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Proprioception - our sixth sense

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Nothing supernatural is meant by this.

Strictly speaking, we have seven senses, because the sense of balance (vestibular system) is also one of them. Modern sensory physiology even adds the sense of temperature and the sense of pain.


For some time now, research and science have also been intensively analyzing proprioception, i.e. the perception of the position and movement of the body.

Propriozeption hilft uns bei der Bestimmung der Lage unserer Gliedmaßen, des Kopfes und Rumpfes im Raum.

This sense helps us determine the position of our limbs, head and trunk. It gives us information about movements and our posture and assists with hand-eye coordination. Proprioception thus informs our brain about "up" and "down", "front" and "back", tilt and rotation. It is also an important part of our force estimation and sensation of speed and heaviness.


This sense is incredibly important to us as humans because it allows the body to continuously adapt to our environment without us being aware of it. Thousands of times a day, and also at night when we sleep, our head and back, for example, correct their position.


To do this, proprioception combines information from the senses of touch, balance and vision with information from receptors in our muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

Examples of proprioception:

We don't look at our feet when we walk or climb a ladder.

When we hold a glass or plastic cup, we adjust our force accordingly to avoid crushing the plastic or dropping the glass.

Proprioception makes this and much more possible. Without this sense, we would not be able to do many things at all.


Proprioception is literally responsible for upright posture. And not only physically, but also as an expression of the value system we carry within us, our emotional stability, our body language and the security or self-esteem we radiate. Thus, proprioception also plays an important role in body-oriented coaching when it comes to authenticity and better body awareness.


The arte documentary offers an exciting insight into this sensory world (only in German and French):


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