Natural cutaneous stimulation was performed in 10 healthy volunteers by means of a brief, localized air jet directed to the glabrous skin of the face, finger or toe. Neurograms (from finger stimulation) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were recorded and, in the case of finger and toe stimulation, compared with the SEPs obtained by low intensity electrical stimulation. Comparing the latencies at wrist and elbow of the respective neurograms, it appears that a 2 msec period accounts for skin indentation and build-up of the generator potential in the receptors activated by the air jet. A slightly lower conduction velocity was obtained on natural than on electrical stimulation, and the cortical SEPs accordingly had a longer latency. In spite of the much smaller amplitude of the air-jet evoked neurograms, the amplitudes of the SEPs from finger and toe were similar to the amplitudes of the SEPs on electrical stimulation of the same regions. Natural stimulation in the regions innervated by the 3 branches of the trigeminal nerve (tongue included) yielded consistent SEPs, comparable with those reported in the literature to electrical stimulation. These potentials were distinguishable from the electrical activity due to the blink reflex, which invariably takes place on air-jet stimulation of the first trigeminal branch.