Lesson 4


Neuroplasticity and Power of the Homunculus

"In advance of the term neuroplasticity, Feldenkrais proposed it as early as 1972 in his book Awareness Through Movement. He knew of neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield’s efforts during brain surgeries to identify the sensory and motor areas of the outer layer of the brain, the cortex. Because brain cells are not pain sensitive, Penfield could apply a small electrical stimulus to a tiny area and ask the patient where he or she felt the sensory stimulus (tip of left thumb, right ear lobe, etc), or observe the motor response (lifted the big toe, raised an eyebrow, etc). As Penfield documented these locales on the brain, he developed sensory and motor maps, like the topographical maps used by hikers, sometimes called the homunculus (“little man,” because of the correspondence with the body’s form). Based on his direct experience and work with students, Feldenkrais believed that we change our maps throughout life. Specifically, he hypothesized that the sensorimotor maps of the left ring fingers of musicians would differ from nonmusicians because of their extensive, attentive touching of fingers to strings and keys. Two decades later, “first generation” neuroplasticians used new technology to confirm his hypothesis (Elbert)." –Patricia Buchanan, "Touching Changes", SenseAbility Issue 66


Flexion/ Extension

In this lesson:

Dorsiflexion of foot ="Flexion"

Planter flexion ="Extension"