Nociceptive, Mechanoreceptive And Proprioceptive Awareness, For Healthy Aging Ironman Training

Emotional And Proprioceptive Awareness

For A Good Life!

“The most common misconception that I come across is the idea that nociception and mechanoreception are the two subsets of proprioception. Nothing could be further from the truth.” David Seaman

proprioceptive awareness can be honed for a better life.

Great reading for those interested in understanding how your body works, and how to improve your movement skills.

I was under this misconception, until minutes ago.

I consider the initial stages, of the progressive condition, popularly known as plantar fasciitis, aka acute morning heel pain, to be a nociceptive response. In my mind, it was a proprioceptive issue – wrong, apparently!?

My recent study of VOXX socks, has me interested in foot mechanoreceptors, which I thought were proprioceptors! I can immediately accept that nociception is not a subset of proprioception. But mechanoreception? I have to think about that one!

While investigating the effects of these remarkable socks, that can improve athletic performance, I thought I was working on my proprioceptive skills. It would appear that I’m actually improving my mechanoreceptive abilities! They work like foot braille, awakening our foot sense of the ground, blinded by shoes, all these years. This is especially important for those with balance issues, due to multiple sclerosis (MS) or treatment with beta-blockers!

Think on the story of Daniel Kish, if you doubt our ability to awaken one sense, to replace another.

proprioceptive awareness: Daniel Kish

The remarkable Daniel Kish. The blind guy, who can see!

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, “How Do We Become Aware Of That Which We Are Unaware.” This is a real challenge, for life in general. We can have issues that spoil are lives, and there they are, right under our eyes! That’s where our mouths are, by the way!

I remember a long-term friend kindly telling me, years ago, “Kevin, do you know that you interrupt me all the time, when I’m talking. It makes me feel that you aren’t interested in what I have to say.” Initially, I felt slighted, but on reflection, I realized that my friend was giving me a precious a gift. I was completely unaware of this behavior.

I had a history of hurting people’s feelings, I knew that. When they told me, I’d hurt their feelings by what I’d said, I was perplexed. It was a complete mystery to me, most of the time. It was as if they were speaking in a foreign language. “What are they talking about, I would think!”

proprioceptive awareness; Ray Collins, FitOldDog's wonderful therapist.

Ray Collins, the man who rescued me from my emotional unawareness, to enrich my life!

I was raised in a family of non-stop talkers, and quiet lost souls. If the lost souls had to get a word in, in order to eat or go the bathroom, their only recourse was to interrupt. This, I think, accounted for my behavior. Classic conditioning! We also condition the way we move, by the way, and this is where proprioceptive (and mechanoreceptive) reconditioning may be of assistance!

I was now aware, of that, which I had been unaware! This was especially true of my emotional maturity, which was pretty well that of Ron Weasley, in Harry Potter. “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.”  Hermione to Ron, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, JK Rowling.

About 20 years ago, while I was negotiating a particularly difficult time in my life – I needed to grow up, emotionally, to understand what was going on – I was fortunate to be counseled by a wonderful man, Ray Collins, now deceased.

You can learn, throughout your life, if you are prepared to do the work.

proprioceptive awareness: Prints in sand pit by FitOldDog

What if I’d been raised in a family of heel strikers? I’d be hobbling around, right now! Thank goodness for the sandpit test!

Getting me in touch with my feelings took Ray a while. In fact, after six months of hard emotional work, I said, to Ray, “Wait a minute, you mean that constriction in my neck, warmth on my face, or tightness in my chest. Is that what you’re talking about?” “Yes!” He replied. You could have knocked me over with a feather, as they say. “Some people take years,” Ray added!

My studies of emotions had begun. I still function much like Mr. Spock, in Star Trek, I must admit. It’s where I ‘feel’ comfortable!

Interestingly, it only took Karen Dold, my Feldenkrais instructor, about two minutes to get me in touch with the importance of my proprioceptive (mechanoreceptive?) skills, to fix my knee, so I could reach my Ironman dream.

Being in touch with your emotions, proprioceptors, nociceptors, and mechanoreceptors, would seem to be an important aspect of endurance training, don’t you think?

Reflect on that, during your next 100-mile training ride!

Isn’t life interesting?


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.