In our media driven culture filled with stick thin super models,it’s easy to fall prey to judging ourselves and others, especially when we’re inundated with images of an unattainable ideal of physical perfection.Researchers in London have recently made a link between the brain and one’s body image, indicating a direct correlation between brain neurology and how slim or flabby we think we are and shedding new light on body image disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
According to the study, the way you feel about your body is directly related to how your brain’s receptors.Our brain uses receptors and is constantly analyzing how our body fits into space – think reaching across the table for the salad dressing.Here, our brain is scanning the data and sizing up the distance between our arm and the salad dressing.It takes the data and relates it to how long or short our arm is to determine how well our body is doing.However, even though our brain is consistently receiving and assimilating information, it can sometimes get confused about how our body appears.While we have natural brain receptors to keep us from harm and allow us to experience pleasure, there just aren’t specific brain receptors responsible for detecting body size.
In the study, the researchers stimulated the bodies of the volunteers such that they were tricked into thinking that their waistline was shrinking.By stimulating the sensory signals in the body, they found the receptors were the same for everyone yet some people experienced a strong feeling of ‘shrinking’ than others.This may give strength to the idea that two people can have the same body shape yet see themselves completely different.
For example, a seven year old who thinks she fat and refuses to eat because her friends made a derogatory comment about a photograph has a brain that’s using its receptors to shape her body image.The child’s brain receptors have digested the data (her friend’s comments and the hurt feelings thereafter) and decided that her body is no longer fitting in well, even though she likely has not changed in size and looks perfectly normal for a child her age.Also, it has been reported that more than half of six to eight year old girls and one third of the boys of the same age feel their weight should be less.
When someone has negative or skewed body image they may also suffer depression, anxiety or disordered eating. While traditional therapies can be helpful, different brain therapies are emerging that provide non-evasive alternative to treat depression. One such treatment, TMS Therapy,recently received FDA approval. TMS Therapy works with magnetic pulses in depressed patients to stimulate parts of the frontal lobe of the brain to improve mood, mood and overall well being, read more at Smart Brain and Health. TMS Therapy is the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA – it’s the first FDA approved therapy that isn’t associated with medication.Pioneers in the field, like Smart Brain and Health in Los Angeles, offer TMS therapy and have been using the treatment for 15 years.The professionals at Smart Brain and Health deliver a distinct approach to combat depression using magnetic pulses to target certain parts of the brain.This safe, non-invasive treatment treats a number of brain disorders giving the patient relief without the unpleasant side effects of antidepressant medications such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, sedation, memory impairment, or insomnia.
While we may not be able to change the influence of the media on our body image, we can bring awareness to disordered body perception our brain’s impact on our self-esteem.Also, by being aware of the growing numbers of children and teens with disordered body perception, perhaps parents will limit their children’s exposure to negative stimuli and strive to introduce positive images for a more balanced and realistic self-image.In the meantime, champions against depression like the folks Smart Brain and Health will continue to carry the torch for those suffering from depression, offering alternative non-invasive therapies to ease their suffering.