Kinestesia: What is it? Mechanism, Examples, Functions, Kinesthetic Sense and Differences with Propioception

Also known as kinesthesia or kinesthesia, is the perception of bodily movements.

It implies being able to detect changes in the position of the body and movements without depending on the information of the five senses.

It is the sense of the position of the body and the movement of the parts of the body in relation to the other.

He is using his kinesthetic sense every time he participates in a physical activity, such as walking, running, driving, dancing, swimming and anything that requires body movement.

The awareness of where the parts of the body are in relation to the ground. The ability to tell where your body compares with other parts of the body. Be able to tell where the parts of your body are in contrast to the ground and other parts of the body.


Through his sense of kinesthesia, he can know where the different parts of his body are, even if his eyes are closed or if he is standing in a dark room.

For example, when you ride a bicycle, the receptors on the arms and legs send information to the brain about the position and movement of your limbs.

When you think of the five main senses (vision, smell, touch, taste and hearing), you may notice that everyone tends to focus on perceiving stimuli outside the self.

The kinesthetic is a type of sense that focuses on the internal events of the body. Instead of using this sense to detect stimuli outside the self, your sense of kinesthesis lets you know where your body is located and detect changes in body position.

When you need to perform a complex physical action, your kinesthetic sensation lets you know where your body is and how much more you need to get there.

It is very simple to understand the kinesthetic

  • This sense tracks the parts of the body in relation to the other.
  • It provides constant sensory feedback of the muscles of your body that you are doing during movement.
  • Know what types of body movements are needed and how to adjust your body in situations.
  • A process where a stimulus is received, transduced and conducted as impulses to be interpreted by the brain.

Examples and functions

  • You know that your arm sways when you walk.
  • It tells you which hand is closest to the phone when it rings.
  • It prevents you from hitting a cup of coffee when you reach it.

People who have suffered a stroke or brain damage have to look at their arms or legs to know what they are doing because they have lost their kinesthetic sense.

When riding a bicycle, the receivers in the arms and legs send information to the brain about the position and movement of their legs and hands on the steering wheel.

When riding a horse, you must take into account the position of your feet and hands so that the horse knows that he must continue walking or running, and that he should not stop.

Understanding of the kinesthetic sense

The kinesthetic sense, the sense of position and movement of our limbs , has been the subject of speculation for more than 400 years. The current view is that it is mainly marked by muscle spindles, with a secondary role played by the skin and joint receptors.

The problem with muscle spindles as position sensors is that they can generate impulses in response to changes in muscle length as well as fusimotor activity. The central nervous system must be able to distinguish between the activity of the two sources.

Recent observations on the sense of position after fatigue and during loading suggest that an additional source of kinesthetic information comes from a centrally generated sensation, the feeling of effort.

This has consequences for kinesthesia in the presence of the force of gravity. A contribution of the central mechanisms of feedback to the sense of effort is relevant for certain clinical conditions.

The difference between kinesthesia and proprioception

Kinestesia : awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body through sensory organs in the muscles and joints. The perception of the movement of the body itself, its limbs and muscles, etc.

The word kinestesia or kinesthesia (kinesthetic sense) strictly means sense of movement.

Proprioception : the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation that arises from the stimuli within the body itself.

In humans, these stimuli are detected by the nerves within the body itself, as well as by the semicircular canals of the inner ear.

The ability to feel the stimuli that arise in the body with respect to position, movement and balance.

Even if a person is blindfolded, he or she knows through proprioception whether an arm is over the head or hanging from the side of the body.

It is the sense of the relative position of the neighboring parts of the body and the force of the effort employed in the movement.