In recent years, important developments in the field of neurophysiology have led to major discoveries regarding the sensory and motor nervous systems. Computer techniques for averaging brain wave response patterns have made possible new uses for electroencephalographic recordings in studies of sensory perceptual functioning. A number of recent studies have indicated systematic relationships between electrophysiological, biochemical, and sensory perceptual events in the central nervous system. Other research evidence has suggested that muscle tension patterns, certain biochemical characteristics, and “styles’ of perceiving and thinking are intercorrelated and they are important aspects of personality functioning.
One major aim of an investigation at Agnews State Hospital is to study the relationships in normal individuals between muscle tension response patterns and sensory and perceptual functioning. A second aim is to attempt to influence biochemical and brain wave response characteristics through the technique of Structural Integration.
Sixteen male subjects will be tested biochemically and electrophysiologically on the first and after the tenth hour of processing by Dr. Ida Rolf. The chemical measures will include creatine kinase, aldolase, serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT), lactic acid dehydrogenase (LDH), adrenal cortical hormones, catecholamines, and androgen and estrogen levels; all of these measures appear to be relevant to changes in perceptual and neurophysiological functioning associated with changes in muscle tension patterns. The electramyographic recordings will be made by Dr. Valerie Hunt of UCLA; the battery of electroneurophysiologic tests originated at the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, each subject will be tested with a battery of personality tests.
Julian Silverman, Ph.D.
In October, Dr. Rolf will begin work on a research project exploring the biochemical, psychological, and physiological effects of structural Integration. This is a project at Agnews State Hospital funded jointly by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Esalen Research Institute; Dr. Julian Silverman of NIMH is the Research Specialist in charge, and the project will draw personnel from the Stanford Research Institute and the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute as well.
The study will be completed by mid-November, and we should be able to report findings in the next issue of the Bulletin.
A pilot study of blood chemistry before and after processing was done on twelve individuals, male and female, from the Esalen Residential Program of Spring, 1969. These results are interesting, and we have given them in full below, together with a discussion of the nature of the analyses made. It should be noted that the subjects in the Residential Program encountered a great variety of stress situations in the course of the program and that processing was done by four different practitioners; that is to say, there was very little control on this pilot study. Nevertheless, the biochemist analyzing these results calls them encouraging and says of them “I don’t know of anything of this sort in the literature.”
Biochemical measurements on blood samples drawn 2/20/69 before Esalen resident training and on blood samples drawn 6/12/69 after Esalen resident training on twelve individuals. (Only ten subjects actually had blood drawn before and after.)
The biochemist comments, “The preservation of samples was not the same in both before and after bloods and this must be kept in mind. Despite this sample handling difference, I am encouraged to think that these results are encouraging enough to repeat the process. In short, I think that we have something but I don’t know of anything of this sort in the literature. The decrease in CPK was what I had thought might happens the decrease in GOT was not really expected as I had thought it would stay the same. The increase in LDH and aldolase are unexpected and I don’t know what they mean.”Current Research