How Does Neural Touch Work?
This is certainly the question of the hour. The actual mechanism is not yet completely understood. It certainly has a lot to do with spinal reflexes. Neural Touch stimulations affect the muscle stretch and golgi tendon reflexes as well as joint proprioceptors in unique and paradoxical ways. This has the effect of reprogramming tension levels in the effected areas of the body. (This is analogous to rebooting a computer without saving the currently running application.) Tension and inflammation can be lifesaving at the time of an injury but too often they persist long enough to become the problem in themselves. Reverting to an older, happier template at this point is quite appropriate. Though the results are often immediate, they are just as likely to unfold slowly over a period of 7-10 days following a session. People feel new changes and improvements every day.
Neural Touch can be considered the “homeopathy” of bodywork. The sicker the patient, the less is done during a session. The more gentle the application, the deeper the result. Perhaps, as with homeopathy, the Neural Touch practitioner is introducing a microscopic irritant into the tissues. When alerted to this, the nervous system reflexively responds, coincidentally reorganizing deeper long-standing conditions.
Also similarly to homeopathy Neural Touch can sometimes be “antidoted”. A strong and therapeutic application of massage, heat or ice soon after a treatment can muddy much of the healing response. If the irritant has been soothed away, there’s no longer any compulsion to reorganize.
“Beauty is only skin deep,” goes the old expression. in a technical, therapeutic sense this is true. The beauty — the elegant, intelligent, self-correcting mechanism — of the body can usually be accessed and stimulated by probing no deeper than the skin and superficial fascia. The fascial matrix is an amazing phase-change material (a process called thixotrophy) that can be coaxed to its more liquid, flexible state through gentle, appropriate contact.
Fascia also acts as a liquid crystal (think of digital watches and laptop screens). Local stimulation has a far-reaching, electro-chemical ripple effect through the surrounding tissues in all directions. In fact the only thing that prevents one such ripple from coursing through the whole body is that it encounters new blockages, constrictions, etc. These blockages become the focus for new stimulations (defining the most common treatment patterns) and the process continues.
Neural Touch strongly affects the autonomic nervous system, (the sympathetic branch of this prepares us for “fight or flight” while the parasympathetic is more associated with healing, relaxation and meditative states). During a session people will often experience a mixed response while the two systems mesh and recalibrate. The resulting surge of parasympathetic energy can, in and of itself, account for much of the healing response we get. The fear that Wilhelm Reich described as saturating the tissues is alleviated, letting the natural restorative processes take over.