The term ‘body thoughts’ has been coined to simplify somewhat complex neurological terminology and make these topics easier to understand.
The concept of a positive thought is obvious.
We understand what it is, and elsewhere on this site we have explained the brain pathways by which they directly reduce the stress reaction in our body and move us toward a state of health and homeostasis.
The concept of a positive ‘body thought’ has been coined to give the same easy understanding to the effect of a primary type of feedback from the body to the brain.
Just like positive thoughts, this feedback is both a ‘required nutrient’ for brain function, but it is also able to immediately dampen or shut off the stress response in the body!
The feedback in technical terms is called proprioception and fully half of the spinal cord is dedicated to sending this type of feedback and this type ONLY, up to the brain.
To read more about the neurological rationale for how these ‘body thoughts’ impact our health, and how chiropractic can help to improve challenges arising from this, read the following rationale here.
Usually these messages remain completely unconscious and are responded to without any awareness by you!
Movement of the spine is the primary ‘creator’ of these messages, they pass up special dedicated pathways in the spinal cord, and then directly affect our ‘little brain’ (cerebellum), a vital area at the back of the brain that compares and then modifies physical, emotional, organ- and cognitive (thinking) functions.
This area of the brain has direct links to ‘control centres’ in the brain the amygdala and the hypothalamus). Through these connections, by influencing the control centres, positive body thoughts mimic or mirror the effects of positive thoughts – they reduce our stress response and move us toward a more healthful state.
Interestingly, just like the positive ‘body thoughts’ there is an equivalent negative ‘body thought’ that mimics and mirrors the effects of negative conscious thoughts and emotions – they trigger, increase or maintain our stress response which leads to ongoing adaptive physiology – a state where we are progressively moving further and further away from health.
The technical term for this feedback to the brain is ‘nociception’.
This also passes from spinal cord to cerebellum, and then triggers output by the amygdala, hypothalamus and other areas of the brain that lead us into stress response and away from homeostatic function.
Another critical thing to realize is that positive body thoughts ‘cancel out’ or prevent negative body thoughts from transmitting themselves along the spinal cord to the same degree!
(This is called pain-gating)