The Limbic System, also called the midbrain, is located immediately below the cerebral cortex, comprising important centres such as the thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus and the cerebral amygdala. In the human being, these are the centers of affectivity, and it is here that the different emotions are processed and the human being experiences intense pain, anguish, and joy. The limbic system is the place of storage of all the memories of the past and of all the idiosyncrasies created by external experiences and childhood, and it is also the centre of integration of homeostatic responses, of sexual behaviour and of motivation. For this reason, the limbic system is known as the seat of the subconscious self.

In materialistic cultures, people’s lives focus on discrimination and rationalization, which are functions carried out by the frontal brain. The increased activity of the forebrain increases the conscious action of the ego and inhibits the function of the limbic system of the midbrain. This weakens the ability to enter into empathy with the lives of others and the ability to truly feel the strength and vitality of the energies of life.

It is often said that urban citizens are “cold”. It is thought that living in cities actually weakens primitive consciousness by weakening people’s ability to respond to and sympathize with others. Many urban citizens suffer from so-called midbrain syndrome, an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system caused by the suppression of instincts and limbic system activity.

Stress, fear and anxiety distort the limbic system, suppress the autonomy of nerve functions and internal secretion, and reduce immunity to disease. Therefore, just as patients are said to suffer physically, the psychological burdens of their past and the stress created by their social environment are intimately linked to their condition.

If we are to achieve spiritual peace and increase the homeostasis of our body, we must free ourselves from the excess activity of the frontal brain and activate the functions of the limbic system. In addition to being responsible for instinctive action and emotions, the limbic system is deeply connected to the autonomic nerves.

Masaje shiatsu

The limbic system is directly influenced by skin contact. Therefore, the uniform and constant pressure of Shiatsu, while relaxing the patient and enhancing his or her responses, also releases the disorders of that part of the brain. Nervous tensions manifest themselves as muscular tension, but the relaxation of the skin of the whole body created by Shiatsu causes a catharsis and a relaxation in the subconscious. One of the effects of Shiatsu therapy is to help patients gain an understanding of the subconscious cause of their suffering. Through the therapy of the meridians, patients are encouraged to face their problems without the intervention of words. In addition, the Shiatsu healing process purifies the patient’s subconscious and encourages spiritual growth.

( Extracted from TAO Shiatsu. Ryokyu Endo )

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