This evidence update focuses on the implementation of sensory modulation in mental health and addiction services, its impact on people and potential role in reducing seclusion and restraints. The information draws on lived experience perspectives and local research, particularly Dr Gilbert Azuela's doctoral thesis.
Sensory modulation is an evidence-based approach that fits within the Six Core Strategies© framework for least restrictive practice. In mental health and addiction settings, sensory modulation supports people in identifying preferred practical sensory strategies to self-manage crisis or distressing emotions. In recent years, some DHBs have celebrated the repurpose of seclusion rooms into sensory spaces (McKenna et al., 2018) and incorporated the use of cultural activities such as kapa haka (Hollands et al., 2015) and raranga harakeke (Kirkwood, 2015).