Psychosomatics Are Important

Volume: 3
Issue: 2
February 15, 2008
Psychosomatics Are Important

Dear Colleagues:

Students of neural therapy learn quickly that psychosomatics are important.  And also that the mind can affect the body in a multitude of ways!

Most mind-body phenomena are physiological and serve some utilitarian purpose, e.g. a blush signaling embarrassment or secretion of saliva assisting digestion while enjoying an unhurried meal.  (Of course when speaking of “mind” in this context, we mean the emotional part of the mind).

Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol mediate mind-body phenomena, by provoking a generalized arousal of the whole organism.  The autonomic nervous system acts in a more precise way, directing the nervous system’s attention to specific areas of the body.

Problems usually arise when a psychosomatic reflex persists longer than the target organ or tissue is capable of responding.  The organ (or tissue) then produces a symptom indicating distress.  Often the psychosomatic nature of the symptom is not identified and much useless medical and/or other treatment is delivered.

Some of the neurological pathways between the emotional parts of the brain and the body are straightforward, e.g. The unresolved emotion-organ connections described in Chinese medicine and also in Chapter 11 of my book on neural therapy.  Others are more indirect and affect the body in roundabout ways.  Here is an example of a case I recently saw in my office:

A healthy, physically active, 40 year old woman presented with several months of intermittent numbness of her right hand and forearm.  No history of preceding trauma or strain was elicited.  The pattern of symptoms and exacerbating activities suggested a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.

An osteopathic-type examination of the whole musculoskeletal system was unremarkable except for somatic dysfunction of the upper thoracic spine and tension of the suboccipital muscles.  “Arcing” or a sensation of “energy block” was felt in the thoracic diaphragm.  (For those unfamiliar with osteopathic terminology, these findings indicated tension in the upper back, disturbed mechanics in the upper thoracic vertebrae, and tension in the suboccipital muscles – incidentally sometimes referred to in Chinese medicine as “worry muscles”). 

Treatment consisted of osteopathic “unwinding” of the thoracic diaphragm.  (An equally effective treatment might have been segmental therapy over the upper thoracic vertebrae).  At a follow-up visit a few weeks later, the hand and forearm symptoms had improved by 70%, but similar symptoms had begun to appear on the opposite side.  Again somatic dysfunction was detected in the upper thoracic spine and the patient was treated manually as on the first visit.  The response to treatment this time was even less – clearly time to look elsewhere!

With recurring somatic dysfunction in the upper thoracic spine and no history of trauma, I usually think of lower chest medical problems, e.g.  GE reflux, cardiac or lung disease.  Nothing helpful was available from her history, so I began touching the lower anterior chest using autonomic response testing.  (For an explanation of this test see Chapter 4 of my Neural Therapy book).  A weakening of an indicator muscle appeared when touching the low mid-precordium; a reversal of this weakening occurred when the patient touched her own forehead.  This combination of findings indicated a psychosomatic stress on the patient’s upper thoracic spine, probably from an unresolved “heartache”.  (See also Chapter 11). 
The patient was gently questioned about heartache in her life.  She broke into tears while revealing that her elderly aunt to whom she was very close was slowly dieing of a lung disease.

The case is interesting because it demonstrates how complex the expression of a psychomatic stress can be.  The mid-brain signaled love-sorrow to the “emotional heart” in the precordium.  Through viscero-somatic reflexes, the upper thoracic spine developed chronic excess sympathetic tone.  This spread into the arms provoking the patient’s symptoms.

Recurring somatic dysfunction in any part of the spine may be due to a viscero-somatic reflex.  And viscero-somatic reflexes may be expressions of unresolved emotional conflicts affecting the organ that corresponds to the specific emotion.


As promised in the last newsletter, I wil continue to limit its length to about 1 1/2 pages.  However this month I am adding some excerpts from letters – see below.  Readers are invited to question, comment or otherwise contribute to the sum of our knowledge on neural therapy (and related subjects.)


Letters and comments:

From George Stylian DO. (

Thank you again for another informative newsletter.  Concerning somatic dysfunction of C1-2 and it relationship to tinnitus, I have found many of these strains related to somatic dysfunction of the occiput.  For example, in a right torsion strain of the cranial base, the occiput dips down on the right and very often I find C2 strained in a lateral direction to the right.  Feels like a translatory motion of C2.  I have often wondered if this is a remnant of a right condylar parts compression during OccAnt presentation at birth?

Zn seems to be involved in just about every enzymatic action; so no wonder it is so important in tinnitus.

From Rainer Kumm (

(regarding tinnitus and zinc)

Yes, nutrition is relevant and commonly ignored, even simple things like almost ubiquitous D3 deficiency.

I find this book quite useful:  Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook (Paperback)
by Ross Pelton (Author), James B. LaValle (Author), Ernest B. Hawkins (Author)

I learned for example that statins interfere with the CoEnzyme Q10 system, not really new but I didn’t know that.  That easily explains the fatigue often encountered as a side effect.  I had this as a recommendation form a German “naturopathic” GP who says it is always on his desk.

From Robert Banner, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, University of Western Ontario

When reading “Manual of Neural Therapy According to Huneke” I cam across the concept of nasal conchae interference fields (Fliess/Leprince) pages 313-314.

I have used ART to locate and when appropriate 2 – point these fields.  I have had excellent success with the pulmonary zone and urogenital zone ie. asthma and dysmenorrhea.

Comment is made but no explanation given that procaine cannot be used.  They recommend 3 – 6% lidocaine.  I have used Lidodan spray at 12 per spray, two sprays each nostril.

I think this is just amazing.  Comments?  Personal experience?

I am aware of the mapping of body zones in the nasal and oral mucosa as well as other places – ear, periumbilicus, feet, etc.  I remember a presentation at an AAOM meeting a number of years ago by a German presenter who had discovered similar points in the anterior thighs!  However I have not personally used any of them therapeutically.

I guess the question for me is:  Is one portal to the nervous system better than another?

I suspect that the nasal one may be a particularly powerful entry zone.  Perhaps you are aware of the experimental and therapeutic work done in the early 1900’s and later using pledgets of cocaine inserted in the posterior nasal cavity.  The target was the sphenopalatine ganglion and the technique was used for treating many things including chronic backache.  If I remember correctly, Toronto was a center for this sort of research and activity.  I know it carried on well into the second half of the last century.  I used it for a short while in the 1980’s.  Ed Sheffman, a now retired anesthetist from Toronto was quire experienced in this.

Why the thumbs down on procaine?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it does not penetrate mucosa as well.  There must be a reason why our ENT colleagues have held onto cocaine for so long.  Enlightenment from the readership would be appreciated.

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