Proprioceptive System

Introduction to Proprioception:

“The human body is made up of systems that keep it alive. The one that keeps you breathing, the one that keeps you standing, the one that makes you hungry and the one that makes you happy. They’re all connected, take a piece out and everything else falls apart. And it’s only when our support systems look like they might fail us that you realize how much we depended on them all along.”

Greys Anatomy – Season 8, episode 9

Proprioception is

“The sum of neuronal inputs from the joint capsules, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and skin…is a multifaceted system that influences behavior regulation and motor control.”  

Blanche et al 2012

Watch | The Man without Proprioception

Spatial Awareness | Postural Awareness and Postural Control | Praxis and Motor Planning

When we think about the proprioceptive, vestibular and visual system’s contribution to ‘doing’ and praxis, we can think about a plane analogy. 

A plane cannot plot to fly to another airport without knowing where it is taking off from. Only then is a flight plan possible.

You have to know the where to plan the where to, and then along the way using real-time input for adaptation and adjustment.


This knowledge of your start and end destinations is needed by the pilot to;

  • plot the flight path,
  • calculate the speed and direction,
  • account for any obstacles that need to be avoided.

At all times, the pilot knows where the plane is, in relation to the ground(vestibular) and other obstacles are (visual) is essential, as is a good and up to date map(experience and prior learning dependant on previous motor inputs).

‘The brain tells the muscles what to do, but the sensations from the body enable the brain to do the telling. Motor planning is the ‘bridge’ between the sensory-motor and intellectual aspects of the brain’

Ayres (1979) Sensory Integration and the Child, p9