Olaf Blanke

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On how our body sense is governed by neuroscience.  

Olaf Blanke is one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, working at the intersection of the mind and body, of consciousness and the nervous system. Olaf is both a clinician and an academic – he studied at the Free University of Berlin and the Sorbonne in Paris, then practised as a medical doctor and neurologist before becoming a Professor. He and his lab team do groundbreaking work on the use of technology for prosthetics, the acceleration of the effects and benefits of meditation, and the merging of the human body with the digital world to create new experiences and emotions. The result of his work harnesses human touch (haptic) technology with sound technology with the infinite potential of the mind.


Neuroscience Delivers a Sense of Self

“If people are out of body they feel less pain.”

Olaf Blanke is a neuroscientist whose specialist area is the intersection of mind and body. Much of his work is about how that our brain perceives our body, and how this can be manipulated in different ways. His work involves applying this knowledge in areas ranging from prosthetics to meditation. 

In this episode of Health To Wealth, Olaf explains the idea of self-consciousness as a bodily perception that is generated by different parts of the brain, and how this can in particular circumstances lead to phenomena such as phantom limb sensations and out of body experiences. He then goes on to describe how you can manipulate this sense of self by, for example, using haptic – touch – technology to enhance meditation. In this process, you’re transported to an environment that facilitates deeper and more rewarding meditative states. Some of the techniques can also be used to alleviate pain and stress, says Olaf. Avatars experienced through touch rather than seen are another exciting possibility.

Health to Wealth: a podcast from Accor, produced by Purposeful Podcasts and hosted by Anni Hood, Founder and CEO of Well Intelligence.

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