Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Therasuit therapy in our village



"Me in action"

Aspects of a conductive lifestyle

There are many people who ask me for advice on all sorts of things. Often I am asked about therapies that parents, partners, carers or clients come across and wonder whether they should give it a go as part of their conductive life-style.

As I have said before here on my blog I experienced eleven years of trying out many different treatments and therapies as part of the conductive lifestyle that my partner and I lived.

Whenever my partner visited someone for massage, manipulation, or cranio-sacral treatment, to learn meditation or self-hypnosis I tried to be there too. Not only to watch but also to take part myself so that I could really feel what was going on. There were many occasions when I really did benefit from the treatment, especially the Kneipp-bath treatments, cranio-sacral therapy and self-hypnosis that I took part in alongside my partner for several sessions and courses.

This involvement in and experience of so many different methods has given me a sound background knowledge in many fields. I often know what I can turn to for my own needs and, just as importantly, I am also often able to advice my clients.

Having information in the form of brochures and website addresses is important but my own personal experiences are invaluable to me. They give me a much deeper understanding of whatever it is that I am talking about.

Most recently I have been asked about the Therasuit or suit-therapy as some people call it. The enquiries that I get are not only from Germany but from all over the world, although it is here in Germany that I have gathered most information about it.

I first came across the Therasuit in 1999 as the Adeli Suit from Poland. Many families that I met in Germany, but also from America and Canada, wished to try this suit-therapy with their children with Cerebral Palsy. The suit had been developed in Russia for astronauts who were returning from space missions after a period of weightlessness and therefore no weight-bearing movements of their limbs.

The exercise programme developed for people using this suit, a suit comprised of many rubber bands that give a resistance to movement, was thought to decrease the risk of damage to the wearer‘s bones, decrease the loss of bone density and improve the overall movement and posture of the astronauts who had been in a gravity free environment for many weeks.

The suit was developed later for use with children and adults with motor disorder and the Euro-Med Centre in Poland offered courses combined with other therapies to foreign families. One of the therapists from this centre eventually came to work in Nürnberg but to the disappointment of many families was unable to bring the suit with her, because of problems with the patent.

It was not until a family with a disabled child, the parents both physiotherapists, went to Poland for treatment that the suit became more widely available. They returned to America and developed their own suit, the Therasuit. They went on to patent this suit themselves and it is now used in many centres around the world.

Now I will get to the reason for the story

The therapist, who came to Nürnberg many years ago from Poland, where she had worked with children with cerebral palsy using the Adeli Suit, is still working as a physiotherapist at the centre where I often work. She has recently opened her own practice and has amongst the many different treatments on offer, the Therasuit.

Last month there was an open-day. It was an open-evening actually which was even better as more people were able to get there. Invited to this evening was anyone who was interested in the Therasuit and therapy equipment called a GIGER.

I have posted about this too on my blog. The Giger is another piece of equipment that I have tried and tested over the years and that many of my clients use, either at their physiotherapy sessions or at home. That’s it in the picture above.

I had to work until five o’clock on the Friday of the open-evening, but the father of my last client took Évi and me in his car when work was over to the next village where the German centre for Therasuit therapy is situated.

http://www.therasuittherapie.de

My friend, the polish physiotherapist, was delighted to see us. She already had a lovely little boy suited up ready to demonstrate and answer our questions, of which I had many.

The child had hemiplegia and it was wonderful to see that while wearing this suit he was moving much more naturally than without it. His balance was greatly improved, he did not trip or fall so much while playing football for example, and the position of his foot was improved by the positioning of the thick elastic bands.

Despite the clarity with which the child answered my questions and how the therapist explained her work with her clients while they wore the suit for two hours, I still was not sure. I thought it might be something for a couple of my child and adult clients to try out but I wanted to be sure before I recommended it to them.

I was delighted when having bombarded the demonstrators with questions for at least thirty minutes my Polish friend suggested that I put on one of the larger suits. Actually I do not know who was more thrilled, me or the little boy who had been co-demonstrating.

Now with his garment removed he helped me to don mine. It took quite a long time to get me strapped in and ready for some instruction from my little helper. The child led me through the therapy rooms holding my hand tightly to make me feel safe. He crawled on the floor with me to help me to find out how I could move on my hands and knees; he walked beside me and played football with me. While this little boy was working with me he asked me constantly how I felt.

How did I feel?

At first I felt like I was walking on air and I felt that I was about ten feet high. As I got used to the suit I still felt as light as a feather and much taller. I felt that I had, for the first time in ages, all my limbs in perfect alignment. My head was held up high and in the middle of my body. I felt like my weight really was equally distributed on both left and right feet.

I felt that it was good for me to have the suit on, but realized it would only be beneficial if I could remember this posture and copy it without the suit on. Apparently it is advisable to have three week’s worth of daily two-hour sessions for it to be possible to remember and keep the learnt posture.

While I was wearing the suit the physiotherapist changed the position of some of the straps to pull my foot to the outside, just as she would do for a client whose foot rotated inwards so I could feel how it worked. She then showed me how she could change the rubber bands to encourage the outward rotation of the whole leg and not only the foot. It was easier for me to understand the use of this suit while wearing it and having the bands changed for different reasons.

After I had worn the suit for about fifteen minutes I went on to use the GIGER machine. I have used this several times before but it was a much different experience using it while wearing the Therasuit. A GIGER is a cycling machine for both arms and legs. It was designed and created by the family of someone with MS to improve the coordination and balance skills. I remember well the feeling of alignment that I had after first using the GIGER almost ten years ago. I felt really refreshed afterwards too and had the same feeling of lightness as I had with the Therasuit on.

I wondered what I would feel like after working out with the Therasuit and Giger combined.

After one thousand rotations of arms and legs I was released!

I actually felt great when I had been helped out of the suit. I really could begin to imagine how it would help someone with a movement disorder. I realized that I was now holding my head in the correct position and this lasted for several hours after I had taken off the suit. My back was aching a little from having been corrected for so long, and I had to resist as I felt it gradually try to slip back into its usual crooked position.

I am sure that if I used the suit everyday for three weeks it would have done me and my back a power of good.

I am quite certain that there are some of my clients who would benefit too. I would like to find out whether some of clients would benefit if they were to wear a Therasuit regularly while taking part in a physiotherapy session or more importantly a conductive programme.

We have a date fixed for when I return to the group in Nürnberg for some clients to try it out. We are lucky that the physiotherapist has a practice just a five minute drive away. Other families travel from all over the country to attend, just as German families used to travel to Poland until the Therasuit came to us.

Notes

Nürnberg centre for Therasuit therapy -

http://www.therasuittherapie.de/THERASUIT-METHODE.html

Izabela Koscielny -

http://www.suittherapy.com/pdf%20training/Izabela%20Koscielny%20CV.pdf

7 comments:

Gill said...

This is fascinating, Susie. I have seen pictures of children in such suits and thought they looked very restricting rather than enabling.

Susie Mallett said...

It was actually a very nice feeling wearing the suit, I did not feel at all restricted. Of course at first it felt strange, but that soon wore off. I think I knew before I wore it that it would feel good but I was still pleasantly surprised.

I was suffering at the time from pains in my neck and shoulders but I realised after only a few minutes that this was easing because my posture was so much better.

The little boy who was helping me told me that he really felt very good when he had the suit on and he loved to play football in it as he did not fall over so often as without it. He could control his balance as his posture was better in the suit.

When I was pedalling on the Giger while wearing the Therasuit it was slightly harder work than without it but I had better control over the position of my body with the suit on.

Since I wrote the posting I have had yet another enquiry asking me: "Have you heard of the Therasuit?". I had another interesting discussion about it. This time with a fellow conductor.

This certainly appears to be a popular choice of therapy at the moment, with its use spreading to more and more parts of the world.

With Germany being so near to Poland it was more readily available to our clients from the mid to late 1990s, than to people from further afield. Now we have it on the doorstep.

Andrew said...

Sorry, but cannot resist being put in mind of one of my favourite films of all time:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/11/23/the-complete-metropolis/

Andrew

Susie Mallett said...

Sorry to disappoint you Andrew, but there was no electricity involved and no fuses blown. There was quite a lot of laughing going on though.

Thank you for the wonderful link.

One of the other visitors at the open evening, a parent who I have known for years who arrived when I already had the suit on, thought that the hat was a piece of my own personal outfit! He is from Ireland so that may explain his thinking, perhaps he thought I was one of the little people. I felt a little bit ausererdisch.

Andrew said...

Yes indeed, it's a great hat but would, I think, benefit from the addition of a propeller...

http://www.ectomo.com/2009/03/10/propeller-head/

Susie Mallett said...

Andrew,

I am sure that the children using the suits would enjoy such additions too so I will pass on your suggestion to my friend!

Thank you for yet another link that made me smile out loud.

Susie

http://www.youtube.com/jerzy36maslanka said...

Susie,
I am very surprise that you did not check all the facts and history in terms of developing Adeli Suit worldwide. You knew very well the history of trying me braining this suit to Canada back in early 2000 but at this time you choose to ignore it!
Unfortunately some people mentioned in your article have a very different approach in presenting this method...and this is the wrong approach.
Wake up Susie. You are on the wrong side of the “Adeli” border.