Michael Gonzalez-Wallace  
Male, 46
New York, NY

Specialties: strength training, neuroscience, special needs topics

Interests: Medicine, Exercise and Fitness, brain
Super Body, Super Brain
Health and Fitness Expert, Sports Medicine, Bachelor in Economics Science-Exercise: Author of Super Body, Super Brain
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New York, NY
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Sensory System, Brain and Movement: Proprioception is our 6th sense- The aging process

Nov 30, 2011 - 9 comments

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According to the latest study about our sensory system “Nerve Cells are key to making sense of our senses”  Science daily reports:  ”The human brain is bombarded with a cacophony of information from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. Now a team of scientists at the University of Rochester, Washington University in St. Louis, and Baylor College of Medicine has unraveled how the brain manages to process those complex, rapidly changing, and often conflicting sensory signals to make sense of our world” click here to read more This is a phenomenal study reporting about the importance of individual neurons and how neurons weigh in what sensorial decision is more important to take an action. However  there is an omission that we tend to forget: Sensory system is related to movement. Movement is crucial when comes to the sensory system. The Brain is processing information from our joints as well  informing our brain where are we in space in what is called Proprioception.

Few years ago there was a movie called “Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis remember? It was about a kid who was able to see ghosts and the movie told us that if we saw ghosts we may have a sixth sense well the movie is wrong since  I don’t see ghosts and I have a 6th sense and so do you!  However science is telling us that we dont have five senses but six and it is not to see dead people like the move proclaimed. Lets review some basics of this great system called The Sensory System that should be the title of  the next Hollywood movie!

A sensory system is a part of the nervous system responsible for integrating and processing sensory information. A sensory system consists of sensory mechano receptors, neural pathways, and parts of the brain involved in sensory perception especially the ones to do with movement or our perception of space.

In my book Super Body, Super Brain I explain extensively how Proprioception can be trained, improved and gain strength.

Proprioception is defined as “perception of ones body  and position of the body”.  Highly Specialized nerve endings are present throughout the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system which interact with the central nervous system and coordinate our body movements, our postural alignment, and our balance. Proprioceptive sensory organs are found in two distinct groups which are located in either muscles and tendons: muscle spindles and golgi tendon organ. These specialized proprioceptive centers provide information regarding the status and function of the musculoskeletal system with a constant flow of information to the spinal cord, the cerebellum, and the brain.

My absolute mentor Dr John H. Martin Ph.D and Author of Neuroanatomy: Text and Atlas  has explained me how this interesting motor circuits work and how the cerebellum plays a fundamental role.

Why are the neurons called Purkinje  in the Cerebellum so different? Are they better or worse? According to Dr John H. Martin Ph.D who has studied the Development of the motor systems of the brain and spinal cord and currently he is a Professor at City College in New York  ”I think they are different in several ways. Let me tell you about two. First, they take in an enormous amount of information. Think of a big tree with lots of branches and leaves. This is like aPurkinje cell; the branches and leaves are receiving information from other parts of the nervous system. They have more “branches and leaves” than other nerve cells. Second, they are different in another way; they inhibit the firing of other neurons.  Most neurons that receive so much information excite other neurons; Purkinje cells inhibit. We don’t know why this is the case “


Why is proprioception important for brain activity? In general terms How does our brain process information from our proprioceptors?

Proprioception provides critical information about the position of our body; not just our posture but the position of our limbs. It is like having GPS in our fingers, toes, hip, knees, etc.

It is not something we normally think about. It is not like listening to sounds. Because it is so basic, even subconscious, we don’t have to think about it from moment to moment. The information is present for our motor and sensory systems to use, all the time. It is important because it is the only way to tell the brain our position.

Proprioception is processed in two different ways. One way is best for movement control. That information makes its way quickly to different parts of the motor systems, primarily to the motor parts of the cerebral cortex and to the cerebellum. The other way for processing proprioceptive information is sending to sensory areas of the brain, like the somatic sensory areas of the cortex. We think that the motor areas process the information in “real time,” as it is needed to control movement. The sensory areas may be important in generating a body image, our notion of our size and where our limbs our; our body space.

Copy and paste the following link to train the Sensory System-Proprioception

TRAIN SENSORY SYSTEM-6TH SENSE-PROPRIOCEPTION Sensory Propriceptors feed the brain constantly with information about the world we live in. Main Proprioceptors are tiny receptors and found in eyes, skin, ears and joints. They are feeding the brain where are we in space. This is a circuit in the brain, the sensory neurons that if you don;t train it daily it will decline extremely fast.

In addition there is a deeper course focused in the Sensory system from The Teaching Company: I am planning to take this great course of the Teaching Company: Sensation, Perception and The Aging Process Taught By  Professor Francis B. Colavita, Ph.D., University of Indiana, University of Pittsburgh click here for more information

Photo from Body Smart a digital magazine from Nomad Editions. Photography by Beth Bischoff

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by margypops, Nov 30, 2011
oh lordy lordy you are heaping some stuff on our little brains what are you trying to do Michael get us to live to be 100 and smart with it ....okay okay I will read it a few times and digest.... I promise . Your articles are so good and relevant I will read them all the time if its helping me ., you have peaked my interest with this one on sensory system ..I will get back to you .

Avatar universal
by gymdandee, Nov 30, 2011
This Potent Neurotoxin Next to Your Brain

International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology


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by debnunis, Nov 30, 2011
That was a great article thanks for sharing it!! I couldn't agree more!!!

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by specialmom, Dec 07, 2011
My son has sensory integration disorder also called sensory processing disorder.  He was diagnosed at 4 and is now 7.  Prior to his diagnosis, I never made the connections of which you speak.  It has been my mission the past few yars to understand and address all sensory needs of my child.  My son's ability to function normally is based on lots of sensory activity which is movement based.  A quick crab walk across the floor can provide needed sensory input for him to sit and do school work.  

While you speak of 6 senses, there is the 7th which is also important to the sensory system, the vestibular system.  We find that activities involving this greatly help our son and would love for your thoughts on this.

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by Karen99, Dec 08, 2011
Do you think that developing the 6th sense would be of benefit to MS patients?  What about the receptors feeding to our less than receptive brains, blocked pathways to and from our brains? Proprioception is a problem for many of us.  Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has made a remarkable recovery from the damage caused by the bullet that damaged her brain.  Part of her recovery included music to help her walk again.  Something about the beat of music that helps a person.... I know that certain music will cause many people to unknowingly walk in unison without realizing it.  Any thoughts or comments?

I grew up being told that we only use a small percentage of our brains.  Don't know if this is true, but for many of us it would be great if we could access the brain areas that aren't damaged and communicate with our bodies better. Maybe if we grew our nostril or ear hairs longer it would help?  I'm talking silly but I am serous about the subject matter. I have a music-type CD that is supposed to switch brain activity from one side to another to help them work together. (using headphones)  Maybe grow new pathways is my hope.  

Thanks for the article.  New approach and things to think about.  

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by Sumanadevii, Dec 11, 2011
Any research coming out of Washington U is good in my book.  I am rather partial to them and a great supporter...One of my sons graduated from there, I am proud to say!!!!!

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by Michael Gonzalez-WallaceBlank, Jan 01, 2012

Thanks so much for your comment!....Yes I have been really experienced in working with children with SPD and the interesting concept is that through specific movements you can start integrating sensory information from the other senses. My clients with SPD that I work with have seen an improvement in the sensory information. In my work i use: Hiking for motor planning, multi-tasking and sensory proprioceptive integration. Balance exercises to improve body's position, focus, and left vs right inner ear integration. Coordination: left vs right brian hemisphere, motor planning and cardiovascular

It is a far more complicated process that explaining it here but my biggest message of hope is that please keep investigating on the effects of sensory proprioceptive exercises for a better sensory integration.
I hope this helps!

1741471 tn?1407159030
by Michael Gonzalez-WallaceBlank, Jan 01, 2012
@Special mom;
While you speak of 6 senses, there is the 7th which is also important to the sensory system, the vestibular system.  We find that activities involving this greatly help our son and would love for your thoughts on this.

I agree with you in this statement. Although I agree with you there is a really fine line between the Vestibular sense and the Kinesthetic sense. Both of them assist the brain in informing about the body's position in space. When we refer to Proprioception that i refer to the sixth sense and many experts in the field of science and health share the same opinion.

Proprioception doesn't come from any specific organ, but from the nervous system as a whole. Its input comes from sensory receptors distinct from tactile receptors — nerves from inside the body rather than on the surface. Proprioceptive ability can be trained, as can any motor activity. In other words, proprioception studies on the receptors of the sensory feedback in different organs such as: Skin, Joints, ears (vestibular), eyes. It is our sensory feedback and kids with SPD have a problem with integration of the different information. Those four are surrounding the cardinal concept of Proprioception that is why is necessary to train mainly through movement (balance, coordination, kinesthetic)

I hope this was helpful

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