Whakaāio ā-rongo or sensory modulation is a tool that supports trauma informed approaches and reduction of restrictive practices. It is an evidence-based tool sitting within the Six Core Strategies© and has proven to have a positive impact on people accessing these services. Sensory modulation is becoming well embedded in New Zealand mental health and addiction services as part of increasing effort to reduce and eliminate seclusion and restraint.
Sensory modulation involves supporting and guiding people in using senses such as sight, sounds, smells, touch, taste, movement to self-manage and change emotional state. Examples of tools are music, essential oils, rocking chairs, weighted items and massage chairs. The use of sensory tools supports individuals to learn self-soothing techniques and change their current emotional and behavioural responses to a stressful situation.
Local research show sensory modulation is a very useful and easy to learn set of skills that is well regarded by people accessing services and supports clinicians to use best practices. See the following reports for more details about the use of sensory modulation in New Zealand mental health services: