Movement therapy: the science behind proprioception

Staying focused, coordinated, self-regulated and essentially upright (our posture) in relation to our bodies is all thanks to a lovely big word summarising all those things called: “proprioception”.

To take the confusion out of it for you, proprioception is a Latin word meaning the “unconscious perception of movement”. Essentially allowing our bodies to control its position in space, time and movement. Very cool right!

It helps us to know what position our bodies are in and how they are moving

A really easy way for us to describe how this works for you is imagine writing your name in the air with your eyes closed. Or when you wake up in the dark in the middle of the night and knowing where you are. It is your bodies automatic and immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces.

Proprioception is often known as our sixth sense!

We think it’s important for you to know the science behind this marvel that occurs naturally in our bodies. Along with how our team here at OTFC Group can assist your child with movement therapy, and the benefits that flow on from this in their day to day lives.

The awesome neuroreceptors in our muscles, joints and tendons which tell our brain where our body is in space, help us with 2 main things:

  1. Awareness of our body – helping with balance, movement, and posture.
  2. Sensory regulation, emotional regulation and lowering arousal levels – movement helps us to calm down, focus as well as be attentive and has positive impacts on our mental health.

It’s that unconscious thing we do day in day out!

But what happens when this gets a little muddled? It may be harder to run, go up and down stairs, stand on one foot and even simply remain stable and upright. Being just a little more awkward and clumsy in our daily activities.

So, what do we do exactly to help our bodies to have more awareness, to help with balance, to help with movement and posture? We initiate different activities that promote and help our clients find proprioceptive sensory feedback.

These are things like the grading of force, for example, rolling a cylinder in a certain direction and distance and your child replicating this. Along with the direction of movement which is where we determine how accurately children can assume the midrange position when they cannot see what they are doing.

All these various forms of movement help us to calm down and stay focused, as well as having positive impacts on our mental health.

For more information on how we can help with your child’s proprioception and movement therapy, we’d love you to contact us and have a look around our website at OTFC.

OTFC Group – We’re Influencing Lives. Creating Possibilities. Making a Difference

OTFC is a South Australian clinic-based service that is centrally located and services children and adolescents from birth through to 21 years of age both locally and nationally. Dedicated to providing a client focused approach where children and families feel validated in their concerns, supported in difficult times, encouraged to be proactive and inspired to facilitate change.


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