Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation
For children with developmental disorders, ABR provides a method for improving fundamental bodily structures that exist beyond the reach of the brain and of conscious brain function. These structures known as fascia or connective tissues are so mandatory to the maintenance of bodily health and equilibrium that sufficient disruption within this system inevitably leads to:
- Faulty respiration and flawed respiratory mechanics
- Poor digestive capacity and diminished abdominal volumes
- A fused or functionally fused spinal column
- Joint weakness and or stiffness
- Motor –skeletal disorders and malfunction
Combined these functional disturbances hinder or prohibit the child’s further development at all levels. In addition they lead to degenerative cycles at a time of life when not only sustainable cycles, but positive developmentary cycles need to be predominant. See: http://abr-denmark.com/fileadmin/templates/media/pdf/the-presence-of-physiological-stress-shielding-in-the-degenerative-cycle-musculoskeletal-disorders
An organized regeneration and strengthening of these elementary fascia based structures brings the child with developmental problems a wealth of advantages and enhances his development potential at all levels.
The ABR technique has been developed in close collaboration with the parents and caretakers of special needs individuals. The exercises are designed in such a way as to be completely safe and comfortable for children and parents alike. All exercises applied are devoted to the strengthening of the child’s weakest areas and strengthening of these inherent weaknesses steadily improves the child’s overall performance.
“The main weaknesses are at the core”
An appreciation of the weaknesses that a special needs child struggles with can best be attained when one comes to understand the radial structure of the body as related to the body’s core.
A well renowned American anatomist - Dr. Gil Hedley - has demonstrated the layer by layer construction of the body as concentric fascia layers or sheaths. As shown in the diagram below, the internal volume within our core structures of head, neck, thorax and abdomen make up 70% of the bodies volumes, whereby the outer layers of skin, fat, muscles and bones make up but 30% of the entire volume.
The observation and documentation of over 1000 cases of cerebral palsy and related disorders shows that weaknesses within the body’s internal volumes allows for architectural shifts in placement of the external layers of muscles and bones. These shifts of the external layers inevitably lead to muscular skeletal malfunction and developmental delays - as seen typically in children with cerebral palsy, autism or chromosome based disorders.
At the same time, ABR applications designed to address the named core weaknesses not only improve:
- the weaknesses within the core structures – in turn improving respiratory mechanics
- the structurally based disturbances, contractures and deformations of the muscular- skeletal system
- muscular- skeletal function, i.e. mobility and movement
- the quality of soft tissue structures responsible for speech and swallowing -
but also - by improving the structural base of the body - also bring advancements to the child’s cognitive development.
“Core Strengthening Frees Up the Muscles”
By strengthening the fascia of core structures – primarily through passive loading techniques, the ABR Method is able to improve the positioning of joints, as well as to strengthen the background support that muscles are dependent upon and attain through the fascia based structures which they are structurally embedded in.
The improvement of this fascia based support then allows for a more equalized load distribution and makes a more natural and evenly distributed weight bearing possible. In individuals where – due to compressional weakness and underdeveloped fascia structures - a distribution of loads throughout the body is poor, the muscles are forced to work over-time to the point of over-exhaustion. This type of bio-mechanical tax, leads to further degeneration of muscle quality, further spasticity and further joint deterioration.
On the other hand, the strengthening and rebuilding of fascia based structures, allows these structures to take over weight-bearing activities, which in turn “frees up” the muscles and allows them to be able to perform the activities they are meant to do with greater ease, coordination and the reduction of expenditure.
“Freeing Up the Muscles Frees Up the Brain”
Studies of children with spasticity have shown that the muscles of these children utilize 4-5 times as much energy as the muscles of a healthy person do. We can see that it is an expensive issue for a child who can only perform tasks such as creeping or crawling in a repetitive and under-efficient manner to be forced into performing these stereo-typed movements for long periods daily.
Due to the fact that the muscles are strongly integrated in the central nervous system, “over-involvement” of muscle effort means also an over-involvement of the central nervous system.
Connective tissues – on the other hand are run on the bodies’ back burner – both with respect to energy usage and to the engagement of the central nervous system. Their regulation is beyond our conscious activity and involves autonome nervous systems responses.
A strengthening of these basal tissues, then allows the brain to be freed up from over-involvement in the muscle tissues contractions, and be made available for emotional, cognitive, sensory and intellectual development.
Fascia as Proprioceptive Organ
On the other hand interesting research results have shown that fascia is highly innervated (Stecco, et al 2007). This means that fascia acts as a proprioceptive organ, providing a constant influx of information to the nervous system regarding the relative placement and the loading of the bodies weight bearing and locomotive elements. For the child with developmental difficulties weaknesses within the fascia structures translates directly to poor bodily perception and poor motor function.
Research performed in the field of the bodies fascia based structures has increased dramatically within the last 15 – 20 years. This research has proven that the health of the fascia is highly dependent upon the quality of the loads and stresses coming to it – meaning that without the healthy load distribution that a normal child under normal daily circumstances achieves, fascia based structures will tend to deteriorate and decline in their structural stability. On the other hand the same fascia structures can remodel – even instantaneously – in respect to effective structural loading.
ABR Provides Mechanical Loading
The ABR Method is primarily a manual treatment and consists of a variety of specially designed techniques based upon selective modes of pressure applied to multiple areas of the body – aiming to address the most prevalent weaknesses. Various techniques developed instrument a variety of materials, speeds and strength of application of pressure serving to reach a range of different inner layers of the body including:
- Internal visceral fascia or the fascia layers of inner organs
- Joints and joint capsules
- Fascia profundi – the deep fascia adjacent to and responsible for the muscle layer
- Bone structures
The ABR Training Method equips parents and caretakers of special needs individuals with a wide selection of highly specialized tools for furthering the attainment of optimal development. Regardless of the age of the individual or the severity of the disorder, ABR serves to accelerate the individual’s progress at all levels through improving the general life quality and providing enhancement and strengthening to the base from which the individual can advance from. For the severe child, this means that one begins with improving the basic life functions such as swallowing and breathing - for the less severe individual, improvements in crawling, sitting, and or walking and running performance can be targeted from the start.
Parents of special needs children and disabled individuals often feel that there must be more possibilities for improvement than those offered up until now by the official health care system.
To understand the alternatives offered by ABR., one needs to start to understand the problems. One of the most obvious structural problems of special needs individuals is their Compressional Weakness when compared with a healthy individual.
Compressional weakness also has a direct affect upon the positioning of the skeletal elements and the muscular attachments thereof. This results in what ABR has termed: The Wrong Movement in the Wrong Place.
Further understanding of compressional weakness can be obtained through reading about the body’s inherent Hydrostatic Pressure. Tensegrity is a structural model for illustrating how lines of force and tension hold and sustain the bodily structure from within. Here one can gain an understanding of how compressional weakness also disrupts the tensegrity based structural organization.
Last but not least, it is important for families to know how ABR stands in relation to the otherwise available methods and how to put ABR in Perspective with today’s health care.