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    Helpwithcontrol's Avatar
    Helpwithcontrol Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jun 17, 2014, 11:34 AM
    How can I control a muscle with my mind?
    I know that I move my muscles with my brain, but that is subconscious, how can I train my conscious mind to be able to control bodily functions?
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,813, Reputation: 5427
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    #2

    Jun 17, 2014, 12:23 PM
    Which ones?
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #3

    Jun 17, 2014, 12:28 PM
    Breathing and your heart beating is subconscious... walking, taking a dump or a wiz is very much a conscious muscle control thing if you see the differnce.
    InfoJunkie4Life's Avatar
    InfoJunkie4Life Posts: 1,306, Reputation: 79
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    #4

    Jun 18, 2014, 10:12 AM
    When it comes to voluntary muscle movement, you have to think about what you do, which occurs in the cerebrum, primarily the motor cortex. Some things are automatic even in voluntary muscle control due to muscle memory, for instance when you decide to walk across the room, you don't think about the rotation of your hip and the angle of your knee and the pressure on your ankle, but rather the feedback mechanisms (balance, pressure, angle) in your body tell your brain where the relevant parts are and through muscle memory learned through a lifetime, using your cerebellum you act out that decision. You have a great amount of control over voluntary muscles, however doing things that you have never done before like wiggling your ears or twitching your nose can take a great deal of concentration and practice. These would be new things learned and require more "thought process" as you learn them.

    These same concepts lie around things like balance, dexterity, and form, both in and out of the athletic arena. These talents are learned by action, and then referenced later. The more you use them the more automatic they become as the muscle memory is strengthened in the cerebellum. After some time of repetition, you can get into muscle habits, where you are so used to doing something a certain way that trying to do it differently becomes a great challenge. For instance, most people learn to use their fingers together rather than individually; this can cause a great deal of concentration when you try to learn how to type, play the piano, or wiggle your pinky while the other fingers remain stationary. It took me a great deal of time growing up to learn how to make the Vulcan salute with ease.

    The medulla oblongata in the brain stem is primarily responsible for subconscious muscle control along with the pons. These parts of the midbrain take feedback from various receptors in the body and brain to control things like breathing rate, depth of breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital functions. The lower parts of the brain stem and the spine themselves are responsible for reflexive action, other things that require stimuli but still are automatic. When you touch something hot, you pull away, or when you turn your head your eyes stay focused on the same object. Things like muscle movement within the digestive system are controlled more or less locally (enteric brain). The nerves within the gut both receive and relay impulses locally without having to involve the brain itself. When food enters the intestinal tract the pressure within the intestines causes the muscle movement inside the smooth tissues that are responsible for pushing the food through.

    There is also a great deal of direct chemical control within the body. The presence of acid in the small intestines will cause pancreatic secretion, even while all the nerves are severed to the pancreas and intestines. There are a great deal of hormones that are responsible for many automatic functions of the body. Even in the voluntary movements we can see the effects of fatigue, adrenaline, and hydration on the capability of voluntary movement.

    Furthermore, none of these things are absolute. We can have involuntary movements within voluntary muscles in situations that involve pain, chemical imbalance, twitches, diseases, fear, and feedback problems. Likewise we can have some voluntary control over the automatic functions of the body as they still function on some of the same pathways as the voluntary muscles. Take into account bladder and colon control, holding your breath, and blinking. All automatic in nature, however you still generally have a great deal of control over them. Even so, in the event of danger the automatic will take over to balance the equation, such as the event of high CO2 levels in the lungs causes you to gasp for air.

    People have been known to control their heart rates voluntarily. They use psychology and biofeedback mechanisms to obtain results and eventually it becomes part of muscle memory and conscious control. Thinking of things like sex and violence can raise the heart rate while thinking of relaxing things can calm the heart. How you breath has a direct correlation on heart rate, etc. Keep in mind the automatic nature is still in control, any sign of damage would automatically trigger an involuntary reflex.
    Helpwithcontrol's Avatar
    Helpwithcontrol Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Jun 18, 2014, 11:39 AM
    I can move my ears and eyebrows quite well, I can wiggle a solitary finger without difficulty, and I can even control my heart rate to a certain extent. However, is it feasible to try something like moving an entire arm?
    Thank you for the very good answer by the way.
    InfoJunkie4Life's Avatar
    InfoJunkie4Life Posts: 1,306, Reputation: 79
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    #6

    Jun 23, 2014, 06:45 PM
    Arms are such a large appendage... I can see the difficulty.

    Sorry, pun there, I don't understand your question, maybe a little background would help.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #7

    Jun 23, 2014, 07:11 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Helpwithcontrol View Post
    I can move my ears and eyebrows quite well, I can wiggle a solitary finger without difficulty, and I can even control my heart rate to a certain extent. However, is it feasible to try something like moving an entire arm?
    Thank you for the very good answer by the way.
    You can't move your arm? When you want to grab an item, for example, do you not move your arm to grab it?
    gamergirl4life's Avatar
    gamergirl4life Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #8

    Jun 23, 2014, 08:59 PM
    What I did to train my body to recognize the movement of my muscles is I just started moving in front of the mirror. Once the muscle I wanted to "train" moved I just started shortening the movements until I just got it down to that one muscle. You are going to slip up a few times, but if you get frustrated just walk away for a few minutes and come back to it. Once you do it for about a half an hour or 15 minutes walk away and do some more the next day. After about a week I was able to move the muscle on command. Hoped this helped.
    InfoJunkie4Life's Avatar
    InfoJunkie4Life Posts: 1,306, Reputation: 79
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    #9

    Jun 25, 2014, 01:20 AM
    Believe it or not, that is a rather common exercise. Isometric workouts or isometric contractions are often used in bodybuilding and strength training. Remember though, each muscle in your body is layered on other muscles and consists of thousands of fibers. When you flex your biceps without moving your arm, there are still several muscles in play, further more you need a balance. When you flex your biceps without moving, your arm does not move because your triceps are actually applying an equal force in the other direction. Any muscle you flex without some resistance will need to be counterbalanced by another muscle group to keep you stationary, your arms are rather light and do not provide as much resistance as say your abdomen.
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    Examine the attachment, you will see that most of the muscles in the forearm are controlling the wrist and hand movements. There you have even less resistance at rest, and thus the movement of the muscles would have to be quite small in order to do so without physically moving your arm. To do so while counterbalancing it is good to apply resistance using your other hand, see here. Those exercises can help show which muscle groups are involved in which movements and help you mentally target each one.

    Hope this helps, and good luck.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #10

    Jun 25, 2014, 02:52 AM
    'I can move my ears and eyebrows quite well, I can wiggle a solitary finger without difficulty, and I can even control my heart rate to a certain extent. However, is it feasible to try something like moving an entire arm? '

    This makes zero sense unless you are paralyzed.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #11

    Jun 25, 2014, 03:35 PM
    That's what I thought Joy. This whole thing makes no sense unless the OP has no use of his limbs to begin with. If that's the case, then this is amazing. If not, he's just like every other human on the planet. I'm wiggling my middle finger as we speak, and it's attached to my hand, which is attached to my arm, which I'm also controlling with my mind! Not brain surgery unless you have no control over those limbs to begin with.
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
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    #12

    Jun 25, 2014, 06:25 PM
    I just....sit down while I tell you this so you don't faint...but I just blinked my eyes on command!!!!!

    I'll be back later, I am off to make my leg move on command as well. Wish me luck!
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #13

    Jun 25, 2014, 07:18 PM
    Want to hear about how a muscle can control your mind... talk to any 13-33 year old guy.

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