Many persons with neurologically, cognitively, or mentally debilitating diagnoses (e.g. Autism, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, Stroke, etc.) experience sensory stimuli with such variation that the incoming information can either cause extreme discomfort, be totally undetectable or be so distorted as to be useless. In other words, sensory stimuli entering the auditory, proprioceptive or visual systems may not be detected and coded, or may be detected but then be incorrectly coded (e.g. too loud, to tight, too near, etc.) and therefore may produce inappropriate responses by the brain. This mis-perception and mis-reception of sensory stimuli in the brain causes continual states of distress and fear, thrusting the system into a fight-or-flight response. Such sensory misinterpretation can be overwhelming and at times dangerous. Music is an all-brain, sensory-motor mind/body experience. Treatment that employs eurhythmics, consisting of movement, rhythm, and music’s additional five elements (timbre, melody, harmony, dynamics, and form), can address a variety of multisensory issues through carefully targeted interventions addressing physiological and sensorimotor coordination. I will briefly discuss sensory systems, sensory information processing in the brain, and the importance of this knowledge in applying eurhythmics to clinical interventions for regulating sensory systems and achieving functional adaptation. I will also present a case study of the alleviation of the sensory distress experienced by a patient with autism and other diagnoses through the application of eurhythmics-based sensorimotor inventions. These types of interventions can calm the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the system that becomes hyperactive when the brain senses fear or danger, ultimately calling for the flow of adrenalin and cortisol in preparation for the fight-or-flight response.
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