Photo credit: http://joshsundquist.com/
Seda suddenly reached for the lower section of his right leg only for both hands to clasp each other. He sighed, more like a hiss, and his hitherto bright countenance dampened! The memory of the ordeal in an auto-crash came flooding back: trapped in the wreckage, the hospital, the decision that the leg has to be amputated just below the knee and the physical as well psychological healing process!
The sensation that prompted Seda’s sharp reaction is not new to him; it is something he is emotionally battling to come to terms with: a sensation on a limb that no longer exists; so real that he could virtually twist his unseen ankle and toes and reach out as if to push back a stool!
Frequently, it is pain or nerve-racking twitching as real as any pain on any healthy part of his body. Fortunately, the pains are reducing in frequency with each passing day; a year ago it was living hell!
This is the medical condition generally known as Phantom Limb Syndrome: the sensation from time to time, when lost limbs or organs seem to come alive with real pressure, heat (or cold), pain, etc.
Experts subdivide the syndrome into Phantom limbs/organs pains and stump pains. They consider stump pains, which are pains at the point of amputation, not really phantom pains!
At one time, it was believed or, thought that phantom limb sensations were play-backs by the brain and nerves, i.e. the brain trying to re-enact the limbs it once used. This belief became doubtful when it was realized that those born without limbs or paralyzed from birth also experienced the sensation. The question then asked was, “which memory is the brain reliving when it never had or used the limb in the first place”?
Smart question; but, the equally smart response is that the perception of the entire body is already wired into the brain as it develops and through a fine network, it can sense any part whether it exists or not; that the blue-print in the brain is that of a complete, wholesome body and it tries to shake up any part/organ from time to time, irrespective of whether a part has been excised or not!
In any case, if there is doubt about phantom limbs, there is none whatsoever about phantom pains. The familiar cliché is, ‘there is nothing phantom about phantom pains’. They are real and distant from the point of amputation and cannot therefore be confused with stump pains! Where do these pains come from?
There are as many answers as there are experts; from neuropathic specialists to physiotherapists, down to core medical practitioners!.. all have one form of explanation or the other! The only consolation is that they all seem to agree that the brain is at the center of phantom pain sensations!
The common ground is that the brain in conjunction with the spinal cord and the network of nerves triggers off the impulse which the victim feels as pain, heat, or any other sensation! The lingering puzzle is whether the brain originates the impulse or is only responding to external stimuli! If the former is the case, then the memory play-back theory is a high possibility; if on the other hand, the brain is only acting as a transmitter, a medium, then the stimuli could only come from the physical body or a non-physical body!
In our opinion, phantom pains are traceable to any of the three factors of memory play-back, physical stimuli and non- physical stimuli! Each case should be investigated on its own merits to reach its peculiar root cause! No general template!
Medical and other related scientific studies are yielding amazing results in understanding and grappling with the first two factors. Apart from fine-tuning the memory play-back theory, relatively recent experiments have shown that a suitable pressure on one part of the body is capable of producing a phantom sensation. For instance, the face is said to be so elaborately mapped on to the brain that a touch on say, the cheek, is capable of exerting pressure on a phantom hand! Indeed, the wealth of knowledge in this field is truly encouraging and growing by the day!
On the other hand, there is a dearth of knowledge, almost verging on ignorance, on non-physical causes of phantom pains! This is quite understandable because they involve processes that cannot be applied with stethoscopes, monitors, scanners and the usual medical gadgets! They are processes requiring deep perceptions of ethereal life; understanding the significance of the astral body and its connection with the physical body, as well as, the condition of the soul particularly, the redemptive reaction surrounding it and the vibrations of the Light at the time. This is a wide field which may require the collaboration of persons with abilities in mediumship, clairvoyance, magnetic healing and acupuncture.
Above all, the practitioners should seek and acquire the knowledge of the workings of The Almighty’s Primordial Laws in Creation. Such knowledge is necessary in order to avoid applying procedures like hypnotism (some would say hypnosis) which may provide short term relief but, in the long run, very harmful to the souls of both patient and healer.
In all non-physical causes of phantom pains, the astral body plays pivotal roles as the closest cloak to the physical body and bridge between the body, soul and the beyond. These roles would form the subject of subsequent discussions in the series. Before then let us put the discussion so far in perspective:
1. Phantom Syndrome is real and consists of phantom limbs/organs and phantom pains.
2. Phantom pains are different from stump pains and can be prompted by both physical and non-physical causes.
3. The physical causes include memory play-back by the brain and physical stimuli on an existing part of the body. For instance, a touch on the cheek might trigger off some pressure on a phantom wrist.
4. Non-physical causes require the astral body as a medium to transfer impulses to the brain. The astral body is therefore an unavoidable factor in unraveling these causes.