Fidget rings and similar fidget toys are believed to help with focus by tapping into the brain's natural need for stimulation and movement. The act of fidgeting is thought to activate the body's 'rest and digest' response, which can help to calm and focus the mind. When we fidget, our body is moving in a small way and it sends a signal to the brain that it's not in a state of stress or danger, thus allowing it to relax and focus. Fidgeting can also help to increase blood flow to the brain, which can improve cognitive function and focus.
Fidgeting with a fidget ring or another toy can provide a small distraction that can help to break up the monotony of a task, allowing the brain to refocus and stay engaged. Additionally, fidgeting can also be a way to release pent-up energy, which can help to reduce distractions and improve focus. The specific neurological processes that occur, when using a fidget or spinning ring for focus, are not well understood. However, it is believed that the combination of movement and the sense of touch provided by the ring can help to stimulate the brain's sensory receptors.
When using a fidget ring, the main sensory receptors involved are the ones related to touch and proprioception. Touch receptors, also known as mechanoreceptors, are located in the skin and other tissues and are responsible for sensing pressure, temperature, texture and vibration. When a person is fidgeting with a fidget ring, the touch receptors in their fingers and hands are stimulated, providing a sense of pressure and movement. This stimulation can help to keep the brain engaged and focused on the task at hand.
Proprioception receptors are located in muscles, tendons and joints and are responsible for sensing the position and movement of the body. When a person is fidgeting with a fidget ring, the proprioception receptors in their fingers and hands are stimulated, providing a sense of movement and position. This stimulation can help to improve the brain's awareness of the body, which can improve focus and attention.
Additionally, the vestibular receptors, located in the inner ear - and responsible for sensing movement and balance - may also be activated when using a fidget ring. This can help to improve the brain's awareness of the body and its movements, which can also improve focus.
It's important to note that the specific sensory receptors involved may vary depending on the type of fidgeting and how the fidget ring is being used. Some people may find that certain types of fidgeting are more effective for them than others, as different types of fidgeting may activate different sensory receptors. For example, fidgeting with a chime pendant can provide a multi-sensory experience that uses the sound of the chime and the movement of fingers as they play with the necklace. The sensation of touch on different textured surfaces can also be used for stimming.
Resources: Chadd.org: https://chadd.org/adhd-weekly/fidget-toys-and-adhd-still-paying-attention/