Understanding Basic Sensory Systems
More than 80 per cent of the activities of the nervous system involve processing and organizing sensory information. Animal life on the planet is constantly preoccupied with maintaining itself within a gravitational, pressurized, energized world. There is much to take in and process in order for an upright body to maintain a comfort level of function within earth's environment.
We observe that it takes the human brain and physical system at least 9 to 18 months to learn to stand and balance in an upright position and begin taking steps securely. From birth to two years old, an infant's brain is furiously developing hundreds of thousands of neurons sending electric impulses to and from the brain. In human development the brain and nervous system learn about the environment by logging, organizing and storing information received from basic sensory systems.
Three basic sub-cortical sensory systems lay the foundation for the formation of body percepts, coordination of the two sides of the body, mid-line orientation, muscle tone, motor planning, attention span, emotional stability, cognition and general sense of self. The vestibular system monitors and maintains the body's balance against gravity; the proprioceptive system, continuously interacting with the vestibular system, tells the brain where the body and limbs are, what they are doing, what is needed and why. Both vestibular and proprioceptive systems are interoceptive (internal monitoring) processes receiving and transmitting to the brain sensory information derived in a variety of ways.
The third system interacting with the two above is the tactile system, which processes touch sensations from external sources (skin) and internal