Your brain cannot tell the difference between something that’s real and whether you are just imagining it.
Neuroscientists at Harvard taught a simple 5-fingered combination of piano notes to a group of people – thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger – which they played over and over again for 2 hours a day. They did this for 5 consecutive days.
Another group of volunteers didn’t actually play the notes, but just imagined playing them. So they imagined the combination – thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger – for 2 hours a day on 5 consecutive days.
The researchers examined the brains of the volunteers every day using a technique known as TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) and found that, each day, there was little or no difference between the brains of those who played the notes with their fingers and those who played the notes with their minds. The brain areas in both cases grew significantly in size.
In many ways, the brain can’t tell the difference between real and imaginary!
From the research that I’ve collected, I am convinced that the same type of thing occurs when we imagine ourselves healing. I think that in many ways, when a person imagines a part of the body healing that the same kind of phenomenon happens.
Perhaps, just as the actual finger muscles are stimulated through imagined note-playing (this does occur), actual healing changes take place when a person imagines themselves healing.
The brain thinks that we really are healing. It then changes as if healing is happening, and this stimulates the actual area of the body that we are imaging at the cellular level. I am convinced that this causes cellular and genetic changes at that site, which eventually leads to what we are imagining happening (a healed body) actually happening.
I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have used their minds in this way to facilitate healing in their bodies so I’m inclined to think that this type of phenomenon is occurring.
If so, what does this mean for our capacity to aid our recoveries from injury and disease using our minds?