Joint compressions are a good exercise for children with sensory issues who are out of touch with their physical sense of self and need to regain their body awareness.
By pushing down numerous times (gently!) on the child’s joints on each part of his body, the child relearns the positions of and the sense of his limbs and head. It is also very calming for the child.
Parents learn to use this joint compression technique before bringing their child to a place or an event that may be crowded and noisy, or require the child’s best behavior. Providing this proprioceptive sense for the child will help him manage his reactions to the overstimulation and assist him in controlling his compulsive behaviors.
While OT’s regularly do joint compressions as part of a brushing regiment, the compressions alone have benefits too, the ones mentioned above.
Here are two demonstrations of joint compressions. (Notice they are a bit different from each other.)
For those who are new to this and have never heard of brushing, here’s a cute, quick demo: