July 12, 2011

Brushing and Joint Pressure Input

We have been doing therapeutic brushing, as I call it, for over a year now. Some days I give it a very favorable review and other days it is more difficult to discern its level of impact. When your child is involved with multiple therapies it can be hard to determine which of them are actually benefiting the most... so we keep doing as much as we can! However, because each child is unique, I would say that it's definitely worth trying.*

Therapeutic brushing, technically called the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol (or, more recently, technically called The Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique), has very rigid guidelines one must follow. I wouldn't say it's complicated but a special brush must be used while using certain brush strokes and you must stick to a very specific schedule.

Our thera-pressure brush
When we began, I was instructed by a specialist to do the following:
  • Use the brush certified for the therapy
  • Brush Grant every 90 minutes to two hours (to brush him more frequently is not good for the nerves - over-stimulation)
  • Brush arms, hands, legs, feet, and back
  • Brush Grant using a specific "rhythm" of brush strokes and do not go over the same area
  • Do not brush him too close to nap time or bed time (ie: the last brush session needs to be at 6pm for Grant's 8pm bedtime)
  • End each brush session with series of pressure input "thumps" for Grant's joints and ligaments 

Below is a video I found on YouTube that does a great job showing the most common way to conduct a therapeutic brushing session. (FYI: Before viewing the video, you will want to pause the blog music by scrolling to the bottom of blog and selecting the appropriate button.)

What is the purpose to the brushing? OT-Innovations.com explains it well:

Based on the theory of Sensory Integration, the DPPT [Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique] uses a prescriptive method of providing stimulation to help the mind-brain-body self-organize.

Some of the benefits of the DPPT may include:
  • An improved ability to transition between various daily activities
  • An improvement in the ability to pay attention
  • A decreased fear and discomfort of being touched (tactile defensiveness)
  • An increase in the ability of the central nervous system to use information from the peripheral nervous system more effectively, resulting in enhanced movement coordination, functional communication, sensory modulation, and hence, self-regulation.
We have weaned Grant off of the two hour schedule and now he is brushed only a couple times each day; once when he wakes up in the morning and right after nap time. I will sometimes include a brushing session a couple of hours before bed time if he is showing signs of being more "out-of-sorts" that day.

*Please note: training is absolutely necessary before attempting to use this technique in practice. Use requires a trained therapist otherwise harmful or ineffective influences may be the result.

Click here for more reading about the Wilbarger Protocol for Sensory Integration (The Wilbarger DPPT Protocol Basics begins about halfway down the SPD Companion web page).


No comments

Post a Comment

© Choosing Gratitude | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig