Sensory program involving the stimulation of the hand is a treatment program that has long been used by Occupational Therapists. It was hypothesised that the stimulation of the tips of the fingers and the sides of the fingers with different textures is able to assist the return of sensory awareness. You can find a pictorial representation of the location of these sensors here.
Figure: Touch Sensors location a) and density b) in the inside hand.
In fact, there is now extensive research evidence to demonstrate that systematic sensory training program causes positive neuroplastic changes that leads to the recovery of sensory awareness (Carer 2012, p168). Additionally, from our clinical experience, the better the sensory awareness, the more likely the motor function return.
Because of these, our Occupational Therapist, Tiffany Yuen, recommends all our patients after a stroke to engage in a 30-minute sensory stimulation program daily as part of their upper limb retraining. When performing such a training program, it is important that the person is fully attending to the hand being stimulated. The unaffected upper limb may need to be covered in order to maximise attention to the task. Therefore, the program is best to be done by a helper.
- Carey, l (2012) Stroke Rehabilitation. Insights from Neuroscience and imaging. Oxford.
- Touch sensors location https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Touch-Sensors-location-a-and-density-b-in-the-inside-hand_fig2_221913745 (Accessed 18th March, 2018)
- Image courtesy of firstname.lastname@example.org Available at: https://pixabay.com/en/hand-hands-white-background-may-3035665/, (accessed 18 March 2018).