The Anatomy of Touch

Question: How does one know what they are touching with their eyes closed? 

Answer: As their finger tips scan the object, messages are sent to the brain and the memory of millions of touches are searched for the best possible image to project in their mind.

When we practice touching our lover in beautiful surroundings with loving intention, aromatic fragrances and sensual sounds we call forth divine images of love and create new memories for tomorrow’s touch.  

When you touch something, what happens in the skin and homunculus is fairly straightforward: neurons fire. But what happens deeper in the brain is mysterious indeed. Take the simplest possible example–you are stroking your finger across a rather large A, which is raised as in braille. And you are going to recognize it as A, with no peeking.

As you stroke, the skin is indented, just ever so slightly, as it passes over the A. That causes several hundred neurons to fire, each one reporting pressure as a bit of the letter passes through its neural field. Johnson, Hsiao and colleagues can record these images from tiny probes in the wrist, with results that look like those above.

The nervous system is so well organized that all the information from one finger, or one part of one finger, stays together, and the “picture” of A travels up the nerve fiber through the arm. “It’s the hand as eye,” says Johnson. “You probably know that when the cones and rods in your retina fire, they produce a recognizable picture of whatever you’re looking at? Well, this is like that. The finger sends off to the brain a picture that is exactly like the object itself. We call it isomorphic.” (Iso = same, morphic = form.) More…

 

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