Cenesthesia Definition and Meaning

The term cenesthesia, which derives from the French cénesthésie although its most remote origins are in the Greek language, refers to the sensations that a person experiences regarding their own body.

Cenesthesia is linked to proprioception (a concept that is also known by the name of interioception), which is the unconscious perception that an individual has about the location and movements of their body beyond the intervention of the senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch. The idea, used in the field of psychology, refers to the feeling that a human being has the existence of his body.

Our body has a very wide series of sensory receptors and nerve endings that provide us with internal sensitivity. So-called proprioceptors are found in various parts of the body, such as tendons, muscles, vestibular apparatus, and joints. When they are stimulated, it is possible for us to know in what position we are, or at what speed and acceleration we are moving.

In this way, we can say that proprioceptors are a kind of interoreceptors that are grouped in a subsystem in which are the receptors linked to movement and balance of the body, as well as those sensitive to blood pressure and sensitive chemoreceptors. to the concentration of carbon dioxide, oxygen and pH. Other sensations such as pain, hunger, the desire to evacuate the bowel, the temperature and the state of the bladder can also be perceived by these means, which are part of the cenesthesia.

It is often said that cenesthesia is a difficult sensation to define since it mentions a somewhat abstract issue. Each person feels the interior of their body in a way that only they know: that internal experimentation is cenesthesia.

Just as the description of our feelings, something even more abstract, does not usually coincide millimetrically with that of our close friends, the same happens with the way in which we perceive the interior of our body and the phenomena that take place there.

Take for example hunger, one of the sensations that every human being must experience at least once a day: there are those who cannot miss even one of the fundamental meals (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner) and even add others to calm anxiety, while there are also those who seem to be satisfied with a ration typical of a bird.

The artist Alberto López Claro, born in 1882 in the Municipality of Azul, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the author of a painting entitled The man (problem of cenesthesia), painted in oil and published approximately in 1945. López Claro adopted the pseudonym Claudio Lantier in 1931, which is why his work can be found signed with both names.

It is important not to confuse cenesthesia with kinesthesia. This second word refers, according to the dictionary of the DigoPaul, to the perception of the position and balance of the different parts of the body.

Synesthesia, on the other hand, is the sensation that is generated in a body region as a result of a stimulus that was applied in another sector. The notion can also be used to name the self-image of a sense that is given by another image that is experienced by a different sense. The rhetoric, meanwhile, uses the notion of synesthesia to refer to linking two images that come from different directions.

Kinesthesia, kinesthesia and synesthesia, in short, are concepts that are associated with sensations but that have different specific meanings.


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