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speculations on a possible mechanism
by Norman Allan

(enlarged chart and link to source)

Several healing systems claim that the body is mapped on its subparts. The archetype of these is Reflexology which finds the body mapped on the feet and on the hands, and claims that by massaging the feet and hands in appropriate places you can have effects on remote organs.
Iridology maps the body on the iris and uses this map for diagnosis.

In the 1950s the French physiologist, Nogier, found a map of the body on the ears and used this "somatotopic" map both diagnostically and therapeutically.
The above is an illustration from a scientific paper investigating Nogier's phenomenon.

The Chinese have incorporated Nogier auricular system into Traditional Chinese Medicine as "auricular acupuncture".
The illustration to the left is a map of the ear reproduced from the Shanghai Medical School's definitive Treatise on Acupuncture. For a full size illustration click here: 32K

At first glance one might think the idea of these maps to be fantastic, but on further consideration the phenomenon is really something we might even expect. Somatotopic mapping is a fundamental activity of the central nervous system (CNS).
The body is mapped on the brain again and again. For example, sensory nerves project (by way of intermediaries) to the "primary sensory cortex" which "maps" the body (SmI in the illustration), while the "map" in the primary motor cortex (MsI) projects to the body.
The body is mapped several times in the cerebellum.
These connections are through secondary and tertiary and higher level neurons, but they are "connections" and they do map your body coherently again and again in these ""somatotopic"" maps. ("soma"= body, "topic"= place).
Mapping is a "bread and butter" function of the CNS. (Without it there would be no coherence. Indeed without it there could be no nervous system.) más...

Zona primaria: pensamiento circular

Fecha de modificación: 29/11/2005 18:57
Fecha de creación: 29/11/2005 18:44
Compilador: Celia Gradín
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