Do you have a child with Cerebral Palsy or a neurological health condition?

If so, they may be an excellent candidate for intensive suit therapy treatment.What-Is-Intensive-Suit-Therapy

So you may be wondering, what IS intensive suit therapy?

Think of it as an “underground treatment” that is gaining traction because of the amazing benefits kids receive.

In a nutshell, intensive suit therapy is a “suit” kids wear to help them with their posture, muscle tone, and movement.

We are going to explore intensive suit therapy in further detail …

  • What it is
  • How it works
  • Equipment and exercises
  • Talking to your pediatrician or specialist
  • A “neuro suit”
  • Age to begin treatment
  • Benefits and MORE …

Let’s dive in. 🙂

What Is Intensive Suit Therapy?

Intensive Suit Therapy is a treatment incorporated to help the brain retrain the Central Nervous System {CNS}.

What happens is your brain sends “signals” to improve and restore proper body movements and other physicalwhat-is-intensive-suit-therapy challenges associated with your neurological health condition.

The intensive therapy suit worn is known as a “TheraSuit” which is similar to wearing a modified space suit.

It is a bright-colored orthotic suit designed with adjustable bungee cords that are strategically placed which helps guide the entire body back on
the heels and into a more vertical position.

The therasuit includes a hat, knee pad, and a pair of specially designed therapeutic shoes worn by a child during therapy sessions.

It is specifically made to provide the right pressure and support to the affected muscle groups and joints to adjust in accordance with your body movement.

It is made to ensure the body is correctly aligned with the abnormal muscle movements in addition to helping the brain recognize and initiate the CORRECT muscle movements.

The TheraSuit Method

Let’s dive a little deeper.

The TheraSuit is a part of the TheraSuit Method, which is intensive physical therapy training.

When you wear the TheraSuit, studies show you will achieve faster and higher functional results.

Or to put into plain English, the TherSuit accelerates functional progress and helps you achieve better results in a SHORTER period of time.

How it Works

The suit’s idea was derived from the cosmonaut’s suit invented by the Russian Center for Aeronautical and Space Medicine in the late 1960s.

The suit works by off-setting zero-gravity conditions in space.

When you wear it, the suit provides about 30-80 pounds of pressure on your body.

In addition to the suit uniform are adjustable rings and cords to support you and keep you stable.

This helps strengthen your muscles while you exercise.

The goal is to help you perform the physical activities that require the movement of your major muscle groups such as your chest, arms, back, legs, shoulders, and stomach.

It is important to keep in mind the suit does not work naturally on its own by wearing it.  You have to do the necessary exercises and movements recommended by your physical therapist.

The exercises incorporated during the intensive suit therapy sessions are made to rebuild the connections with your central nervous system (CNS).

The TheraSuit restores the CNS function by providing both tactile stimulation and pressure all
over the body.

This is also why it helps so drastically with sensory integration challenges.

Suit Therapy Equipment and Exercises

When exercising in the intensive suit therapy, your child’s safety is ensured by the safe universal units known as monkey cages or spider cages.

The unit consists of cables, pulleys, and weights to facilitate various rehabilitation techniques to isolate movements and strengthen the muscles.

The cage helps your child and therapist work on activities that would normally take two or three therapists to work on, by acting as extra hands.

Your licensed physical therapist will conduct the intensive suit therapy session while incorporating exercises to focus on:

  • Developing motor skills.
  • Strengthening muscles.
  • Improving flexibility, balance, and coordination.
  • Tissue massage and warm-ups.
  • Sensory Integration techniques.
  • Proper movement patterns and body alignment.
  • VitalStim Therapy (which helps those with swallowing difficulty) is a painless non-invasive electrical current to stimulate the muscles around your neck area.

Talk to Your Pediatrician or Specialist

In order to know if your child is a candidate for intensive suit therapy, you should first check with her pediatrician or speak with a qualified medical professional.

Intensive suit therapy treatment is not recommended for all kids who have cerebral palsy or a neurological health condition.

For instance, if your child has any of the following conditions below, they will most likely not be able to participate in suit therapy:

  • Kidney problems
  • Uncontrolled seizures
  • Hip subluxation that is less than 50%
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Scoliosis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Recent surgeries
  • Osteoporosis

What is a “Neuro suit”?

A Neuro Suit is like a TheraSuit (or the bright-colored orthotic suit), but the KEY difference is that it uses gloves and elbow pads to increase arm compression.what-is-intensive-suit-therapy

The neuro suit helps your body gain the correct alignment.

It distributes vertical weight-bearing to the entire body and compression to the joints by using the bungee cords.

This improves and changes the joints’ pressure, group muscles, and ligaments facilitates proper body movement and reduces improper reflexes.

The Neuro suit works to enhance the Neurotransmission of massage from the brain to the CNS, resulting in increased instantaneous body awareness which leads to improved motor coordination.

It works against gravity’s effects from the vertical weight-bearing of the bungees.

Also, some Neuro Suits are filled with an array of sensory toys suspended to encourage  you to reach, make eye contact, focus, and concentrate.

The elastic straps allow you the opportunity to practice dynamic balance and feel the freedom of movement.

What Age Should You Start Suit Therapy Treatment?

A child of any age can start intensive suit therapy treatment.

Commonly, the age to begin suit therapy treatment is at 3 years old and up.

Kids who are toddlers and older benefit the most from intensive suit therapy treatment because they are able to wear the vest and shorts portion of the suit.

The Benefits

After several weeks of intensive suit therapy treatment, your child will likely reap the following benefits:

  • Improved hip alignment
  • Develop fine and gross motor skills
  • Loosen tight muscles to improve body movements
  • Enhance speech skills and its fluency through the trunk and head control
  • Strengthen weak muscles and provide resistance to enhance muscle toning
  • Potentially eliminate the need for surgeries which could be costly
  • Helps those with cerebral palsy, neurological health conditions, or those who have experienced a stroke or brain injury improve posture, muscle tone, and movement
  • Live an all out better quality of life
  • Improve bone density with the “intensive” therapy exercise movements
  • Reinforce proper movement skills like walking, balancing, and coordination.

Who will benefit from this type of treatment?

As we previously mentioned, suit therapy treatment helps the brain retrain the Central Nervous System {CNS} to improve and restore proper body movement and other physical challenges associated with a neurological health condition.

That is why intensive suit therapy is mostly recommended for a child who has any of the following conditions:

  • Athetosis
  • Spasticity
  • Hypotonia
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Chromosomal Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Near Drowning Accidents
  • Post-stroke (CVA)
  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Global Developmental Delays
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Any other neurological impairment

Where to go for Intensive Suit Therapy

Intensive suit therapy treatment is only offered at a physical therapy center.

The therapy treatment is generally biological and is done by:

  • A certified and licensed physical therapist.
  • OR a suit therapy practitioner who participates in training programs offered by the organization that manufacturers the suit.

Final Thoughts

Intensive suit therapy is an alternative treatment option to help you increase your muscle tone, movement, and posture.

Doing this type of therapy early during a child’s growth and development can do wonders to improve their overall quality of life.

  • Helps you eliminate the need for unnecessary surgeries
  • Provides pressure to your joints and muscles which improves your body posture
  • Strengthens your muscles
  • Helps sensory processing disorders
  • Helps neurological health conditions like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or autism
  • Retrains your central nervous system

You, as a parent or caretaker, play an important role in your child’s road to success.

At the end of your intensive suit therapy session, the therapist equips you with resources like pictures and descriptions of each activity and exercise to do with your child at home.

This allows your child to continue their  intensive therapy success at home with you by their side. 🙂


Thank you!

I want to wrap up by extending my gratitude to thank you for stopping by today!

If you have questions or anything you’d like to add that I did not cover in this post, please feel free to comment below.

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