Understanding Sensory Therapeutic Brushing: Mechanisms and Impact on the Nervous System

In the realm of sensory integration therapies, Sensory Therapeutic Brushing has emerged as a remarkable technique, especially for individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This blog delves into the mechanics of Sensory Therapeutic Brushing, exploring how it works and its profound impact on the nervous system.

What is Sensory Therapeutic Brushing?

Sensory Therapeutic Brushing is a specialized therapy used primarily for individuals who have difficulty processing sensory information, often seen in conditions like autism spectrum disorders and SPD. This technique involves using a soft-bristled brush to deliver deep pressure touch stimulation to the skin.

The Mechanics Behind the Therapy

The Process: The therapy typically involves gently brushing the skin in a specific manner, often following a particular pattern. This is usually done over major muscle areas and joints, avoiding the face, chest, and stomach.

Sensory Input and the Nervous System: The brushing provides proprioceptive input - a type of sensory input that helps the body understand where it is in space. This input is critical in helping regulate the nervous system.

How Sensory Brushing Affects the Nervous System

Regulating the Sensory System: The deep pressure applied during brushing can help calm an overstimulated sensory system. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who are hypersensitive to sensory input.

Impact on Brain Functioning: Regular sensory brushing can lead to changes in brain functioning, particularly in areas responsible for sensory processing and emotional regulation.

The Benefits of Sensory Brushing

Improved Sensory Processing: For individuals with SPD, sensory brushing can help improve their ability to process and respond to sensory information.

Calming Effect: The therapy often has a calming effect on individuals who may experience anxiety or stress due to sensory overload.

Enhanced Motor Skills: By helping to organize sensory input, sensory brushing can also contribute to improved motor skills and coordination.

Who Can Benefit from Sensory Brushing?

While commonly used for children with autism and SPD, sensory brushing can also benefit adults with sensory sensitivities or those seeking a method to manage stress and anxiety.


Sensory Therapeutic Brushing is a compelling and non-invasive therapy that plays a significant role in managing sensory processing issues. Its impact on the nervous system, notably in calming and organizing sensory input, makes it a valuable tool in the field of sensory integration therapies.

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