COOL SCIENCE: Using alternative treatments via lateral eye movements to trick the brain into progression out of stress.

Dr. Andrew Huberman is a Stanford University neuroscientist who explains in the video below his initial skepticism at the benefits of implementing breathwork and other alternative techniques to heal the body and mind. Upon conducting his own research, he has successfully proven the chemical biology behind various holistic approaches in medicine. His research has been published in the most authoritative academia sources in the world, including Nature.

This article was of particular interest to me, as in my breathwork studies course, we were trained to apply these same lateral eye movements to relieve stress and at first I myself was skeptical at what we were doing.

Acetylcholine is secreted within the brain when we pay attention to something very specific and is responsible for wiring our synapyses (the connection between neurons). When you feel love for someone, find a song you just can’t stop listening to, or anything else which causes dopamine to rush into our brains; acetylcholine causes the brain to build a bridge and focus your attention on the associations between the stimuli and that feeling. The same goes for when we experience traumatic events whereby cortisol and adrenaline are released into the brain, with acetylcholine building those same bridges to the event.

As the brain controls our bodies through the nervous system, when we interact with that person we love or hear our favorite song, the body to begins to energize; or conversely enter fight/flight mode in response to triggers from traumatic events.

Through the physical action of moving forward in space to address a threat, signals are sent to the areas of the brain which control dopamine reward – done biologically to encourage forward action in the face of stress or threat and thereby supressing our threat detection centers.

Our brains register moving forward through space via perceiving objects moving past us in the corners of our eyes. Thus by simply using lateralized eye movements we can essentially trick the brain into perceiving we are in fact moving forward through space and time, ultimately enducing a dopamine reward and reducing the threat detection state those experiencing trauma find themselves stuck in.

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