My recent post, 5 Amazing Facts About Empaths, was incredibly interesting to research. What peaked my interest the most was a condition called Mirror-Touch Synesthesia. I only briefly touched on it at the time, but real life (Science Backed) super powers are so intriguing that I couldn’t let this one go. So I’m starting a series of posts focusing on mutations, conditions, diseases, and disorders that have created real life Super Humans. Starting with Mirror-Touch Synesthesia.
What is Mirror-Touch Synesthesia?
Synesthesia is essentially a crossing of the senses. Some people might hear colors, others can see music. Mirror-Touch Synesthesia (MTS) is a condition that mixes sight and touch. It is a rare condition, affecting only 1-2% of the population. Individuals who possess MTS can very literally feel the physical sensations that others feel. As an example, if you possess mirror touch, and you watch a friend fall off their bike, you would be able to feel the concrete scrape across your skin just as if you had been the one to take the fall. On the flip-side, you would also be able to feel a hug shared between family members, a loving touch on the cheek, or others holding hands.
What are the Symptoms?
There are 2 main symptoms of MTS. The ability to feel the sensations one witnesses others experience, and heightened empathy. We’ve discussed the physical portion, but MTS comes with the heavy burden of increased emotional empathy as well. Many people who have MTS feel others emotions so strongly they have trouble separating their own emotions from those around them.
What causes Mirror-Touch Synesthesia?
The scientific jury is still out on the specific cause of MTS. However they have narrowed it down to Neurons. One theory is overactive Mirror-Neurons. Mirror neurons are active in our brains when we are about to act, as well as when we see another completing an action. The other theory, is that a ‘crossing of the wires’ in brains of individuals with MTS. In essence, the neurons that control the vision and touch sensations have crossed.
Notable Cases of MTS
Joel Salinas is a neurologist who has Mirror-Touch Synesthesia. His condition, like most with MTS, is both a blessing and a curse. He has been outspoken about about his journey, even publishing a Memoir. As a neurologist, he has a unique perspective on the condition. He has the ability to truly understand the science behind his condition, and a way to connect with his patients on a level few others are capable of.
Megan Pohlmann is a pediatric nurse, who has lived with MTS all her life. Although early on she didn’t know the cause of her overwhelming intuition, she was later diagnosed with Mirror-Touch Synesthesia. While it can be overwhelming, her condition helps her connect with patients. Most importantly, it gives her the extraordinary ability to assist with non verbal patients (especially infants).
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