Recently Lisa Gigliotti, physical therapist, completed a continuing education course called ‚ÄúNero-Developmental Treatment and Myofascial Release for Children with Neurological Disabilities.‚Äù
The course focused on two specific handling techniques. Sometimes, as therapists, when we want a muscle to move a certain way, we try to stretch it or force it there. This course taught about two different types of techniques that will activate muscles and create movement by instead using light tough and facilitation.
Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) is a treatment technique that uses light facilitation in key points of the body. In NDT, you analyze someone‚Äôs movement and posture in the context of their whole body and the activity they are trying to perform. Then you use your hands to guide the body in the movement pattern you are trying to achieve. It is very individualized based on each child‚Äôs movement patterns and muscle tone.
Myofascial Release is a specific form of elongating the tissues, and particularly the fascia. Fascia is a network of connective tissue in our body that surrounds every structure in our body, including our muscles. Fascia kind of acts as scaffolding in our body; it supports, connects, supplies nutrients, and absorbs shock. The idea is that if the fascia surrounding the muscles is restricted, the muscles underneath will also be restricted. Myofascial Release uses light sustained holds to elongate the fascia so the muscle is able to elongate underneath it.
The objective of the course was to teach us how to use these handling techniques to elongate, align, and then activate the proper muscles in order to achieve the goal we are working on with the child.
One of the most important points that was addressed in the course is that it‚Äôs important to work WITH the child instead of ON the child. Dr. Gigliotti thinks therapists and parents can agree that that having the child as an active participant in therapy is the best way to meet goals.