Joint Compressions for Calming

Are you looking for a quick, free, and effective way to help your child feel more organized, calm, and better suited to handle life’s stressors? Try using joint compressions!

What are Joint Compressions?

Joint Compression is providing input into one’s joints (namely at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers) for proprioceptive input. Proprioception refers to the physical input on the body’s joints, muscles, and bones that then elicit chemical, physiological, and physical changes in the body.
Our bodies need proprioceptive input to improve our body awareness, body organization, postural security; and once the body becomes more secure and organized, then it can relax, calm down, and handle stress in a more efficient manner.  In addition, joint compressions also utilize human touch with has been shown to facilitate the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.  Dopamine and norepinphrine are two neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood regulation, motivation, lowering anxiety levels, and lowering depression (Neurogistics, 2015).  So, by doing joint compressions with your child, you are actually getting” double the bang for your buck” as you are reaping the benefits of both proprioception and touch combined.  This will not only help your child on a physical and physiological level, but it will also help you and your child to bond as you complete this calming activity together.

How to do joint compressions 

Watch this short video and learn how to properly do joint compressions with your child!

Video Player

*Disclaimer- This video and information from this post are to be used for informational purposes only.  This should not serve as replacement for occupational therapy service treatment and a properly trained occupational therapist or physician should be consulted beforehand to ensure proper technique.

When to use joint compressions?

Joint compressions are great to use to help calm your child and can be done multiple times a day if needed.  Below are some suggested times to try the joint compressions with your child….

  • Before entering a stressful environment such as school, sports, or workbook-15584_1920
  • Before the child goes to bed
  • Before the child needs to complete homework
  • Before the child has a big test or presentation to give at school
  • During a daily sensory diet or plan at home or school
  • When your child is overly active and can’t seem to sit still
  • When your child is having difficulty focusing
  • Proactively to maintain healthy behaviors, motivations, and attention span

Who can benefit from joint compressions?

Children of all ages and abilities can benefit from joint compressions, but especially the following:

Children with ADD, ADHD

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder

Children with Autism

Children with anxiety, behavioral, or emotional difficulties


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