What makes ABR different to other therapies?
How do classic therapies work?
When we look at the bodies of our children, what can we see? We can quite simply see that some areas are too weak and other areas too strong. There are weak muscles which are not active, and there are strong muscles which are overstimulated – we know this as spasticity.
Most therapies start to work with the elements which are already active, i.e., the over stimulated muscles, in order to gain functions as quickly as possible.
How does ABR work?
ABR however, has a completely different approach. We do not work with the strong muscles that are already active (even too active), we allow them to continue to work as they are. We start by stimulating the weaker areas and activate them step by step. This, in turn, results in the stronger muscles relaxing more as there is no longer a need to overcompensate and be overstimulated. This is the way that ABR builds a balanced movement.
ABR does not aim to create quick short-term functions of the body. Of course, however, function does come into place later and it will be a “true” function. ABR firstly aims to allow the weaker areas to become apparent on the brain map. The more data the brain map has, the better it can work to organize the true function. This is because it no longer overactivates just the stronger muscles and neglects the weaker ones (as they were not previously registered).
ABR aims to firstly rebuild the body to a more ‘typical’ structure with the correct connections, so later, the muscle activation can work. Other therapies, classical therapies, tend to try to gain a function from the present limited structure. This however always results in limitations of the functions later on. It is now clear to understand how different our approach is. It is vital to work on the weak areas first, so you can build a normal balanced structure in order to gain a proper function.
Why is the brain not to be blamed?
Unfortunately, it is a typical mistake to blame the brain for this. However, when the brain does not receive the correct data from the body, it cannot possibly create a true function. Therefore, it is vital we inform the brain of the weaker areas by stimulation and allow it to register all the data of the body – before the brain can begin to organize the function. It is safe to say that in fact, it actually has little to do with the brain itself. The brain will try to create a function from the elements which are registered. When the weaker elements are not registered, the brain works to find another solution with the data it has.
For instance, if the neck area is weak and if the shoulder blade and the clavicle are not stable, the brain will look to find an alternative way to move the arm – i.e., making the trapezius very tense by creating a shortcut between the arm and the head (because the neck is also not into the action). As these are the elements that are registered on the brain map, we cannot blame the brain for not working properly as it quite simply does not receive the correct data… The brain can only act according to the elements/data it has.
ABR re-installs the data by stimulating the weaker areas of the body which are not well registered on the brain map and which have been neglected for so long. This is done in order for the brain to process the data and create functions.