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How the touch modality functions:
A 21st Century Paradigm





A comprehensive description of the operation of the Somatosensory Modality (touch) is presented at the histological and cytological level based on the new, and COMPREHENSIVE


in a series of web pages to be augmented by a series of individual guides.

The GUIDES will be accessible to the left.

Last update:              Activa™: See Citation Page

In support of the above,

  • the first description of theACTIVA,


This page is in very early development because of a recent association with an experienced clinician in the area of chronic pain associated primarily with the somatosensory modality and the associated skeletal elements and musculatura.

The page will focus on the somatosensory modality, generally taken to define the sensory inputs generated at the surface of the organisms external body wall and limbs. This modality is generally described as supporting two types of sensory inputs, the protopathic and the epicritic. However, there is no generally accepted method of categorizing the elements of the somatosensory modality. The protopathic are generally considered to involve the more primitive and poorly localized modalities such as crude touch, crude temoperature and awareness of pain. The epicritic are the precise modalities such as fine temperature and touch discrimination and thus more evolved.

The initial focus of this page will be on the modalities associated with clinically recognized pain, both acutge and chronic.

As with the webpages dealing with the other sensory modalities, the goal is to present a concise, internally consistent, end-to-end, and very detailed description of the neural system associated with the somatosensory modality of the neural system.

Also in parallel with other modalities, the activity of these individual modalities, and the sum of all sensory activity, can only be expressed ultimately in terms of the contraction of muscle fibers and the secretion of the glands.


The discussion in this area will be preliminary while a usable cross-discipline dictionary is developed. Such a dictionary is particularly important because so much of the terminology in this area was developed in the clinical setting.

As an example the term monosynaptic reflex are is used to describe any minimum path reflex arc, on the assumption that there is only a single afferent neuron which senses an external environmental change and that it only synapses with a single motor neurons that is connected directly to a muscle.

In reality, the stage 1 sensory neuron generally synapses with a stage 2 signal processing neuron that synapses with an afferent stage 3 signal projection neuron. This signal projection neuron may then form a reflex arc by synapsing with an efferent stage 3 signal projection neuron that then synapses with a muscle fiber.

The monosynaptic reflex is more appropriately labeled the "minimum path reflex." It is typically used as the first line protection reflex against physical injury within the physiological system.


The F-wave, the H-wave & the minimum path reflex

The Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron provides unusual insight into the operation of the neural system under fight or flight conditions associated with the minimum path reflex (also inappropriately called the monosynaptic reflex).

The following figure from TeleEMG , with additional annotation, provides several insights into the character of the fundamental reflexes of the neural system.

TeleEMGjbr070 (20K)


Because of the revolutionary nature of some of the material presented, students subject to examination by their institution are encouraged to review the Cautions Page before proceeding.


The theory is far more complete and mathematically rigorous than any other presented to date. It introduces three major paradigm shifts affecting concepts held true for the last 50 years, a super extended period considering the rate of changes in other scientific technologies.

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