Sensory modulation is one of our brain's functions that involves arranging sensory information from different environmental input. It is part of one's ability to develop awareness of his body and understand his presence in the physical world. When a person is stimulated, the brain helps the individual focus on that particular stimulus while filtering out and modulating the rest. Handling sensory input can be very difficult for some individuals with behavioural and developmental challenges. For this reason, they go through bean bag therapies that help them regain self awareness and control.
Children with autism, adults with borderline personality disorders, and victims of trauma and abuse are the ones who are in need of therapies. Input such as touch, pain, sound, odour, motion, sight, and taste can over or under-stimulate them. Their nervous system has trouble in judging the amount, nature, or intensity of a stimulus, thus making it challenging for them to achieve an optimal performance and adaptation in their daily lives. Their learning, interpersonal skills, and self-worth are commonly affected. Bean bags are safe and versatile tools that are helpful in making people organise their senses and gain awareness of their bodies in their physical environment. They are stuffed with beans or similar materials like such as shredded foam, and are available in various shapes and sizes.
The uniform pressure and hugging effect they have on the human body makes them favourite products for deep pressure therapy in autistic kids. As chairs, they provide immediate sensory responses to the child with every subtle shift in his actions. The foam inside the bags conforms to the child's figure and makes him conscious of every move. The process of finding what is a comfortable position and what is not as he shifts around the chair helps him concentrate on all sensory cues.
Another approach that uses smaller bean bags is called therapeutic tapping. Strong and deep pressure input is given to several parts of the body. The person is tapped all over from the arms and hands, down to the legs and feet. Each area is tapped for a minute before moving to the next, and is carried out regularly at certain times during the day. The tapping motions help the client concentrate on the different areas of the body and regain awareness. This is ideal for trauma and abuse victims who may have grown fearful of touch because gentle tapping makes them realise that touch can also be good and less threatening. This will then allow them to exercise power over sensational responses.