·         Arousal

·         The Brain

·         Exercise

·         Indoor Air Pollution

·         Muscle Tension

·         Nutrition

·         Posture

·         Sensory Processing

·         Sleep

·         Other Suggestions


Research Topics


My Theories

Former Theories



The Cause of Internet and TV Addiction?


Vestibular System


·        What is the Vestibular System?

·        Vestibular Problems

·        Improving the Vestibular System


What is the Vestibular System?

"The first sensory system to fully develop by six months after conception is the vestibular system, which controls the sense of movement and balance. This system is the sensory system considered to have the most important influence on the other sensory systems and on the ability to function in everyday life. Directly or indirectly, the vestibular system influences nearly everything we do. It is the unifying system in our brain that modifies and coordinates information received from other systems. The vestibular system functions like a traffic cop, telling each sensation where and when it should go or stop."

ILT: Causes


Effects of the Vestibular System

Nausea, Irregular Heart Rates

The vestibular system influences the autonomic nervous system. This explains why individuals may have problems breathing or may develop nausea or irregular heart rates when the system is overwhelmed.

ILT: Causes


Hearing, Vision, Muscle Tone, Balance, Proprioception

"Other functions directly governed by the vestibular system include:

(1)       Auditory functions via the vestibulo-cochlear nerve [the vestibulo-cochlear nerve carries information to the brain from the inner ear; associated with tinnitus)

(2)       Visual functions

(3)       Muscle tone, balance and proprioception"

ILT: Causes


Other Affected Functions

"Therefore the list of functions which may be irregular if the vestibular system is compromised is extremely diverse and expansive. Many of those irregularities will be mentioned in relation to the other systems supported by the vestibular system."

ILT: Causes


ILT: What’s wrong with my child: Getting to the root causes of learning difficulties


Unaffected Functions

"Smell, taste and touch are the only three modalities of human processing that are relatively unaffected by vestibular function…"

ILT: Causes


Vestibular Problems

"The following problems may be part of the past history or present problems in children with irregular vestibular systems and could serve as indications to you that he or she may be showing difficulties with school work and/or behaviour because of vestibular problems:


∙          premature birth and a fairly long period of incubation after birth


∙          exposure to excessive movement or invasive sounds as a foetus [fetus] or infant


∙          neglect (little handling and moving) during infancy


∙          repeated ear infections or severe ear infection


∙          tubes (grommets) having been inserted in the ears to drain excessive fluids


∙          excessive use of infant seat, jumper, swing and/or playpen, thus restricting or limiting natural movement


∙          avoidance of movement except as absolutely necessary


∙          avoidance of head movement


∙          head banging


∙          motion sickness (car, boat, airplane)


∙          avoidance of merry-go-rounds


∙          excessive watching of things spin, or excessive spinning of self


∙          dizziness or nausea caused by watching things move


∙          inability to read or write in cursive


∙          hearing problems


∙          inability to sustain listening without moving or rocking


∙          problem with balance (static or moving) and/or vertigo


∙          difficulty walking on uneven ground


∙          history of traumatic brain injury, shaken child syndrome, ear cuffing, etc.


∙          need to move fast"

ILT: Causes


Improving the Vestibular System


"Vision allows the brain to orient the location of the head or body by sight.

·        When the head turns to the left your eyes typically follow around to the left [Mobility/Ocular Motility].

·        Once your eyes settle on a target [Mobility/Ocular Motility] your brain uses this information as a reference for your balance system.

·        However, conditions that reduce visual acuity will affect the ability of the eyes to locate an appropriate visual reference. Improper eyeglass prescription, glare from reflective surface, and eye disease such as glaucoma and cataracts can reduce the accuracy of your visual acuity and impair your reference for proper balance."

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance


Suggestions: Vision


Muscle Tone, Balance and Proprioception

Things to Avoid

·        "Reduced circulation to the feet and legs often results in loss of sensation and some loss of stability.

·        Broken, healing, or repaired bones can reduce flexibilityand impair the ability to walk sure-footedly on different surfaces.

·        Ongoing medical disease such as diabetes and peripheral neuropathy often has a great impact on a person's ability to accurately sense changes in surfaces such as angle of pavement and texture of surface. The improper detection of surface changes can result in a fall."

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance



"The Proprioceptive System is part of the vestibular system, where special receptors in muscles and joints travel quickly from the cerebellum to enhance tone and joint stability.

·        Performed by a person during push-pull activities, proprioception is a calming, safe input to use with a child who appears disorganized. This input doesn't reverberate in the nervous system for hours like other sensory input, so it is the essential component of a child's 'sensory diet'. It is important to reintroduce the input often, throughout the day.

·        Heavy-work input releases serotonin which sets the firing levels of all neurotransmitters.

·        Many children experience body awareness for the first time when they start to wear weighted backpacks, vests or blankets. This is an important strategy used often in therapy."

OT Outcomes: Neurological Systems That Support Sensory Processing


·        "Never sit with your legs under you…

·        Control diabetes regular physician visits, medication and diet."

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance


·        Suggestions: Muscle Tension

·        Other Suggestions: Posture


"Quickly calming and organizing, heavy work increases body awareness to help you feel more grounded--more in your body. When you are over-aroused, it calms you; when you're sluggish, it alerts you. And unlike other sensory input, heavy work rarely overloads the nervous system. (Page 170)"

Book: Heller, Sharon, Ph.D. Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight. Quill, 2003.


"Examples of heavy work are

·          pushing and pulling heavy loads, as in rearranging furniture, or

·          lifting or carrying heavy objects, like a laundry basket or a child, or

·          the resistance you feel when you walk a dog on a leash.

·          Wearing weights on your ankles as you go about your daily business (light weights so as not to put strain on the extremities), and even while you sleep, provides traction that increases discharge from joint receptors.  "I wear 21/2-pound weights on my ankles during the day and night," says one woman. "It helps to feel grounded. It tells your brain, 'Your feet are right here, and you're okay!'"

·          As the jaw is one of the main joints in our body, chewing, chomping, and sucking applies pressure to help us get it together. This is one of the primary reasons we eat when we're upset or nervous. (Pages 170-171)"

Book: Heller, Sharon, Ph.D. Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight. Quill, 2003.


"Quick, Subtle Proprioceptive Activities:

·          Pushing hands together in a prayer position

·          Pressing down with your hands on top of your head

·          Lying down and pushing against a wall with your legs

·          Pushing against a wall or the steering wheel of your car at a stop light with your hands and arms outstretched

·          Lying under heavy quilts, or under a weighted blanket or pillows (Page 172)"

Book: Heller, Sharon, Ph.D. Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight. Quill, 2003.



Things to Avoid

"In addition to vision, vestibular, and proprioception, the body relies upon accurate information from the brain to maintain proper balance. Anything that effects alertness and observation will also affect balance. Side effects from many medications often dull the senses, making the person much less aware of changes in their environment. Pain killers, muscle relaxants, and 'nerve' pills often reduce reaction times in all people, but more noticeably in older people. The effects of even small amounts of alcohol on reaction times are well documented. Any change in ability of the brain to sense changes in the environment will effect ones stability."

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance



Suggestions: Arousal


Auditory (Inner Ear)


"The ear, or vestibular system, accounts for 60% of proper balance.

     The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and responds to movement in three planes of movement: vertically up and down, horizontally left and right, and over the top of the head from left shoulder to right shoulder. These are the same references for air flight; pitch (vertical), yaw (horizontal), and roll (over the top).

     Each time the head moves there is corresponding movement of fluid in the vestibular system of each ear. This movement of fluid allows each ear to sense how far the head has moved and with what velocity."

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance


Things to Avoid

"Occasionally virus, infection, or injury can affect the sensitivity of this fluid movement in one of the ears. When this occurs the brain receives unbalanced information from each ear and is unable to determine which ear is providing accurate information. However, so long as the visual and proprioceptive systems are working properly the brain can gain an accurate point of reference and prevent a fall. However, the person may still have a sense of spinning or movement. Ongoing and fluctuating ear disease such as Meniere's Disease can greatly effect balance as well as hearing."

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance


"Some children do not register or orient to the sensation of movement, so they are constantly moving. Often called 'sensory seekers', these children are revving up their nervous system, just to get ready for action. This under-responsiveness takes a great deal of energy, appears unsafe and does not develop into refined motor skill.

     For children who over-react to vestibular input, a simple movement through space or attempting a single step present as overwhelming obstacles. Swinging and running are avoided, especially any movements that require the head 'upside down' or feet off the ground."

OT Outcomes: Neurological Systems That Support Sensory Processing


·          Ear Plugs: Things to Avoid: Chronically Plugging the Ears


Problems Caused by Virtual Reality?

"You can temporarily disturb your sense of balance by closing your eyes and turning rapidly in circles five or six times. This starts the fluid swirling in circles inside your ear canal. When you stop turning it takes a few minutes for the fluid to lose momentum, and until then the sense from your inner ear conflicts with the information coming from your vision, causing dizziness and disorientation. Most astronauts find that their sense of balance is impaired when in orbit, because there is not enough gravity to keep the ear's fluid in balance. This causes a form of motion sickness called space sickness."

ScienceDaily Magazine: Equilibrioception



·        "Treat any upper respiratory infection quickly to prevent long term damage to hearing or balance

·        Never travel with a head cold, flu, or ear congestion

·        Obtain regular ear exams if you have a known ear condition like Menieres Disease

·        Seek evaluation and treatment for dizziness that makes you spin

·        Keep your hearing acuity as good as possible - use hearing aids if you have hearing loss"

High Point Enterprise: Keeping Your Balance


·        Vision: Bates Method: Sunning

·        Other Suggestions: Exercise

·        Vision: Bates Method: Swinging

·        Suggestions: Hearing



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