The power of the mind over body



There are several ways in which the mind can influence the body and different techniques for doing so. Mental Imagery is a well known technique from the 70’s and it has been studied in relation with sport performance during these years. Let’s point out a study [1] about Mental Imagery that shows clearly this effect. It was made at Ohio University and it involved a group of healthy individuals that underwent 4 weeks of wrist-hand immobilization to induce weakness. Another group also underwent 4 weeks of immobilization, but they also performed Mental Imagery of strong muscle contractions 5 days/week. Mental imagery is supposed to activate certain cortical areas that are involved with movement. There was also a third control group that underwent no intervention. They measured wrist flexor strength, voluntary activation (VA), and the cortical silent period before, after and a week after immobilization.

The Mental Imagery group was trained 5 times a week and during each session they performed 52 imagined maximal contractions of the casted wrist flexor muscles in four blocks 13. They were told to relax their arms muscles and electromiogram was recorded in the arm to assure that there was no muscle activation.

Measures show that immobilization caused a 45% strength reduction and the group that performed Mental Imagery had strength reduction of only 24%, a 50% less reduction. The others parameters resulted in a similar way.

This study suggests that neurological mechanisms induced by Mental Imagery can reduce the strength loss during immobilization and so it demonstrates the strong influence of mind over body. There are others studies that show others different aspects of what Mental Imagery is able to do that we are going to tell in following posts.

Do you use Mental Imagery to archive your objectives or improve fitness or mental performance?

We will show you how.

Lee este articulo en espa√Īol:

[1] The power of the mind: the cortex as a critical determinant of muscle strength/weakness. Brian C. Clark, Niladri K. Mahato, Masato Nakazawa, Timothy D. Law, James S. Thomas

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