Circle Rehabilitation helps people with neurological conditions who require rehabilitation. These conditions include Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke and acquired brain injury (ABI), and each one presents its own unique demands and challenges.
Effective and structured rehabilitation is crucial to improving and enhancing the quality of life for each person that we see and one of the ways we help people is with sensation therapy.
Sensation can be described as the mental process that detects stimulation, whether internal or external. In a human, when a stimulus is detected by receptors in the body, an electrical impulse is transmitted via sensory neurones to the brain which ‘decodes’ the signal into information.
How your body responds to sensation
As a simple example, if your hand touches a toothbrush, electrical signals will be sent from the touch receptors in your hand and fingers to the brain. The brain will then decode those electrical signals into the message ‘my hand is touching a toothbrush’.
How a neurological condition can affect your sensation
When there is a problem affecting the brain, as is the case in patients with a neurological disorder or disease, any electrical signals sent from receptors can become disjointed or confused. Electrical signals may arrive in a part of the brain that is no longer functioning correctly, leading to incorrect responses by the brain. More seriously, in some circumstances there may be no response from specific parts of the brain at all to electrical signals sent by receptors.
What does sensation therapy do?
The aim of sensation therapy, also sometimes referred to as sensory rehabilitation, is to retrain the brain where possible, and to encourage parts of the brain that are functional to adapt to take over tasks from non-functioning parts.
Movements many take for granted, such as sitting on a chair or walking along a pavement, can be incredibly challenging to a person who has reduced sensory capacity. By re-learning how to respond to stimulation, or when a different part of the brain adapts to respond to stimulation, the impact it has on the quality of life cannot be overestimated.
Sensation therapy at Circle will normally be carried out by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. There are a variety of ways this specialised rehabilitation can be carried out:
Deep pressure can be relaxing and calming, helping the central nervous system to process sensory information. A deep massage can be useful to stimulate muscles and nerves that can be less active in someone with a neurological condition.
Increased sensory input has been shown to be highly effective in helping to encourage and develop the ability to respond to stimulation, and we use a number of ways to ‘bombard’ the senses to encourage progress.
Contrast bathing: A change in temperature can have a positive effect on the central nervous system, and often we will ask a patient to place their hand in cooler water then warmer water a number of times. Even in patients who have minimal feeling in their hand, this simple exercise can be of benefit. This is carried out under the careful supervision of our physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
We have a number of boxes that contain different textures. By touching these with their hands or feet, patient can start to learn how to sense things with their body again.
Our physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams can be a great help to anyone requiring sensation therapy. Regaining the ability to feel and respond to stimulation can be incredibly liberating following a neurological challenge.
All rehabilitation carried out at Circle is focused on helping you to regain as much function as possible. For some patients, this may a relatively simple process, while for others who have experienced a significant illness, the process may be much longer and more involved. Our aim is to meet people at the level they are currently at and then give them the tools, the techniques, the practice and the support they need to progress and improve.
Should you have a neurological disorder or disease and would appreciate help with your rehabilitation, please get in touch with us to see how we can help. Our highly-experienced therapists, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists, will expertly guide you through training exercises, support and care tailored just for you.