The Therapressure protocol, often referred to as “brushing”,
is one component of professionally guided treatment that may be used in the treatment of sensory defensiveness. It should
be noted that only one component of the Wilbarger Approach to Sensory Defensiveness which must incorporate education and sensory diet as well as professionally guided treatment strategies. The Therapressure
protocol consists of deep pressure input, with a soft and densely bristled plastic brush, provided to the hands, arms, feet,
legs and back of clients. Therapressure should never be applied to the head, face, groin or buttocks. The developers, who
are also the primary trainers of the protocol, require the use of one particular brush which they have screened and deemed
appropriate, called the Therapressure Device by Clipper Mills (San Francisco, CA). The
protocol should be administered throughout the day at approximately 90-120 minute intervals although this will depend on the
client’s needs. This time frame reflects the time that deep pressure and proprioceptive input is believed to have a
modulatory effect on the central nervous system promoting behavioral regulation. It is also therefore believed to be an important
factor in maintaining the summative effect and long-lasting changes believed to occur in clients with sensory defensiveness
who utilize this protocol (Cool, 1990; Wilbarger & Wilbarger, 2006). Finally, the protocol requires that the Therapressure
be followed by joint compression to joints of the arms, legs and trunk. The entire process takes approximately 3 minutes.
While the protocol is short and appears easy, it should be noted that training in the correct administration of the protocol
is necessary and the actual protocol cannot be sufficiently taught in written form. Incorrect administration; including use
of an incorrect device for administration, insufficient pressure, insufficient administration frequency and numerous other
misinterpretations; may limit positive changes and could actually be dangerous to the client (Wilbarger & Wilbarger, 2002).
Therapressure is not appropriate for infants below the age of two months or with clients who demonstrate autonomic, physiologic
or CNS instability.