A Definition of Somatoneurophysiology ™

Image describing the components of somatoneurophysiology

The term somatoneurophysiology, while seemingly a very complex word, comprises three elements and shows the inextricable link between unconscious feedback (sensation) from body wall/structures (such as joints and muscles) and the resulting impact on whole-of-body function.

It borrows from the huge field of psycho-neruo-immunology which describes the power of mind and mental activity on the function of our nervous and immune systems.

Our colleague Dr James Chestnut from Canada coined the term (concept) somatoneurophysiology™

Elsewhere on this site we have discussed in some detail the effects of the fear/protection 'stress' reaction on the body and how different domains of stress can begin or maintain that reaction in your body. 

In the same article we have outlined the power of the human mind to shut off this reaction through the power of positive conscious thinking processes, mental activity, thoughts and beliefs, or indeed to begin or maintain this reaction through negative thinking processes, mental activity, thoughts and beliefs. 

While this is really important and useful for all of us to know (and realise that we have the power to change how our body works through our conscious action or effort) it is also important to understand that the vast majority of the ‘input’ that our brain deals with is unconscious – that is, it gets processed (and responses generated) by areas of our brain below our conscious awareness.

There is now clear research supporting the idea that the brain pathways which activate or shut off the stress reaction in response to both ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ thinking processes, can be similarly turned on or off through brain-processing of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ unconscious ‘body feedback’ arriving from the body and being processed automatically without us ever being aware.

This is somatoneurophysiology – the explicit link between body feedback (somato) and the resulting input and output to and from the brain (neuro) and hormonal system resulting in change to control of whole-body function (physiology).

It means that how our body is working, moving, living and the positions it is being held in have a direct impact/effect on our level of health and wellbeing.

This is one pathway that explains the value of regular chiropractic care – improving the flow of what can be called ‘positive body thoughts,’ on the function and control systems of the brain.

This can be further enhanced by addressing other physical and chemical factors or potential stressors in the body (examples being postural micro-trauma or inflammation) which that can also directly feed these neurophysiological pathways.

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