Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Brain Massage

When listening to songs, I sometimes come across a phrase or sentence that inspires me to write a stupid blog post.

This is one of them.

I was listening to a song called Disruptr by Devin Townsend and he sings the line:

“I need a brain massage”

This got me thinking.

I visualised a brain massage to be something that Dr Hannibal Lecter might inflict on his patients, but then again, I also considered that it could potentially be some sort of self-help mechanism to combat mental issues with the concept of a brain massage being just a metaphor for giving your mind a tiny bit of tender loving care to get over a negative blip.

I like the idea.

Imagine my surprise when I popped the term “brain massage” to Mr Google and discovered that it is a real term. My search popped up several million results from both scientific sources and other sources implying that brain massage is an actual thing and not just a figment of Devin Townsend’s imagination.

I was quite astounded when I read an article from a science magazine suggesting that it might be possible to improve somebody’s memory by discharging magnetic pulses onto a person’s skull to actually modify the neural activity of the brain.

The word “discharge” doesn’t equate to “massage” to me; it sounds like it might involve pain of some kind – a pain in the brain if you like. Having said that my experience of massages also involves pain.  I’m too much of a coward to actually have a massage myself but I have seen others being almost physically beaten up in the name of relaxation.

How can such activity reduce stress? Surely a person who wants a massage must be absolutely shitting themselves while waiting for a qualified masseur or masseuse to attack them physically.

I know I would be.

As I surmised, one form of brain massage is to try to soothe a troubled mind. One company I read about offers a brain massage in the form of meditation music that claims to completely relieve you of stress within its thirty minute duration. The music contains no words and claims to use Delta and Gamma waves to purify your mind, revive your contentment and wash away stress – pretty similar to a physical massage I guess (but without the pain).

I tried listening to an example of this on YouTube, albeit sitting down in front of my computer screen typing this, rather than lying  down in a darkened room as recommended, and while it sounds very pleasant, it didn’t relax my active brain too much. However, I can see how it could, having tried things like self-hypnosis, which is also sometimes accompanied by similar soft and soothing music.

I am fairly open to such things these days, particularly after the events of last year, so I will probably have a go, purely in the name of research of course, and report back in a later post.

One thing that slightly annoys me about this though is the accompanying bumph that tries to explain what is happening to you when your brain is being massaged in this way. When talk of science is replaced by words like spiritualism, auras and phrases like “connecting you with the Divine” I tend to switch off and ignore such things as pure hocus pocus.

Believe it or not there is a science behind all of this and that’s exactly where my comfort zone is rather than spiritualistic mumbo jumbo. I don’t mean to sound sceptical but when people talk about finding your inner self, I tend to scoff. I’d much rather listen to an explanation involving brain waves than Buddhism. I can relate to such explanations.

I’m sure that the music and beats etc. do work scientifically and I’m happy with that.

One word I spotted whilst reading about this phenomenon was one that I intend to use in casual conversation in 2018. That word is “braingasm”. The more scientific explanation is that a braingasm is an “autonomous sensory median response” or ASMR.

I much prefer "braingasm" – don’t you?

Basically a braingasm is a pleasurable tingling sensation that can be triggered by something relatively simple like having somebody touch your hair or whispering in your ear. In fact, there are videos out there on YouTube where people simply whisper to trigger this response.

It kind of works, I have to say, so there is something in it.

If nothing else, this post has introduced me to the terms “braingasm” and “brain massage” so the whole thing has been worthwhile.

Having thought a bit more about it, I’m not sure what would happen if I were to talk to a complete stranger and say “Have you heard of a braingasm?"

Most women would probably slap me and everybody else would just think I’m a bit weird – and they would be right because deep down I am!


River said...

If I tried to "find my inner self" I'd likely be MIA for the rest of time.
I soothe my brain by playing music until I fall asleep.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

That's exactly what I do too - I believe it is just a different type of "music".