setting“) and then I guide the segment into the optimal movement pattern. All this in constant contact of my palms with a given part of the client’s body. Sometimes people joke with me that I dance with them during therapy, well, my dancing history probably can’t be denied. But I think I benefit a lot from it 😊.

By changing the perception of the body, one can make a big progress in changing movement stereotypes, and therefore in solving not only problems with pain, balance, overload but much more. Clients leave and say, “Suddenly I feel like I have that arm connected to my body. It sounds weird, but do you understand me?” I do understand, that’s exactly the feeling we should have all the time and about all parts of the body. Because our body is an interconnected unit. No movement has its origin in only one segment. But that is another topic as well, next time…

Changing body perception is very important, but only the first step. What’s next? Read more later in the second part. And until then… Where is your shoulder blade now?

Michaela Krákorová



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