Chances are you’ve heard of proprioception, which is your awareness of where your body is in space.
For instance, close your eyes and touch your nose with your index fingers, one at a time. Your ability to find your nose is an example of proprioception.
You have proprioceptors all over your body. The ones in the bottom of your feet let your body know what type of surface you’re walking on, whether it’s a smooth, even surface, or a bumpy and uneven surface.
Proprioception is critical when it comes to helping us move about in the world!
And while proprioception is more familiar to us and widely known, recent fascia research has brought to light another important sensory system, called interoception, that was first discovered in the early nineteenth century.
Interoception is a physiological sensory system that involves your overall sense of self and well-being; kind of like an emotional awareness of your physical body.
The sensory receptors for interoception, called interoceptors, are free nerve endings mostly located in the fascial tissue. And, since fascia connects everything, interoceptors are located throughout your entire body.
For every proprioceptive nerve ending, you have seven interoceptive nerve endings. With a ratio like that, it’s easy to see why interoception is rapidly getting a lot more attention as research advances!
It has also been discovered that interoception is processed in a completely different part of the brain than proprioception.
Interoceptive sensations include:
- Feeling movement
- Pain, tickle, itch
- Feeling your heartbeat
- Sensing your blood flow
- Positive touch
Studies have shown links between interoceptive disorders and anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, addictions, hypertension, aging and post-traumatic stress disorder.
When we apply this recent research to our daily lives, we can gain some pretty cool benefits.
How Do You Enhance Your Interoception?
In today’s video I’ll show you one way to enhance interoception in your low back by using warmth and friction.
Another way to easily begin enhancing interoception is through meditation with a focus on sensing the warmth of the air as you inhale and the coolness of the air as you exhale.
You’ll be surprised by how powerful these two simple practice will be in your overall sense of well-being when you add it to your daily routine.
Give the Fascia Shimmy a try and tell me how it goes in the comments below!
See you in the studio!
- FASCIA: THE TENSIONAL NETWORK OF THE HUMAN BODY
Schleip, Robert, Thomas W. Findley, Leon Chaitow, and Peter Huijing. “Interoception: A New Correlate for Intricate Connections between Fascial Receptors, Emotion, and Self Recognition.” In Fascia the Science and Clinical Applications in Manual and Movement Therapy., 89-94. 1st ed. Vol. 1. London: Elsevier Health Sciences UK, 2013.