Infant Brain Activation with Foot Stimulation
It has been well established and accepted that sensory stimulation is critical to both cognitive and motor development in children – with many professionals advocating barefoot is better! With the advent of Jean Ayes work and rise in sensory spectrum children much attention has been directed towards techniques which will increase sensory input and social engagement of children.
As a Human Movement Specialist and Founder of Naboso Technology, I have a great appreciation for the role the hands and feet have in sensory processing and brain mapping – and have been advocating barefoot play in children for years.
Thankfully, research is now being done in infants to validate the power of hand and foot stimulation in brain : body orientation and will hopefully squash any doubts that parents or educators may have around the benefits of barefoot stimulation.
To assess the power of foot stimulation, a study by Meltzoff et al. used EEG (brain sensors) to assess somatosensory activation in 7 month old babies who had their hands and feet tactilely stimulated.
Meltzoff found that there was clear somatosensory cortical activation following tactile stimulation of both the hands and feet. To take this one step further, Meltzoff assessed to see what happened if the infant observed someone else’s hand or feet being stimulated.
An interesting finding was that the same somatosensory areas that were stimulated when the baby’s own hand or feet were touched also activated by the observation of someone else’s hands or feet being touched!
What could this mean?
Researchers are suggesting that early sensory stimulation is important not only in brain mapping and in the establishment of brain: body representations but also plays a role in social engagement and the understanding of one’s self from others.
How can you use this information?
At Naboso Technology we have been integrating our neuro textured material in schools and Autism programs to increase tactile stimulation for young children. We have seen incredible results with motor coordination, focus and calmer demeanor with our textured input.
As this area of infant and childhood development continues to grow we hope to see the integration of our Naboso Mats in children’s play rooms and in schools.
Ready to integrate tactile stimulation into your child’s routine now? Check out the Naboso Mind Body Mat and Children’s Insoles (which are now available in our 1.5 texture)!