Proprioception is sometimes known as the “sixth sense”. .

Even with our eyes closed, most of us have a good sense of our body position - e.g. we know where our arms and legs are and that we are moving them. 

That is because our muscles, tendons, joints and the inner ear all contain proprioceptors.  These act like a GPS:  relaying our position to our brains which, in turn, allows us to balance and move around freely without forever bumping into things.

It can be demonstrated by trying to touch the nose with the eyes closed: something which is very difficult to do when intoxicated by alcohol - which gives you some idea of how it feels to have a permanent impairment of this sense.


* difficult to direct your limbs to make - or complete - a task.   

* hard to use the right level of movement: so you may push a pencil too hard or not grip it tightly enough..

* hard to find the right level for speech - so that your voice is too loud.

* hard to maintain ’postural stability’ - so that you may be unable to stand on one foot or maintain your balance.

Check YOUR sense of proprioception at:



This term is often used interchangeably with proprioception, although it places a greater emphasis on motion and so is thought to be the sensation by which bodily position, weight, muscle tension, and movement are perceived.

Some people differentiate the kinesthetic sense from proprioception by excluding the sense of equilibrium or balance from kinesthesia. 

Thus whilst an inner ear infection might affect the sense of balance and proprioception, the Kinesthetic sense would be unimpaired and so the affected individual would be able to walk if they used their sight to maintain their balance but not is they were to shut their eyes.

Kinesthesia is a key component in muscle memory and hand-eye coordination and can be improved by training.

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