Let’s talk Proprioception.
Do you like to learn how and why things work? I do! I find it very intriguing when something works when it has to do with the human body, especially the brain. It seems that there is no agreement on how much or how little we know about the brain, but one thing can be said is that we will strive to learn until there will be nothing left to learn. Which leads me to proprioception. I have recently been hearing a great deal about proprioception so I decided to dive into what it means in our life and what it has to do with our brains and some really cool socks.
What is proprioception you say? Well it’s actually really important in our daily life and how well we function. I bet you’ve heard of the term “sixth sense.” Proprioception is sometimes considered a sixth sense as it is the sense of the relative position of one’s own parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. Ever wonder why kids love the trampoline or the swings so much or how you can touch your nose with your eyes shut or use the automobile pedals without looking directly at them? (I know you just tried to touch your nose with your eyes shut ;-)). Can you think about how that would play an important role in your daily quality of life? How about your ability to play sports well, cooking or simple tasks that require your ability to do multiple things at once or engage in any movements found in the photos below?
The brain integrates information from proprioception and from the vestibular system into its overall sense of body position, movement, and acceleration. The vestibular system is the sensory system that provides the leading contribution to the sense of balance and spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. Our receptors connect with the brain through the nervous system so that even without sight, a person knows what his or her body is doing.
So how does proprioception work?
In a study published in 2015 in the journal Nature, biologist Seung-Hyun Woo and her colleagues from Scripps, Columbia University, and San Jose State University identified the key molecule that governs proprioception, the protein Piezo2, and it is found in the membranes of special nerve cells in our muscles and tendons called proprioceptors. Their data also suggests that it is a possibility that other mechanosensor(s) exist in the neurons. It is said that when we move, our muscles and tendons get stretched, which puts tension on the proprioceptors’ membranes. That tension distorts each protein and causes a tunnel to open in its center. Small activating particles rush through the tunnel into the proprioceptor cell, causing it to fire an electrical impulse up the limb, through the spinal cord, to the brain. This whole process happens in a matter of milliseconds.
When the biologists deleted the specific gene from the proprioceptors in mice, the animals showed no body awareness. “The behavioral deficits are so striking,” she said: “The mice would splay their legs outward in abnormal positions, sometimes even reaching them up into the air rather than toward the ground. When they walked, their bellies dragged as they doggy-paddled across the ground.”
What happens when proprioception doesn’t work well?
So what does a loss of proprioception or impairment look like in a human being? What if they have lost some of that ability from an illness or disease or even a brain injury? How about those diagnosed within a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders? You may have heard of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Asperger’s. You can actually find an abundance of information online regarding proprioception dysfunction found in children and adults diagnosed with ASD and how it can affect their focus, attention, and quality of life.
Take a look at proprioception through the eyes of a child that struggles with it…
This video does an excellent job at showing how it affects children. The more I learn about proprioception and how it affects us, the more I realize I need to be more patient with my own child when some of these behaviors shown are exhibited. For clarification, she is not diagnosed on the spectrum, but she has exhibited difficulty with proprioception since a very young age and this is something we are constantly learning how to help her thrive with this in daily life and in school. As you can see by the video it can be very distracting and interfere with what is expected of children during school.
Many children with processing disorders describe a feeling of being scattered or disjointed. Children who are sensory seeking are often experiencing proprioceptive dysfunction. Here are some common signs of proprioceptive dysfunction:
- Sensory Seeking (pushes, writes too hard, plays rough, bangs or shakes feet while sitting, chews, bites, and likes tight clothes)
- Poor Motor Planning/Control & Body Awareness (difficulty going up and down stairs, bumps into people and objects frequently, difficulty riding a bike)
- Poor Postural Control (slumps, unable to stand on one foot, needs to rest head on desk while working)
These children often self-regulate by engaging in behaviors that provide proprioceptive input such as toe walking, crashing, running, flapping or even self-stimulate. This study published in October 2012 found HERE in PubMed titled “Proprioceptive Processing Difficulties Among Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities” explains that their “findings suggest that proprioceptive difficulties among children with ASD may contribute to decreased motor planning and postural control and to disruptive behaviors that negatively affect their participation in daily tasks.”
Can you think of another diagnosis that displays a lack of or difficulty with proprioception? How about Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? MS is described as “a chronic disease of the central nervous system, which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. In a healthy person, nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord rapidly send signals to each other and to the rest of the body. These signals are called nerve impulses and are critical to our functioning and way of life. They allow us to process information, feel sensations, and move freely. But in a person with MS, these nerve signaling pathways are impaired. In other words, those nerve impulses transmitted in the brain and spinal cord—and to the rest of the body—are either slowed or not transmitted at all.”
MS disrupts communications between the central nervous system (involving the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (covering the rest of the body) through a process known as demyelination. Since proprioception requires instant and coordinated communication, a person diagnosed with MS can have a lack of sensory response or the loss of balance can be due to the disruption of nerve impulses from the ankles(feet), the primary source of sensory feedback for balance, to the brain. This affects balance, walking, eating, and even picking up objects. When proprioception is impaired, we can lose the ability to navigate spaces, play sports, or even drive a car.
We all have proprioception that is unique to us. It makes complete sense that the better our proprioreceptors are firing, the better we can react and move no matter if it is to stand up from a chair, or get in and out of a car, or our ability to play a sport well. We can see how improved proprioception could certainly have a positive impact on those that display impairment such as those diagnosed on the ASD or with MS. It would probably provide a significant improvement in the daily life of someone suffering from poor balance or stability and those with a need to engage in proprioception to, in a sense, create their own sense of self awareness. But is it possible to improve this function naturally and without the use of drugs?
What does a pair of really cool socks and/or insoles have to do with proprioception?
Yes, it is possible. We have recently found that we can improve that function through activating dermatomes found in the bottom of the foot. A dermatome is defined as ‘a strip of skin that is innervated by a single spinal nerve‘ and there are different maps used for the body available in clinical neurology.
I began learning more about proprioception as I saw the impact of wearable technology on my dear friend’s daughter that has a primary diagnosis of a rare genetic condition that doesn’t even have a name besides one that describes the genetic change. There are only 50 cases in medical literature. She is 5.5 years old, took her first steps at 4, is learning to self-feed and is currently preverbal. I have watched her try orthotics and braces for years as well as utilizing holistic methods to help her. She is now thriving with this new neurotechnology and it is so simple to use. Here is a quick 30 second video of “B’s” toe walking and her subsequent proprioception improvements.
Did you notice the change in her balance and being able to walk with her heel down? Can you imagine the feelings of accomplishment and success that it gives this little girl for something most of us would not even have to think twice about as we do it automatically since we began walking?
A company called VoxxLife has developed technology that activates the dermatomes in the feet utilizing socks and insoles as its method of delivery. (They have a new product being launched soon that will even work through a different pathway through the somatosensory system via a Neuropatch) This innovative technology that is being delivered via socks and insoles is using, per Dr. Mark DeBrincat D.C. (“The Good News Doctor“), “a special code that’s woven into a pattern on the bottom of the socks or imprinted into the insoles, that is increasing a person’s bottom line potential, or proprioception to be exact. It stimulates the mechanoreceptors and proprioreceptors on a very specific zone on the bottom of the foot and lights up the brain stem and it opens up the brains ability to communicate with the body. So whatever you’re capable of doing, it is allowing you to increase that number.” We know this is working not only through testimony and the immediate affects of balance and stability tests with and without the technology in place (see below); we also know this through brain mapping and biofeedback studies.
VoxxLife, along with Dr. Mark DeBrincat, is working on a year long brain mapping study that will report brain information on utilizing this neurotechnology. This study seeks to demonstrate the relationship between brain function and Voxx Human Performance Technology (HPT). Using quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) brain mapping, this study will measure the impact of Voxx HPT technology and effects on brain function. Stay tuned for that release!
VoxxLife has been engaged in research and development even years before releasing the neurotechnology, including independent studies with The California Sports Institute, The Golf Lab, LiUNA!, and a 1,000 person study conducted through 3rd party rehab clinics. These studies established that the wearable neurotechnology can:
- Improve balance & stability with a +31% increase;
- Increase velocity of force +17%;
- Increase power +22%,
- Increase range of motion improving performance +15 degrees;
- Increases eccentric force +17%;
When applied for foot pain relief (also tested as Diabetic Neuropathy) over 95% of the test subjects saw a significant reduction in pain after 1 week of usage when compared to a regular diabetic sock.
Some people ask if you have to wear the socks all the time to gain the benefits. Did you make note in the video above of my friends daughter, that she isn’t wearing any socks or insoles at that exact time? I have personally seen the positive affects with my daughter as well as with many others. I have not seen my daughter display her normal tics such as pulling her ear lobes or chewing on her tongue since she began wearing the technology. I also believe her creativity and focus has increased as well since she can now color and do a craft for longer than 15 minutes at a time since wearing the technology since about 3 months time. I personally have experienced significant pain relief from my feet and my knees, mostly from older sport injuries that have crept back as I age. I dropped an 18 inch ceramic tile on my big toe which would prevent me from wearing my nice heels for work for a period of time longer than an hour and I have previously undergone ACL knee replacement in one of my knees where I had come to expect a usual discomfort daily. Now I no longer have to experience that pain since wearing the technology and keeping up with it. I put my socks on the minute I am home if I wore heels that day. I find the recovery time after I wear heels particularly fascinating as I am now able to walk to get my coffee in the morning without limping and being able to wear my beautiful heels during the day for work (which I enjoy wearing due to my short stature). Really the best part is hearing all of the testimonials and thank you’s I receive for introducing it to my friends and family.
Would you like to see the immediate balance and stability change for someone with MS? Watch this 2 minute video:
Here is my personal balance and stability test using the wearable neurotech:
At OMNI Balanced Life Center:
Another friend with an instant dramatic improvement:
A simple solution
Could the solution be any simpler? A pair of really cool socks or insoles to wear (and coming soon, super thin insoles and The Harmony Neuropatch) that can increase your potential in daily life! Whether you are an accomplished athlete, a fun competitor, or someone who struggles with balance they are for you. If you are aging, or are on your feet all day; whether you are someone who wants to experience drug-free, pain relief, or you have a family member or child that could benefit from higher proprioception capabilities, this wearable neurotech is an easy, affordable, wellness and performance solution for the whole family. If you would like to try them or give to a loved one you can choose your styles at www.SolePowerful.com. There is a 30 day money back guarantee for peace of mind through VoxxLife.
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