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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

The Brain In Your Skin

by Greg Paine

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the feet are the windows to the brain. 
With over 7,000 nerve endings in each human foot, our two feet make excellent sensory control panels with direct access to the limbic part of the brain via the central nervous system. The limbic brain, also known as the paleomammalian brain, houses the thalamus and hypothalamus, areas of the brain that are vital parts of the endocrine system. These uniquely human organs and glands are crucial to dealing with emotions, memories and sensory arousal.

Reflexology is a 2000-year-old non-invasive science that uses reflex points on the bottom, lateral and medial sides of the foot and ankle to help relax the body and gives the limbic brain a chance to collect itself when dealing with our ever-chaotic world. Research being done by neuroscientist Claudia Aguirre explores the links of communication between the skin and the brain, even asserting that the skin has the ability to think and feel—going beyond the traditional understanding of how the cerebral cortex processes touch. These new insights confirm what modern reflexologists have been discussing and documenting for a long time—that the somatosensory system, a complex system of sensory neurons and pathways that responds to changes at the surface or inside the body, plays an even more important role in healing than previously thought.

Drawing the most attention in the neuroscience community is the neuroimmunocutaneous system, which is responsible for the “feeling” stimuli and sensation in the human body and is one of the first, if not the first sensory system to develop in utero. Studies of the system are finally shedding light on one of the most mysterious parts of the brain, called the angular gyrus, thought to process gentle or light touch. This offers new insights about “Mother’s first touch,” and is lighting up the neuroscience community is the understanding of the biological mechanisms that influence how genes switch on and off. 

These concepts bring buoyancy and new life to the work done by Robert St. John and Gaston-Saint-Pierre, respected reflexologists from the 1970s, who developed the Metamorphic Technique, a transformative healing modality that uses the lightest of touch along the spinal reflex of the foot, hand and occipital region of the head. This relatively new therapy is very popular in the UK and Europe and is slowly gaining traction in the United States. The technique helps people reconnect with some of their first thoughts and feelings while in the womb and can help people tap into their unlimited potential.

Greg Paine is co-owner of Marietta’s Out of the Grey Wellness, a certified reflexologist who practices the Metamorphic modality and serves as VP of the nonprofit Georgia Reflexology Organization. More info at or [email protected]

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