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A method for rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy and neuromotor disorders

• 100 por ciento of patients treated with Therasuit® method at Vithas Virgen del Mar Hospital improve alignment, stability and balance
• The treatment was developed by Soviet researchers to treat the problems of muscular atrophy suffered by astronauts who spent a long time in space

18 Jan 2019

The Therasuit® exercise device used in Child Development and Early Care Unit (UDIAT) at Vithas Virgen del Mar Hospital, is complemented by a personalised, intensive strengthening program for children and adults with neuromotor disorders, improving the mobility in 100 por ciento of patients.

The Therasuit® is a soft, proprioceptive and dynamic orthotic. It is a very safe and effective tool that, in combination with a personalised and intensive exercise program, manages to accelerate the rehabilitation process.

“With this suit and a system of elastic bands, explains Dr Marina Barber, a psychologist and coordinator of UDIAT- we achieve patients’ postural alignment and correction. The realignment allows normalising muscle tone and function, as well as re-educating patients on their movement patterns.”

The Therasuit method provides external stabilisation of the trunk that allows movements to be more coordinated and fluid in the upper and lower extremities, also helping to acquire and improve head and trunk control in patients who have little power of the same.

The method was devised by Izabela and Richard Koscielny, two Polish physiotherapists and parents of a daughter with cerebral palsy. The treatment application was developed by Soviet researchers to treat the problems of muscular atrophy suffered by astronauts who spent long periods in space

“The main objectives of this intensive care are the reduction of pathological patterns of movements, increase in muscle strength and endurance, as well as muscle control, coordination and functionality (gait, sedation, etc.),” Dr Barber explains.

The treatment programs available at Vithas Virgen del Mar Hospital consist of 3 hourly sessions a day, 5 days a week, for a period of between 3 and 4 weeks depending on each patient. “We perform an initial assessment from which we draw up an individualised treatment plan, clearly setting up the therapy goals to be met, adapting the treatment to each patient in a completely personalised way”.

Children undergoing treatment sessions at UDIAT now enjoy engaging in new games and activities that they can do with fewer physical effort thanks to the increase in their muscle strength resulting from this intensive daily treatment.

Dr Marina Barber says that “between ropes, rubber bands, balls, sandbags, hoops and other materials, we stimulate children's’ body movements, enabling them to play by nullifying the force of gravity that was previously a serious obstacle for most of them, which was making the normal movements more difficult”.

Stimulation of the vestibular system and proprioception also play a very important role in this treatment since, thanks to the help of the Therasuit, a lot of information is sent to the central nervous system, both about the correct posture and coordinated movements, thus eliminating most compensatory movements and making the specific muscle group work that would otherwise be restricted.

Who can benefit from this method?

Patients suffering from:

  • Infantile Cerebral Palsy (ICP)
  • Developmental Delays
  • Brain Injuries
  • Stroke
  • Ataxia
  • Athetosis
  • Spasticity (increased muscle tone)
  • Hypotony (weak muscle tone)
  • Other neurological disorders

All patients who have followed this intensive treatment have achieved significant improvements in alignment, stability and balance. “Gaining strength in the muscle groups we are working on, according to each case, allows performing smoother and coordinated movements in a faster manner, which leads to more fluid moves with less energy requirement from the child. Through such intensive work, we achieve elements of development that provide our children with greater personal autonomy,” says Dr Barber. “At UDIAT we continue to strive to offer the highest quality of treatment to our children always from a playful point of view because playing is the best way to learn”, she points out.