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In Australia, new legislation has come in to restrict codeine from being able to be sold as an over the counter medication. This is due to a large number of people who have overused or become addicted to codeine. After the medically supervised withdrawal from codeine, we have had clients who have asked for Sensory Modulation strategies to assist them. Many of the clients that we see are using Codeine to feel calm or numb from intense emotional feelings. Other people use codeine to manage pain, but today we will focus on the numb and calm strategies.

Change how you feel: feeling numb

People who experience intense and overwhelming emotions sometimes want to feel numb from their emotional pain. The numb feeling has been described as thinking less, or not feeling the emotion (including the physiology of the emotion). Some people identify that they use substances such as codeine or alcohol to feel numb. These strategies can be used as an alternative to using substances or to create a feeling of numbness:

1. Changing temperatures:

  • alternating cold showers with warm showers
  • immerse self in or rub icy water over body and then have a warm bath
  • go under a waterfall, ice bucket challenge

2. Humming Breath:

  • put ear plugs in, or hold fingers over ears to close them. Then hum loudly on the breath out. This will provide a vibration feeling around the sinus area

3. Spinning

  • spin around in circles
  • go on a roundabout or other playground equipment

4. Lengthy intense exercise

  • dance wildly
  • run for a long time

5. Other intense sensations

  • Suck a lemon, smell aniseed, suck a warhead, apply a heavy facial etc.


Check: Are the strategies SAIM? Safe, Appropriate, Individualised, Meaningful?

What is Sensory Modulation?

Sensory modulation is ‘changing how you feel through using your senses’. The senses include touch, movement taste, smell, sight and sound. Depending on the type of sensory input and our unique preferences, sensory modulation can increases feelings of calm, energy, improve focus and enhance feelings of safety and connection. More information available in  “Sensory Modulation” Resource Manual (2018) Julie O’Sullivan and Carolyn Fitzgibbon ebook (Amazon)

More sensory modulation strategies are available in the Sensory Modulation Resource Manual available on kindle