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Embodied Cognition & Sound Healing: Brain Demoted ~ Body Promoted

Concrete Proof of human Holism and Why Sound Healing is So Effective

by Jill Mattson

You have no doubt heard the tired cliché: "she's thinking outside the box" ... how about the one where we do our thinking outside the brain?!

It's true, recent work in the fields of Psychology and Cognitive Science shows abundant evidence that the body and the environment around us are intimately linked to our cognition. The body can think independently of the brain in a mechanism called "Embodied Cognition" (EC).

The traditional view of cognition holds that all thinking and awareness goes on inside the brain. It has been taken for granted that processes responsible for abstract thinking, interpretation of the senses and subsequent decision-making are all centered somewhere inside our brains.

The long accepted paradigm relies on the all-powerful brain creating and manipulating disembodied constructs of real life things. Disembodied representations are moved around the mental chessboard as the brain solves all of our problems and makes all the decisions. However, that is not how it always happens - and further, once you see the body's important role in the holistic person, some of the wonders of Alternative Health and Wellness become easier to understand and embrace.

The alternate way of understanding our thought processes is labeled (yuck) Embodied Cognition. Recent findings demonstrate that our bodies and the environment around us are important in our cognition and play a vital part in our thinking and decision making processes. It's not the disembodied representations in our brain, the back-and-forth firing of countless neurons that alone produce our thoughts, but the indivisible interplay of our bodies and the ecosystems that surround and contain us - that is where thought resides. The job description for the brain has changed; instead of having to represent information about the external world and use that knowledge to output commands, the brain is now a part of a broader system that encompasses perception and action as well. The role of the body has been promoted - significantly.

EC researchers Dr. Sabrina Golonka and Leeds UK colleague Andrew Wilson "advocate an ecosystem-like approach that treats even the most sophisticated cognitive tasks as a product of how our brains and bodies have evolved with our environments." The brain does not generate our behavior in a vacuum. Instead, human actions result from the real-time interplay and cooperation of brain, body, nervous system and the surrounding environment. How so?

Have you ever knocked an object off your kitchen counter and instantly reacted - moving your hand, to exactly the right spot, and caught the item - to your surprise? How does this work? Reflexes some say. What exactly does that mean? This example is a case of our body acting without the brain's involvement - Embodied Cognition. You move spontaneously and make a smooth catch, almost miraculously.

EC advocates say that often our bodies - through perception and action - can actually replace the need for the brain - and its intricate mental gyrations. An oft-used example to describe EC involves the actions that a baseball outfielder takes to catch a fly ball.

How does the player move at the crack of the bat and get to exactly the right place just in time to catch the ball? One approach would be for the brain to do a complicated calculation taking into account the speed and direction of the ball, the forces acting on it - the math and physics calculations approach - and then predict where to intersect the ball as it comes to the nearest point to the outfielder. According to Golonka, the baseball player does not do the math, and he does not run in a straight line to the catch. Instead, the player keeps his eyes on the ball and runs in a curved path, thus making the curved (decelerating parabolic) motion of the ball appear to remain as a straight line. The outfielder can easily track the ball to the correct endpoint. The player uses his brain - but only as part of the action; he uses his perception - to process the visual input he is receiving along with physical cues like his running speed to solve the task.

These EC breakthroughs in Psychology are fine, but what we really are interested in is Alternative Healing - specifically Sound Healing for me. How can sound be used to do powerful healing and growth? Further, how might Sound Healing work?

The findings of Embodied Cognition show the power of the body to understand itself and its environment - and to act autonomously - even think. Our bodies have far more potential than previously understood. In a related manner, sound energy does not interact only with our ears and our brains through the sense of hearing. Rather sound - in our holistic view - interacts with body, brain, intellect, emotions and subtle energy systems. Sound, in the form of very specific, select frequencies OR in the form of special music can perform a myriad of wonders on us. Sound heals on multiple levels: appropriate frequencies stimulate cell regeneration; sound has been used to increase intelligence and memory; sound can influence our mental and emotional aspects. Perhaps in its most remarkable healing modality - sound activates the mind to power the body to heal itself. Healing chemicals are produced, the immune system goes into hyper drive. Fast, natural healing and regeneration occurs; toxins are eliminated, pathogens are destroyed, energy is unblocked and true health and wellness is restored.

It has been well documented that certain sound frequencies can entrain your brain waves - to a targeted state, inducing a specific mental condition. Special frequencies will produce Alpha brain waves, which have been shown to greatly enhance learning and memory retention by Bulgarian psychiatrist Lozanov.

Sound energy can interact with the body in a vast number of ways - sound energy changes physical states. Sound is absorbed through our skin, we feel vibrations in our bones, organs and nervous system throughout the body. (Even a deaf person has these experiences.) Keep in mind the body now has far higher capabilities than were once thought. Just as the immune system fights off infection, the body has powerful tools to heal itself. Sound can help activate this self-healing ability - one of the very strongest alternative healing modalities there is. Sound energy can clear blockages in the subtle energy system – the fine energy blueprint of the physical body. Chakras and meridians are cleared with special sounds that are absorbed into meridians by traveling down the base of tuning forks on acupressure points.

Sound, especially music, can deeply affect our emotional states. Think to a favorite song or a Mozart Symphony and their emotional impact; movies are much more enjoyable with their sound tracks. Tones following the spiral pattern of the Fibonacci series actually quicken our energy and our Souls. Ancients considered this a direct path to heaven.

Science is finally catching up with healers old and new; the body has many powers that are often overlooked. It can think, heal itself and intuitively evaluate its surroundings. Not only is sound ever present in the environment, but sound has the unique property of interacting with us on all levels. The symbiotic and synergistic affects of addressing the holistic being were well understood by the ancient Shaman as he activated healing through the use of sound (chants, drums etc). Modern Sound Healers are employing these old techniques alongside the latest discoveries with amazing results. Tune in!

Jill Mattson is a prolific Artist, Musician and Author. Jill is a four - time author and widely recognized expert and composer in the field of Sound Healing! She has written four books and produced six CD's that combine intricate Sound Healing techniques with her original Award winning musical compositions (Deep Wave Beauty CD – Best New Age CD of 2012 – Silver Award). The CD's consist of intriguing, magical tracks using ancient & modern techniques - with sound energy & special healing frequencies to achieve profound benefits. Also available on the sites are additional free mp3's of her Sound Healing compositions, including Solfeggio Tones, Star Energy, Flower Frequencies, Fibonnaci and nature tones. Gallery and music at www.jillswingsoflight.com, www.musicforbeauty.com, jillimattson@yahoo.com
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