Like a thick velvety headband, the somatosensory cortex arcs across the best of brain from just previously mentioned just one ear to the other.
I fell in appreciate with the brain as an undergraduate pupil and pursued a profession in neuroscience, but for several years I had largely disregarded this structure, considering the fact that it appeared to be included “only” in processing of bodily sensations. In my brain, that meant it was not as fascinating as regions implicated in emotion or larger cognitive functionality.
Nevertheless, around the past 10 years, all through my schooling in mindfulness-dependent interventions and dance movement therapy, I have come to know that a very well-working and produced somatosensory cortex may perhaps assist us knowledge the world and ourselves far more deeply and fully. It could enrich our psychological practical experience and enhance our psychological health and fitness.
For many years, the somatosensory cortex was deemed to only be accountable for processing sensory info from different system parts. On the other hand, not too long ago it became apparent that this framework is also associated in different phases of emotion processing, which includes recognizing, making and regulating feelings.
Also, structural and functional changes in the somatosensory cortex have been observed in men and women identified with despair, nervousness and psychotic problems. These scientific tests suggest that the somatosensory cortex may perhaps be a procedure target for selected psychological wellbeing difficulties, as perfectly as for preventive measures. Some researchers have even prompt neuromodulation of the somatosensory cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation or deep mind stimulation.
Nonetheless, in advance of we determine to use an invasive technology, we may want to think about mindfulness-primarily based interventions, dance movement remedy or other physique-centered ways to psychotherapy. These approaches use the complete entire body to greatly enhance sensory, breath and movement recognition. All those variables can boost all round self-awareness, which contributes to advancement of mental health and fitness as a result of opportunity reorganization of the somatosensory cortex.
Useful significance of the somatosensory cortex
A single of the wonderful attributes of the somatosensory cortex is its pronounced plasticity—the potential to reorganize and enlarge with exercise (or atrophy without the need of observe). This plasticity is essential when we take into account mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy due to the fact, as outlined above, via working right with the body sensations and motion, we can modify the somatosensory cortex.
Yet another essential element is its several connections with other regions of the mind. In other words, the somatosensory cortex has a ability to have an impact on other brain areas, which in change affect other locations, and so on. The mind is heavily interconnected and none of its sections acts in isolation.
The somatosensory cortex gets information and facts from the full entire body, these types of that the still left part of the cortex procedures data from the proper aspect of the system and vice versa. However, the proportion of the cortex devoted to a individual element of the entire body relies upon on its practical importance rather than its actual physical sizing.
For case in point, a massive proportion of the somatosensory cortex is devoted to our fingers, and so just moving and emotion our hands could possibly be an interesting alternative for dance therapy for those people with limited mobility.
The somatosensory cortex mediates exteroception (contact, pressure, temperature, soreness, etcetera.), proprioception (postural and movement information) and interoception (sensations inside the human body, typically relevant to the physiological human body states, these as hunger and thirst), though its job in the interoceptive consciousness is only partial.
The somatosensory cortex and emotion
A scent, a tune or an graphic can out of the blue deliver a deeply buried and neglected party to intellect. Likewise, experience a texture—like cashmere—against our pores and skin, or transferring our system in a specified way (this sort of as carrying out a backbend, or rocking back again and forth) can do the similar and a lot more. It can bring repressed memories to the area, provoke psychological reactions, and build state shifts. This is 1 of the superpowers of mindfulness-based mostly interventions and dance movement remedy.
This response is mediated by way of the somatosensory cortex, just like emotional and cognitive reactions to a tune are mediated via the auditory cortex, and reactions to scents are mediated through the olfactory cortex. Even so, if the information and facts stopped flowing at a purely sensory stage (what we sense, listen to, see, flavor and scent), then a important part of the emotional and cognitive outcomes would be lost.
Dance/motion therapists and system-centered practitioners have known about this connection involving posture/movement and emotion/cognition considering that the inception of the field. Neuroscientists have now delineated—still roughly—the implicated neural networks. For illustration, research exhibits a relationship among developing our sensory sensitivity and emotion regulation.
Some evidence will come from scientific studies of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, which typically include the exercise of human body scans (shelling out notice to sections of the system and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence, for instance from feet to head) and/or returning to bodily sensations as anchors in meditation.
In general, the research clearly show that people who educate in human body scans and/or establish sensory awareness of the breath (sensation the breath touring by means of the nostrils, throat, and so on.) are much less reactive and additional resilient. This influence is mediated, at minimum partly, as a result of the somatosensory cortex.
Supplied the emerging purpose of the somatosensory cortex in emotion and cognitive processing, it is not surprising that alterations in the structure and functionality of this mind region have been observed in quite a few mental health and fitness complications, together with depression, bipolar problem and schizophrenia.
For example, reductions in the cortical thickness and the grey matter volume of the somatosensory cortex have been observed in persons with key depressive dysfunction (especially individuals with early onset) and in the bipolar ailment. In schizophrenia, reduce stages of exercise in the somatosensory cortex have been observed, especially in unmedicated clients.
Activating the somatosensory cortex may possibly enable us hook up to our bodies, produce our sensitivity, sensuality and capacity to really feel enjoyment. That is how moving mindfully, dancing consciously and meditating with the whole overall body may well help persons regulate their emotions and link with them selves and the planet additional deeply and meaningfully.
Learning motor techniques needs the ‘feeling’ section of the brain
How mindfulness and dance can encourage a portion of the brain that can strengthen mental overall health (2022, June 16)
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