What is proprioception?
Proprioception is our ability to feel where we are in space. Without proprioception we couldn’t scratch our nose because we wouldn’t know where it is in space. Proprioception happens thanks to sensory receptors (proprioceptors) which are found in our joints, muscles and fascia. These proprioceptors are sending information to our brains about our position, muscle tension, joint activity and balance. Once our brain has the message our brain cells will fire up and send a message back to our muscles telling them to adjust their tension or stretch to produce an appropriate and coordinated movement. This allows us to fine tune our movements, to adapt our balance and to protect our muscles from injury.
What is the difference between proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness?
Kinaesthetic awareness uses the same receptors (proprioceptors). While proprioception is our inner sense of the location of our body parts, kinesthetic awareness is our ability to coordinate our movements in relation to where we are in space and time. However we don’t have to be aware of our every movement all the time. Once our muscles are learning to do the same movement over and over again (like riding a bicycle) that movement becomes part of our muscle memory and we can then do it without having to think about it. It is thanks to kinesthetic awareness that we don’t have to relearn how to walk every time we stand up! Our muscles know what to do thanks to our proprioceptors sending messages to our brains.
How does massage or Ortho-Bionomy affect our proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness? And what difference does it make?
Together, proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness are like our ‘six sense’ helping us to move smoothly and effortlessly. And the more we use it the sharper it gets. When we get a treatment it is our proprioceptors that are sending messages to our brains to let us know how it feels. Then our brains can respond to this information and send a message back to our muscles to adapt. Massage or Ortho-Bionomy loads the central nervous system with sensory inputs. The more sensory inputs we have the more our muscles and our brain connect. The more connection we have, the better our proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness will get. Good proprioception and kinesthetic awareness allow us to be more coordinated, more efficient with our movements and to have more balance. It is very important for people playing sports as they will get more precision with their movements but also for anybody who want to move more freely and age without losing balance!