Sensory Modulation

Sensory modulation is an evidence based and highly effective therapeutic intervention to assist clients build coping skills to manage stress, regulate emotions and enhance occupational functioning. Sensory modulation involves changing how you feel through the senses.

The use of sensory modulation has been shown to ...

  • Decrease the need for restraint and seclusion – promoting the adoption of trauma informed care practices.

  • Be an alternative to coercive practices - support self-regulation skills, foster trust and rapport building between clinicians and clients.

  • Support a recovery orientated approach.


  • Ground

  • Soothe

  • Calm

  • Alert

  • Reduce or intensify sensation

  • Increase pleasure

  • Create a sense of safety

  • Self-manage symptoms

  • Manage pain and itch

  • Cope with grief

  • Cope with addiction cravings

  • Reminisce


Sensory modulation can be used with everyone. Many people use sensory modulation daily without consciously thinking about it. Some diagnoses or health conditions lead to changes in a person’s sensory system, or changes in the way they engage in activities of daily living.


  • Agitation/distress

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Unable to respond/feeling frozen

  • Low energy

  • Difficulties with concentration and focus

  • The experience of intense emotions (sadness, shame, disappointment)

  • Mood symptoms (depression, anxiety, panic)

  • Feeling detached or unreal

  • Experiencing hallucinations

  • Experiencing pain

Sensory modulation can be used to ...

Sensory modulation can help ...