Too often when one part of our bodies are feeling a certain way, another seems to be affected by it. It seems there could be a connection between them. It may be convenient to think of them as separate instances, and sometimes they are. For example, if we happen to stub our toe on a hard surface, it’ll mostly likely get bruised and turned black and blue. Then the stubbed toe might cause us to lose balance and fall, injuring our wrists in the process of breaking our fall. The only connection between our stubbed toe and injured wrist is the cause and effect connection.
The connection that we’ll be discussing here is that of a different type.
It has been theorized that there are connections between different parts of our bodies. These connections indicate which bodies parts influence each other and in what specific way. Typically, these connections form a direct relationship, meaning that a change in one body part will indicate a similar type of change in the corresponding part.
An example of one such connection is that between our muscles and our organs. There have been studies performed to test if this connection actually exists. But let’s say that such connections exists, what kind of relationship is it exactly? Why should it matter to us? Is it a hindrance (something to be careful of?) or something that we can take advantage of? Is there a connection between our body parts to anything else?
Before we answer these questions, let’s consider the example we mentioned and the evidence behind it: the connection between muscles and organs.
Study Performed On Muscle-Organ Relationship
With this talk about muscle and organ relationships, let’s consider some of proof.
In 2005, a study was performed to analyze the relationship between the pectoralis muscle and the parotid glands. For those of us that need a refresher in anatomy, the pectoralis muscle is a small section of our chest muscles that spans from the shoulder to the outer chest. It’s one of the muscles that connects our shoulders to the sides of the upper ribs. It contracts and relaxes to work with the surrounding muscles in promoting proper movement of the shoulder joint.
The parotid glands are located inside of our cheeks in front of our ears. They are the largest salivary glands in humans and its function is what its name implies, produce saliva. These glands sit slightly behind our teeth and secretes saliva into the mouth thru a tiny duct.
In this study, two different methods were used to test this proposed connection. One was to have the subject lift the shoulder off of a table while they are lying down. Pressure is then applied to the shoulder toward the table to stretch the pectoralis minor muscle. The second method involves the subject lifting his arm straight out towards the front. While keeping the arm straight, the subject brings the arm across his body to form a 45 degree angle between his arm and body. Force is then applied to the arm to cause abduction, which pushes the arm towards the outside of the body.
The basic premise of both methods is to stimulate the pectoralis minor muscles so it contracts.
To avoid boring you with the details and anatomic explanations of how the study went, a relationship was found between the pectoralis muscle and the parotid glands¹. Stimulation of the glands was also performed to study the effects that has on the muscle. The effects verified the conclusion that a direct relationship exists between these parts of the body. I’ll explain what this means in a later section.
I’ve included the reference at the end of the article if you like to review the study. Have at it.
In eastern cultures, it’s much more common to find information about this topic. Acupuncture, Qi Gong, and other systems that studies and cultivates the connections inside the human body are much more widespread within the eastern cultures. These age-old systems has established the different connections that exists, the body parts involved, the methods to influence them, etc.
It’s a bit difficult (or sometimes very) for the scientific community to accept or even consider the validity of these practices. This is due to the lack of proof using the scientific method. But the absence of proof is not the proof of absence.
I’m not saying to put our faith in everything that may seem legit but flies in the face of science. There are plenty of scam artists out there and that’s actually part of the problem. They discredit others that are sincere and actually have something significant to give to the world. But back to the point.
These connections between the muscles and the organs are usually described as the muscle-meridian relationships. Although meridians are related to the topic of focus here, we’ll leave that subject out of this article because it can be a whole different article on its own.
There are many different connections between various organs and muscles. Below is a list of just a few of them.
This may be a completely new concept to some of us, but these relationships between the muscle groups and the organs are well-established in the eastern cultures and eastern medicinal practices. This is in no way saying we should accept them based on that fact. Please feel free to do your own research to determine for yourself the validity of these concepts if you feel the need. There is much more to this topic than just what’s been stated here.
We’ve discussed the connection between the muscle groups and the organs. We’ve also went over a study in which the pectoralis muscle was found to have a connection to the parotid glands. The method of testing was simple since both the muscle and organ were able to be manipulated manually to observed and determine if a connection existed.
But what about the notion of our personality having a part in these connections? Is there a way to test the validity of this claim? Before we even consider if these connections exists or not, let’s consider the those specific connections involving our personality?
According to Bob Cooley, an expert on biomechanical and flexibility who discovered the practice of resistance stretching has established this personality and organ connection through trial and error. With over two decades of experience, Bob has worked with thousands of clients including ex-Olympic athlete, Dara Torres. He has seen first hand the connection between an individual’s muscle groups, organs, personality as well.
The actual personality to organ connection as described by Bob Cooley is shown in the diagram below5:
The diagram also categorizes the different personality types into four different groups: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Physical. That’s because no one person is strictly any one of the personality types only. All of us share the 16 personality types to a certain extent.
The fact that we may display some of these traits more than others simply means that we’re naturally strong in one area, or weaker in the other, or a combination of both.
Synergy- It All Goes Together
As you may figured out by now, there are three connections going on here. We have the muscle-organ connection, organ-personality connection, and the muscle-personality connection. These three connections all exhibits a direct relationship. What does that mean?
Remember the muscle-organ study that was mentioned earlier? The results from that study showed that the connection between organs and muscles also exhibit a direct relationship. This means that whatever influence is placed on an organ, the muscle will display an effect as if it was directly influenced as well. Simply put, if the organ gets healthier, so does the corresponding muscle, and vice versa.
As we discussed, we have three connections, so any change in one will affect the other two in a similar manner. It’s obvious to see how these connections start to manifest themselves when we think about how our muscles may feel a certain way if one of our organs isn’t doing too well. Or maybe we’ve displayed a certain personality for a sustained period of time and the health of our organs reflects that of the personality.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that rarely, if ever, are any one of those connections affected independently of the others. In life, we are constantly undergoing different stimuli, which affects our muscles, organs, personality, and everything else related to us in all different ways. It’d be nearly impossible to limit the type of external influences on a certain part of our bodies or personality.
With that said, it may sound like it’s pointless to consider these connections. If just living life throws all kinds of different stimuli at us, resulting in different effects on our muscles, organs, and personality, then why not just let it happen? Why not just forget about this and let the chips fall where they may? Actually, there is a huge advantage in now knowing about these connections and relationships. But before I explain why, let’s consider how these connections also exist for other parts of our bodies.
The human body really is a unique work of art. Not only does it defend itself from dangerous bacteria and viruses, it also heal itself from sustained injuries and strengthens injured areas so to prevent future damage. It also shows signs of vibrant health or symptoms of illness in more ways than one.
These bodily connections have also been used in other disciplines of medical practice. Let’s consider a few of these.
In the field of dentistry, each tooth in the human mouth represents more than just the tooth itself. Just like the muscle-organ-personality connections, each tooth have a different connection with organs, which in turns affects our muscles and and other body parts as well. To better understand how in-depth these connections can be, consider the chart from Dr. Vinograd, DDS³.
You may have noticed that there are a lot more connections going on here than just the ones we’ve discussed. That’s because the whole body works together synergtically. Dentists, especially holistic dentists are all aware of the relationships that teeth has with the rest of the body.
Oftentimes, before looking at you teeth, experienced dentists can make accurate guesses of the health of your individual tooth just by getting answers from you regarding your general health and medical history. Or they may look at the general health of your teeth and can tell you some surprising things about the health of your organs, your diet, stress level, etc.
All of that is possible because of the direct relationships that exists between the different parts of our bodies.
Just one more example to drive the point home. Consider the following diagram of the human vertebrae and the organs associated with each disc4.
Needless to say, having a healthy spine overall will promote health in other parts of your body.
How To Take Advantage Of This
So there is a connection between our organs, muscles, vertebrae, and everything in between it seems. So what good does this do us? As said earlier, we’re bombarded with so many different stimuli that it just doesn’t seem to matter if we try to improve one area of our body or strengthen another. Our efforts will be negated somehow and it’s just a part of life. Or is it?
Let’s think of it like this. Now that we know how our organs, muscles, and personality all interact with each other, what do you think we can do differently now to strengthen a muscle group of interest? Sure we can still exercise that muscle group with strength or resistance training. But remember the section about the synergetic effect these connections promote?
Instead of simply focusing on only one end of the connection, we can take advantage of multiple connections and work on improving the other ends as well.
If we want to improve the health of our large intestines for example, we may clean up our eating habits and introduce some healthy long term supplements. In addition, we can strengthen our hamstrings and make sure they’re in healthy condition. This includes stretching them as well. Matter of fact, stretching the muscle groups, more specifically the fascia in that area, is one of the core elements of Bob Cooley’s resistance stretching program. I will be posting a review on his book very soon and the results you can expect from it.
This connections are not only great for improving the health of any one of our body parts or personality from multiple angles, they also show us if we’re on the right track or not.
Since the health and strength of each element is reflected on the other, we can use the associated personality, muscle, or organ to get feedback on the health of the element of interest to us. This is as simple as assessing if we feel our personality changing a certain way when we decide to strengthen the associated muscle group or improve the health of the associated organ.
It is often difficult to determine if a certain organ or muscle group is really getting healthier or stronger unless certain medical tests are conducted or exercises are performed. Even then the conditions in which they are performed under will have to be exactly the same as that of what we’re comparing it to. But by simply checking on the condition of the associated connections, we can see if our efforts are paying off. And what better feedback system do we have than our own bodies?
Patience Is Our Friend
Having this knowledge doesn’t mean that we’ll become superhumans overnight. These connections are our bodies natural way of function, and just like anything else that’s naturally occurring, it takes time. Natural athletes need more time to get the same results than one that’s on PEDs. Our bodies natural way of healing requires more time than if surgery or medication is involved.
This is in no way a stab at surgery or medicinal practice. I firmly believe they have their place. I’m simply making the point that having patience is the key to seeing success when utilizing these connections for improving our health.
So have you ever experienced these connections before? Maybe you’ve taken notice in the past how some of these were related in your case? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below!
- Uzel, A.-P., R. Bertino, P. Caix, and P. Boileau. “Bilateral Variation of the Pectoralis Minor Muscle Discovered during Practical Dissection.” Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy Surg Radiol Anat 30.8 (2008): 679-82. Web.
- Cooley, Robert. “Resistance Stretching by Bob Cooley.” The Genius of Flexibility Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2016.