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Critical Thinker's Dictionary

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joy touch

Joy touch is a meditative technique developed by Pete Sanders.He says it can help people lose weight, feel good, relax, quit smoking, eliminate life-threatening diseases, face the dentist, overcome fear of paranoia, transcend the body, get off drugs, become indifferent to the daily urges to rage and vent, etc.

The technique is reminiscent of meditating on the third eye in the middle of the forehead while silently humming OM! Sanders' twist is to have you imagine a line from the center of your forehead to the center of your brain (the site of the septum pellucidum). Then, imagine gently brushing that region of the brain.

Sanders teaches his discovery of joy touch ($25 for a 2.5 hour session) in Sedona, Arizona, a New Age mecca for those in search of higher forms of consciousness. He is one of a rare breed--a faith healer who does not claim to be a psychologist or psychotherapist. (He claims to have an undergraduate degree from MIT in biomedical chemistry.) He is also the author of You Are Psychic!

The "scientific" theory behind joy touch is explained this way by Sanders: the septum pellucidum is used as a remote control for the hypothalamus, generally considered the brain's pleasure center. The septum pellucidum has nerve connections to the hypothalamus and stimulates it directly. Exhilarating relief may come in 2 or 3 seconds and last as long as 5 to 30 minutes. Of course, any relief felt may be due to the placebo effect.

The critical thinker might think of applying Occam's razor and consider a direct imaginary massage of the hypothalamus itself, eliminating the seemingly superfluous step of sending massage ripples from the septum pellucidum. A word of caution: Do not try this at home! Sanders warns that since the hypothalamus is very close to the rage and anxiety centers of the limbic system within the brain, trying to stimulate the hypothalamus directly might backfire. Instead of finding oneself in a state of stoic ataraxia you might find yourself catatonic or enraged beyond the point of recovery. This may be dangerous to your health, but it could lead to a new career on talkback radio or TV.

See also alternative health practice, placebo effect, and self-deception.

Last updated 19-Dec-2013

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