The Science Behind It
Sensory Integration Theory was founded by Jean-Ayres, who was an occupational therapist and educational psychologist. This theory states that “sensory integration is the process by which people register, modulate, and discriminate sensations received through the sensory systems to produce purposeful, adaptive behaviors in response to the environment.” In other words, sensations introduced to our nervous system awaken and affectively utilize portions of our brain to produce more meaningful output. One of the theories is that chronic sock wearing dampens the sensations received through the feet, which can impair balance, gait, and posture. Introducing sensory stimulation to these nerves immediately awakens portions of the brain that coordinates movements. The science behind this technology has applications in the medical treatments of neurological and sports/orthopedic injuries, athletic performance, and overall wellness and ergonomics.
Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM founded Naboso, which makes products designed to stimulate the nervous system to maximize movement, utilizing the Sensory Integration Theory. They make exercise and standing mats, insoles, and even rubberized flooring coated with Naboso technology to provide meaningful stimulation to the soles of your feet.
The Neuro Ball
Naboso partnered with RAD to produce the Neuro Ball to release the muscles of the foot and stimulate the nervous system to improve posture, gait, and coordination. The Naboso texture is applied to the outside of the ball, which allows you to roll out on it easily. The ball also splits apart to form perfectly shaped and sized half balls to place under your arches for more targeted releases. Leaving no stone unturned, they also hid a micro round inside of it to hit those really small, specific areas. Watch this video to learn all about it.
Over the past couple years of my career I’ve come to further acknowledge and appreciate the concept that greater input to the nervous system produces greater output. In other words, the more we stimulate the nervous system in different ways, the more we awaken the nervous system to better control movement, strength, coordination, and balance. Remember in a previous blog I talked about a fascial release that is achieved by rolling trigger point balls under your feet? This is one example of how sensory stimulation creates an unexpected reaction in your body. Stimulating these nerves in your feet releases the fascia along the back of your body to improve flexibility and movement. Kinesiology taping is another recent treatment that uses this theory, using the tape to stimulate the nervous system in areas that you want to awaken to allow your body to utilize and control more affectively.
So What Do You Do With It?
Now that you understand a little bit about sensory integration theory and how it applies to the body, let’s talk about how you can incorporate the Neuro Ball into your every day routine.
I use the Neuro Ball every day, both at the beginning and end of the day. Before I put my shoes on in the morning I roll the ball on my feet for 2 minutes each. Then I do the same at night before I go to bed. During that 2 minutes I make sure the ball touches every part of the bottom and sides of my feet. When it’s on the bottom of my feet, I find tender spots and put a little more pressure down on the ball to trigger a release of the muscles. If you need/have more than 2 minutes, go for it! There’s no set prescription of time needed. This is just my routine.