Clinical Applications of Vibrotactile Stimulation:
Theoretical Bases, Techniques, and Case Findings

M Taylor, E Anderson, P Patil

 

The clinical and research utility of vibrotactile stimulation is well documented.  It has been used in neuroimaging studies to map the somatosensory cortex and to determine correlations between peripheral and central activation.  Vibrotaction deficits can indicate the extent of impairment resulting from CVA, peripheral neuropathy, and other pathologies.  It has been clinically observed that the use of vibrotactile stimulation has been followed by marked recovery of reflexive and voluntary motor response in neuromotor speech and swallowing cases.  Potential theoretical explanations for the clinical efficacy of vibrotactile stimulation will be considered.  Specific vibrotactile stimulation techniques utilized, and anecdotal records of clinical outcomes following their utilization, will be discussed in light of the potential theoretical explanations.  Directions for subsequent laboratory and clinical research will then be proposed.