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It has long been my experience that profound insights can be gained from a client's passing thought. A few days ago, one of my clients posed just such an idea. "Hey, that's surprisingly tender," he said. "I wasn't aware of a problem there." And then, he couldn't resist adding, in a teasing tone, "You know, I was fine before you started poking around!" (I bet many of you have heard clients say something similar!) Behind that experience lay some powerful principles. Before I could answer, he continued with a question. "This is probably a stupid question, but I'm going to ask anyway: Why do I feel so relaxed after I leave here? I get the muscle tension thing, but I mean the mental part. Colors are brighter, sounds are more distinct, and emotionally I'm much more chill. It's a Zen experience I enjoy, but really, why would that be?" I shook my head and smiled. "Your simple question is deeply profound. As with so many seemingly simple experiences, the answer is rich and complex. I'm happy to share a possible mechanism with you, and the unexpected tenderness we just discovered and that question might be interrelated." "How so?" he asked. "First, let me back up a bit and explore the primacy of touch and our sensory experience. Did you ever think about the fact that while vision is super important and takes up a good portion of the brain, we can turn it off by closing our eyes? You can't close your ears, so somehow our brains are wired to make sure our sense of hearing stays active at all times." "But you can put in earplugs," he said. "Absolutely correct," I said. "We can override and shut down any auditory information coming from the world around us." critical thinking | TABLE LESSONS Neural Noise Soothing the Body Relaxes the Mind By Douglas Nelson 80 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 3 MIK AEL BLOMKVIST/PEXELS.COM

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