What is Vestibular Stimulation?

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The vestibular system is one of your body’s most important sensory systems. The Vestibular System is located in the inner ear.

The Vestibular system helps us figure out whether we are moving or not, or whether other objects are moving, or where, in relation those objects are in relation to us.

Our vestibular system does more than just allow us to stand upright and balance our bodies and give us a sense of direction. The Vestibular system coordinates information for our whole body and affects such things as muscles, our organs, limbs, vision and immune system.

If our vestibular system is not functioning properly, it can cause many problems such as anxiety, muscle tone problems, and learning problems.

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Vestibular stimulation is simply the act of moving our bodies which stimulates our vestibular system. For special needs people the act of moving is often quite difficult. This may be affecting the child or adult with disabilities who can’t stimulate the vestibular system easily.

Using the Therapeutic Exerciser (MEAS*) for vestibular stimulation exercises has been found to be effective in reducing or eliminating certain vestibular problems. The rocking and gentle bouncing motion of the therapeutic model of the Merry Muscles is a perfect vestibular stimulation exercise. The Meas* offers side to side or back and forth motion for people with disabilities who may not be able to get vestibular stimulation in their daily activities.

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Stimulation of the vestibular system can improve functioning of the nervous system, motor skills, language ability and vision.

Vestibular Stimulation and a range of other skills which have been improved using the MEAS* include:

1. Eye contact, tracking, eye-hand coordination, focusing, dramatically improved vision.

2. Increased attention span, improved learning skills.

3. Social awareness, interaction with peers, self confidence

4. Vocalization, improved speech.

5. Independent purposeful movement, muscle development.

6. Head Control, trunk balance, independent righting.

7. Improved circulation, improved bowel function.

8. Reduction in flexon spasticity, relaxed open hands.

9. Reduction in extension spasticity, less startle reflex

10. Release of frustration, improved morale, enjoyment.

11. Easier to feed after exercise, better appetite

12. Self feeding, finger foods, spoon, fork.

13. Desensitization of skin areas, particularly the soles of the feet, starting by letting the user splash their feet in warm water, shaving foam etc.

14. Crawling, independent mobility, knee walking, running.

*Note: the MEAS (Maribelle Exercise Assist System) is now called the Merry Muscles Therapeutic Exerciser, for simpler wording.  It is different from the infant Merry Muscles, which is a baby jumping exerciser.

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