Sensory Modulation

Protac’s products help many people with conditions such as:

Brain damage
Cerebral palsy
Chronic pain
Deafness and/or blindness
Developmental disorders
Huntington’s Chorea
Multiple sclerosis
Neurological disorders
Parkinson’s disease
Psychiatric disorders
Sensory disturbances
Sensory Processing Disorder
Sleep disorders
Tourette’s syndrome

This presentation explains the research that went into the development of the Protac Ball Blanket™ based on the theory of Sensory Integration. This video is a presentation given at the Occupational Therapy Show in Birmingham - November 2016 - by our Danish partners PROTAC A/S.

Effect of the balls

All Protac’s products contain balls which, thanks to the deep touch-pressure and constant contact to the body’s surface which they provide, activate the sense of touch and the sense of body position and movement.

Normally, we say that we can see, hear, feel, smell and taste. When our body and our brain work as they should, we talk about being in full command of our senses. However, we as human beings actually have more than the above five senses. Our most important sense is the sense of touch in our skin which registers contact. In therapeutic terms, the sense of touch is referred to as the tactile sense. Touching the skin sends stimuli to the brain and gives us a sense of the body’s boundaries. The skin thus serves as a boundary which helps us to distinguish between what is ‘me’ and what is outside ‘me’. The sense of touch thus helps us to establish a sense of our own bodies and helps the brain to keep us up to date so that we can feel our bodies.

Changing pressure enhances body awareness

When the contact is uniform and lasting, the brain has a sort of ‘fade-out function’, which means that the contact ceases to be registered – the sensory impression simply fades. To maintain a sense of your body, the pressure has to vary. The balls in Protac’s products act on the skin by subjecting it to a light pressure distributed across numerous points, helping the brain to register the body to a far greater extent than through uniform contact because the balls move through slight changes in position. The skin is thus continuously stimulated in new ways and ‘updates’ the brain about the body and the surrounding environment. Simple stimulation of the skin’s tactile sense can arouse the brain, but if there is any disorder in the brain’s reception, or in how it processes sensory stimuli, skin contact can be experienced as both painful and very stressful. Distributed pressure combined with the weight of the many balls in Protac’s products provides the body with a continual update on the body’s surface, which has a very calming effect while also stimulating one’s body sense.

Calming movement

Another important sense is the sense of body position and movement, which is also known as the proprioceptive sense. This sense has receptor organs in the joints and muscles which send messages to the brain and calm the nervous system. Intuitively, we often use our sense of movement to create calm. If you are feeling restless, it often helps to go for a walk. If you are feeling impatient, you may fidget on the chair or tap one of your feet – which are both everyday examples that we use our sense of movement to calm ourselves down. When the weight of the balls in Protac’s products offers resistance to the body’s joints and muscles, a message is sent to the nervous system, which the brain registers as movement. This is why the balls have a calming effect.