Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tim Cridland and Dr. Joshua Prager Part 1


Testing and Verifying Tim Cridland’s Pain Control Abilities

During the many years I have been giving pain-control demonstrations I have been observed and tested by Dr. Joshua Prager. Dr. Prager specializes in pain medicine. He is the current director of California Pain Medicine Center and Center for Rehabilitation of Pain Syndromes at UCLA.
Photo of Dr. Joshua Prager taken by Denis Belliveau via Dr. Prager's Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Prager_(doctor)
The first interaction between Dr. Joshua Prager and me was not in person. I had done some demonstrations for a TV show called Encounters: The Hidden Truth that aired in 1995. The producers of the TV show had show Dr. Prager the video of my demonstration and on the show he commented:

"He is able to change what he experiences. It’s not that the stimuli aren’t there, it's that the way that he [Cridland] processes them is different than you or I would. So when you say mind over matter; I believe that you cannot see pain in isolation as a physical phenomena. Pain is an experience and the mind is a major part of that experience.”
Years later, in 2003 I met Dr. Prager in person for the first time. This was when I was filmed for a TV show for a UK production company. They had filmed some of my demonstrations and wanted to see if my abilities could be tested. They brought me to Dr. Prager’s offices at California Pain Medicine Center at The UCLA Medical Center.

Dr. Prager attached me to a device that he called a “Medoc TSA II.”  This was attached to the back of my hand with a strap. The device would apply levels of cold and heat and I would respond by clicking a button, first when I was aware of the heat or cold and then again when I could no longer tolerate the stimulus.

The Medoc TSA II Pain Threshold  manufacture’s website says that it is “is a precise, computer-controlled device capable of generating and documenting response to highly repeatable thermal and vibratory stimuli, such as warmth, cold, heat-induced pain, cold-induced pain or vibration….  The TSA-II is… used for identifying thermal pain thresholds in various clinical and research applications.
The TSA-II thermode is placed on the patient's skin to heat or cool the skin. Patients respond to the temperature stimuli by pushing a button, and the sensory threshold is recorded and automatically compared to an age-matched normative data.”

In other words the device would measure to see if I had normal sensory response or if my pain response was impaired by nerve damage or some other disorder and would then test to see how high my tolerance to pain is.

The device showed that my nerve response was normal; that there was nothing psychically wrong with me and that I had the same nerve response as the majority of the population.

However, when I was asked to show my ability to withstand pain I the machine went as high as it could go without causing tissue damage. “You went to its limit.” He told me You do know when there is pain there; it’s just that you don’t react to it the way a lot of our patients do.”

Prager also said:

“When I first heard about Tim I thought more likely he was an illusionist than he was actually doing what he does.”

“He had the ability to take our machine up to its maximum and down to its minimum, in terms of the temperature being generated, without withdrawing, which most people who come in here are not capable of doing. So he was able, clearly, in this setting, also in a measured situation to be able to turn off his pain.”

“It takes a special ability to be able to ignore your pain. The way that he does that demonstrates a level of mastery that probably requires some special abilities.”

Video of a TV show with Dr. Prager and Tim Crildand
I went to Prager’s offices again a few years later, in 2005 for a test that was filmed by The National Geographic Channel. This time Prager had a different device to measure pain. It was called a Neurometer CPT/C.   This device had a clip that attached to my fingertip. The clip had electrodes that pressed against the skin of my fingertip. This time I was asked to hold onto a button and keep holding on as long as I could tolerate it. As soon as the button was released the electricity would stop. He did two separate runs of this.

The sensation from the electricity was much more intense than from Prager’s previous device. It turned out that this was because that each of the two sessions were stimulating separate nerves.  The electricity could be adjusted to create very specific pain stimuli.

When I did first runs and it showed where most people would stop (level 4-6). I had stopped at level 20.

After this first run Dr. Prager said “Your score basically puts you in outer space compared to the rest of the population.”

I told him that now that I had felt what kind of pain it was I could do it again and increase my pain tolerance to the specific type of pain.
We did two more runs, once again one each of the specific electrical stimuli, and this time I showed a remarkable increase in tolerance, scoring raising my level to 27. I had managed to increase my pain tolerance tens of times with only a few minutes of practice with the specific style of pain stimuli.
Dr. Prager said “Clearly he is able to change something in his nervous system so that he can tolerate more pain.”

I met with Dr. Prager for further testing for a Japanese TV show called The Miracle of the Human Body that was broadcast on TV-Tokyo in April of 2011.  During this show I was observed by an fMRI machine while in I was put in pain. The results confirmed something that I had been telling people for a long time; that I can feel pain as a normal person does, but that I react to it differently. By changing my reaction I change the whole action of pain.

Details of what happened during the filming of the TV Tokyo show will follow in an upcoming blog post.
Tim Cridland

Some references:

Machine used for first test at Dr. Prager’s office: 

Machine used in second test at Dr. Prager’s office:
Article about pain that mentions Dr. Prager and Tim Cridland:

TV Tokyo show Miracles of The Human Body:
Contact Tim Cridland at ZamoraKing@aol.com

Tim Cridland's web site is www.astoundingshow.com