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What actually is Activity Based Therapy?

Activity based therapy uses an intensive , evidence based practise, blend of task specific, dynamic, weight bearing and meaningful training to improve function, mobility and independence. If you are wheelchair bound, this therapy mostly done outside of your chair and pushes the boundaries of what you think you can do. Dependant on your needs, two therapists can work with you during this training allowing maximum safety and positive outcomes.

This therapy involves multiple different techniques to achieve the desired outcomes. This includes things such as Neuromuscular electrical stimulation and locomotor training and generally lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 hours per session.


Neuromuscular electrical stimulation

This therapeutic stimulates peripheral motor nerves, activating the nervous system, which causes an output. This output being a functional motor movement in the location of the application. The objective behind this is allowing greater nervous system adaptation, strengthening and creating new pathways, increasing range of motion, increasing the density of motor units and even decreasing pain. This consequently allows greater function in the area of application, which then allows further therapeutic interventions for increased improvement in activities of daily living. Some examples of the functional movements are sit to stands, transferring, forward reach and grasp and even things like brushing hair or teeth. There are a wide range of people using the system we have at NextStepNZ (RTI Xcite) including people with Spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke and chronic pain. Some benefits we have seen in the short time we have been using it include an increased sensation in arm following paralysis or activation of previously dormant muscles leading to a reduction in pain and a full nights sleep.There is a growing body of evidence supporting this therapy and we are excited to follow along and see what we can do for our members.


Locomotor Training

This therapy involves assisted walking on a treadmill to aid in gait, co-ordination, balance, stability, proprioception and nervous system excitement. The person involved in the therapy is put into a harness, which is then attached to a hoist, which essentially helps support and take some of the body weight off the body while over the treadmill. Training at a lower body weight allows the trainers moving the person's legs to create as 'normal' and realistic walking pattern as possible. Is is this creation of a walking pattern that in turn fires/activates your nervous system and opens it up to creating its own movement through the central pattern generator in your spinal cord. During this time while your nervous system is activated we are trying to send as much feedback through the paralysed/weaker body parts as possible to try initiate a movement response. Locomotor training has been extensively researched and the NextStep franchises play a big part in the research going on in America around this therapy.



If any of this interests you or you think someone you know might be interested in trying this, there is some more information on our website at https://www.nextstepnz.com/neurological-recovery




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