By Alexis Costello, (from the Fall 2018 issue of KinesioGeek Magazine, Getting on My Nerves) Hugo Tobar is well known in the Specialized Kinesiology field for his creation of multiple interesting workshops. When I was thinking about this theme, I recalled a conversation I had with Hugo at the Touch For Health conference in Malibu a few months prior and started reading the information in his website about the Brain Hologram classes. Our understanding of the nervous system has changed a lot in the last decade or so and everybody has a different take on it. With a huge time difference and multiple tech issues (sorry, this chat isn’t available on YouTube as the recording quality was simply atrocious) we still managed to talk about the nervous system, reflexes, and kinesiology.
A: After we chatted in July, I was looking at the description for the Brain Hologram courses. Brain Hologram C caught my attention referencing special senses and the way the information is relayed to the brain. How has our understanding of how these organs work changed in the past few years?
H: Well we have the five senses which are the standard that we talk about, but there are also a couple things called the ‘special senses’, which include the vestibular system and proprioception, which is more about the position of your body in space. The vestibular system measures the position of your head in space and the proprioceptive system measures the position of your body in space. In Touch for Health we work with spindle cells and golgi tendon organs, and these are both proprioceptive receptors. These send information into the nervous system just like the other senses do. Like the five main senses, the other senses are made up of sensory receptors, and that is a way of taking information from the external world to the internal world by translating it to a neural signal where the brain can then process the information. So we have the five main senses that give us information about the environment and these special senses that tell us where we are in the environment.
A: So then, what has changed? Because we’ve always known that we have these senses, so what’s different about the way that you are working with it with something like the brain hologram as opposed to the traditional allopathic sense?
H: Well the allopathic system is going to want to use medications and surgery to treat the symptoms. I define Kinesiology as a stress-management system. Then we use different modalities to ask questions to find where the stress is in the system and then to find ways to remove the stress, That might mean working with meridians or chakras or essential oils (which are really popular these days). We use all these combinations of things to get rid of the stress from the nerves and the sensory receptors.
A: Why do you feel it is important to understand the projections and outputs and how these are read by the brain?
H: This comes form an idea that I had way back almost 20 years ago; by analyzing the neurological pathways, first doing an analysis of what is held in the pathways of the nervous system, then you can use acupressure formatting to identify and relieve stress.
A: What is an ‘optokinetic pathway’?
H: To understand this, first you have to begin with the vestibular system. So, what the vestibular system does: when the head moves it sets up a series of reflexes; when the body moves, it compensates with head movement. For example, if you’re falling over, you might fling your arms out. If someone pushes you, you’ll adjust to keep your head upright. We have this innate idea that we need to keep our head upright. Now one of the parts of the vestibular reflexes is the vestibulo-ocular reflex; say you’re reading a sign while walking down the street. You need to keep your field of vision stable, so your eye muscles move your eyes in exactly the opposite direction; the opposite speed, everything, so that what you are looking at stays stationary so you can take in the information. So if your head is moving to the right, the eye muscles move your eyes to the left.
You could experiment with this by looking at something on the wall and moving your head around – noticing that, as you move your head, the eyes muscles move exactly opposite, keeping the visual fields stable. This works very well for big head movements, but when it comes to things like reading or we’re doing something that requires a really fine focus, like pulling apart a miniature contraption or something with a screwdriver. There are head movements involved, but they are not enough to trigger the vestibulo-occular righting reflexes, so this is where the Optokinetic reflex comes in, it’s like a helper – it takes the information and sends it to the vestibular system down in the brainstem, so then it will cause your eye muscles and neck muscles and all that to move, ever so slightly, so that we have micromovements in the visual field. And that’s what happens with reading for example; your hands move, they’re not perfectly still, but you’re not aware of that because your head makes these micro-adjustments. And what we’ve found when working with the Brain Hologram is that I’ve worked with people who have had their vestibular system worked on before and it seems fine, but then we bring the optokinetic reflexes in and it brings up big stuff, especially about reading – kids at school having problems with reading or someone who did have problems with reading – we find there’s a lot of stress on it.
A: This makes sense; I’ve read some of the old AK stuff about for example ‘eyes into distortion’ and how the eye positioning and reflexes can affect total body alignment.
H: Oh Absolutely! If you’re working with body alignment, clearing the vestibular, ocular, neck righting, tonic neck righting, spinal gallant – they are all extremely powerful.
A: What role does kinesiology play in regenerating nerve tissue?
H: If the tissue wants to regenerate, we can take stress out of the system that allows it to regenerate. I think we should be called Stress Management Practitioners. Even Richard D. Utt, L.Ac used to called his basic level Agape Quest students ‘Stress Observation Specialists’
A: I agree; Stress Indicator Point System (SIPS) is my primary modality that I work with, so I see how we can remove stress and allow the body to bring in the energy it needs and then all sorts of interesting things happen. But the reason why I asked the question the way that I did is that I know your work is heavier in formats and protocols, which can give someone a bit of a road map to work with a specific issue.
H: One of the things that I do when I’m going to write a class; whether it’s on the immune system, endocrine system, biochemistry, whatever; the first thing I do is ask ‘where are the pathways?’ What are the cells, the hormones, the toxins – we work out what is involved and then we write the formats as identifiers, and then we balance it.
A: Anything else you would like to share about the nervous system and working with the nervous system that you don’t think is common knowledge among practitioners?
H: If you’re going to work with this, I think it’s very important to understand physiology. Because the better you understand the pathways you are working with, the better you are able to focus your energy – whether that’s formats or SIPS points or whatever you’re using. The more you know, the more you can do. And of course, anything is possible.
A: Any recommended reading or resources for someone who was interested in learning more about the physiology of the nervous system, other than your own classes?
H: Fundamental NeuroScience by Haines; the pictures are really clear and the explanations are good. There’s none of the fluff, it’s really to the point, so I would recommend that. And if you’re a kinesthetic learning, you can get the colouring books and that will help too.
More information about Hugo’s workshops referenced here:
Brain Hologram C
The third course in the series is dedicated to the special senses of smell, sight, taste, hearing and the vestibular system along with the complex somatosensory and nociceptive systems and their respective neurological pathways. Areas of the brain and limbic system contributing to the processing of the information received from the sensory receptors and relayed by the thalamus are analysed along with their specific projections and outputs.
Brain Hologram D
The final instalment in the series explores the various optokinetic (reflex) pathways and their associations with the vestibular system, brainstem, cerebellum and motor cortex. Pathways related with reading and language are also analysed along various conditions linked with learning.
To read the original interview in the magazine, visit www.gemskinesiology.com