Sensory Processing Disorder — Seen Through Another Lense

Many children and adults suffer from some degree of a sensory processing disorder (sensory integration dysfunction) that makes life unnecessarily difficult for them, as well as for the people close to them or who interact with them on a regular basis, such as in school, at a job, or other team activities.

Sensory processing disorder creates chaos in the lives of those suffering from it.

Sensory processing disorder is thought to be caused by faulty nerve reception/reaction (nerve transmission), or brain interpretation, or both. Children and adults who suffer with some form of this condition react to various stimuli in the environment, such as sounds, smells, hot/cold sensations, pressure, vibration, and light with fear, startle responses, aggression, withdrawal, or a combination of these when most people would barely even notice these stimuli.

These “over-the-top”, and often unpredictable reactions make it difficult for children to unfold in their social development, as they experience the reactions of their peers and the adults who care for them, yet don’t understand the reason for them.  Depression, further aggression, withdrawal, avoidance, and isolation often follow these children into adulthood without any hope of a resolution.

Sensory processing disorder may marginalize those who suffer from it.

On the other extreme are those children who barely react or respond to stimuli or ignore them all together.  They may also ignore commands, questions, or personal attention, which are stimuli themselves.   They may be very well aware of these stimuli but ignore them because they are overwhelmed by them.  Or they may feel disconnected, in a mental fog, or emotionally bruised.  Their coping mechanism is to ignore, withdraw, or isolate themselves.

Sensory processing disorder may also manifest on the physical plane with delayed motor skill development, clumsiness, balance issues, lack of coordination, and so forth.

What really is sensory processing disorder?

Unfortunately, the jury is still out as to the actual causes of this disorder.  Birth trauma, physical and/or emotional trauma, brain tumors, brain illness, legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, and malnutrition may all contribute to this condition.  There are no clinical tests available to diagnose sensory processing disorder, nor is this condition clinically considered an illness.

Conventional treatments are occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and social integration therapy, among others.

Craniosacral therapy helps us look at sensory processing disorder in a different way.

Craniosacral therapy, and its premise, offers another explanation and a treatment modality that not only reduces the symptoms but helps the body to recover from the cause or causes of this condition.

Dr. William Garner Sutherland, an osteopath of the early 1900’s, discovered that trauma to the head or the spine may result in symptoms other than bruises, broken bones, or cuts and scrapes.  Furthermore, these other symptoms may not show up until a few days, weeks, months, or even years later.

His main premise was that mental, emotional, and physical functions could be impaired by a trauma to the head or spine, because the force of the trauma may be transmitted to the brain via changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure, initiated and transmitted by the meninges (membranes) that cover the brain and the spinal cord as one unit.  Read more…

Head and spinal trauma can cause numerous symptoms.

The symptoms that often manifest after physical trauma, such as a blow to the head, whiplash injuries to the spine, or a fall on the backside, are as varied as:

  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • memory loss or diminished memory
  • headaches
  • changes in taste or smell sensations
  • difficulty with hearing and/or balance
  • digestive issues
  • mood changes (anger, aggression, apathy, depression, sadness, feeling lost, etc)
  • behavioral changes (responses to the environment, including other people)
  • failure to thrive in school, at work, or other tasks
  • and many more…

Sensory processing difficulty could quite easily be explained in these terms.   Since this difficulty shows up in early childhood, birth trauma and bumps to the head or spine during infancy and the toddler years could very well be events that trigger it.

Trauma to the body causes restrictions in the connective tissue and everything embedded in it.

The body heals well enough, at least to the naked eye.  However, residuals of the trauma often remain trapped in the connective tissue (fascia, tendons, ligaments) of the body, like snags in stockings or a knit sweater.   These “snags” cause restrictions in the structures that are contained within this connective tissue.

It’s like wearing a suit or dress that’s too tight, that doesn’t allow you to fully stretch out your limps.  Every which way you turn, you’re reminded of your restriction, irritating like a constant itch.  The more you scratch it, the more it itches, until your skin becomes raw and starts bleeding.

So it its with the nervous system.  The nerves that are trapped in a “snagged” connective tissue (fascia) will overreact, under-react, or become erratic.  This nervous irritation manifests as mental, emotional, and physical overreaction, under-reaction, or both to the stimuli of the environment.

Craniosacral therapy and energetic unwinding to the rescue…

Craniosacral therapy and energetic unwinding help the body to release these restrictions in the connective tissue so that the structures embedded within it (nerves, blood vessels, lymph vessels, meridians, muscles, organs, every single cell) regain room to breathe, calm down, and function in the way they are designed to.

A calm body results in a calm mind and reactions to the environment that are appropriate and well balanced.

For more detailed information, please read…