A hypothetical psychological construct with no substantial empirical support, which claims that memories can be stored outside of the brain, in locations distributed throughout the body. It is invoked by some therapists to explain physical symptoms in people whom the therapist assumes to have suffered from some trauma, usually sexual, in childhood. For example, a client with a history of stomach aches may be told that something traumatic happened to that part of the body, and recovered memory therapy
is used to "recover" the memory. With suggestions and imagination, the client may come to believe that, for instance, someone rubbed their penis against their stomach when they were two years old. The fact that this is a prime example of false memory syndrome
is denied by the therapist who usually believes he or she is helping retrieve real memories.
This is not to deny that sometimes, some kinds of touch can cue legitimate, real memories. However, to infer abuse from physical symptoms in this way is utterly invalid, as is the inference that conscious, recallable memories can be stored in muscle tissue.
"After a number of sessions of guided imagery in which the therapist asked questions about who might have been in her bedroom as a child, Karen pictured her father standing at the foot of her bed, and concluded that her chronic foot cramps must have come from him molesting her feet in the night."