Snoezelen is a Netherlands neologism made from the contraction of two verbs : Snuffelen and Doezelen

Snuffelen means to nose, to experiment, to explore. This state of mind requires an openness to objects, others... It also implies intentional movements or a taste for discoveries. It allows people to feel through all senses, whether from the outside (sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing) or from the inside (muscles, bones, tendons, vibrations and movements of viscera). This exploratory dimension is possible and fully experimented by patients only after they feel they are safe and well: it's the “doezelen”.

Doezelen implies a state of soft well-being, even of sleepiness. When patients are in a state of well-being, relaxation, safety they are much more inclined to sensory and relational openness. Openness cannot be achieved with stress, anxiety and pain. Patients would rather be concerned with defending themselves against aggressions and would shut down to everything.

When creating a snoezelen, it is important that both dynamics are present so the patients can go back and forth and find their own security.

More generally, let's say the Snoezelen offers patients a moment of sharing, relaxation, comfort and security while allowing them to discover diverse sensory stimulations, sometimes very simple, at their own pace. The snoezelen approach is often (but not necessarily) set up in a special room in a quiet, warm atmosphere where sensory stimulations are varied.

The snoezelen is an invitation to varied sensory experiments, lived in an atmosphere of trust and relaxation, favoring primary senses stimulation.

It is friendly place of mutual respect and attention. It is also a place where patients can be idle! Therapists are present only to reassure the patients through their presence.

When the patient's well-being is ensured, the discovery of the environment can be favored.

We encourage patients

  • to react to sensory stimulations (tactile, olfactory, visual, auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive). Each sense being worked on separately.
  • To communicate verbally or non-verbally
  • To initiate movements in different positions
  • To favor motor games.

Who comes to the snoezelen room?
Patients waking up from a coma, suffering from head syndrome, hemiplegia, anoxia.
In this room, work is made depending on the patient, not on the pathology. Care within the snoezelen is prescribed by a doctor as any other re-education session.
Therapies are for only one patient at a time. They are supervised by either an occupational therapist, a psycho-motor therapist, a speech therapist or a neuro-psychologist depending on the objectives given by the doctor.