What Kinds of Touch Receptors Are Found in the Skin?
Touch receptors are a group of specialized neurons directly beneath the skin that are largely responsible for our ability to interact with the physical world around us. So it is probably unsurprising that they come in a lot of different shapes and forms. Each type of skin receptor is attuned to a different physical sensation, which is then transmitted to the brain. So what kinds of touch receptors are found in the skin? Let’s get started!
The main categories of touch receptor are called thermoreceptors, chemoreceptors, and mechanoreceptors.
- Thermoreceptors1 are like the thermometer notification for your skin receptors, designed to detect changes in the temperature of the outer skin layers.
- Chemoreceptors2 cover chemical changes in the body, and are often found in unusual places – for example, chemoreceptors can be specialized to exist in your mouth and contribute to your ability to taste.
- Mechanoreceptors3 are the touch receptors found in the skin that respond to mechanical stimulation – for example, physical sensations like holding a ball or pencil.
Of course, these are very broad ways of thinking about our touch receptors; mechanoreceptors, for example, can be further subdivided into four categories that respond to more specific kinds of physical interaction; these touch receptors are called:
- Bulbous corpuscle3, or Ruffini corpuscle, is a specialized mechanoreceptor that activates when you stretch your skin, allowing you to interpret and process actions like flexing your fingers or moving your arms.
- Pacinian corpuscles3 are highly sensitive to vibrations, and allow your brain to tell the difference between smooth surfaces and rough ones.
- Tactile corpuscles3, or Messiner’s corpuscles, are sensitive to light touches, only working up to a certain strength or frequency; they allow you to feel things like an ant running up your arm, or a light tickle.
- Merkel nerve endings3 work best to tell you about the pressure and location of objects you interact with; for example, you can discover that a particular rock is both solid and sharp because of these activated endings.
Every single touch receptor in your skin is attuned to a specific kind of stimulus; together, they come together to give you all the information you need about the physical world around you.
At eSmartr, we use Cognitive Boost Technology™ to stimulate these receptors and generate a specific kind of response in the brain that targets our cognitive networks, with the result being increased focus and reduced stress. After all, your brain receives countless signals on a constant basis from your sense of touch, and the ability to manipulate these signals on a deeper level is a huge leap forward for science, technology, and wellness!