History of Suit Therapy and the TheraSuit
The research and development for Suit Therapy began in Russia's space program. The result was the Penguin suit, a special, lightweight suit to be worn in space flight, which would counteract the harmful effects of weightlessness on the body: Bone density loss, altered integration of sensory responses muscle atrophy, altered integration of motor responses, cardiovascular changes, and bodily fluid balance. The Russian space program's first suit was in many ways the beginning of modern Suit Therapy. Because this earliest form of Suit Therapy allowed Russian astronauts to stay in space for longer periods of time, this early prototype for the Adeli suit became an essential part of the Russian space race. Unfortunately, this suit was quite difficult to put on and restricted the way astronauts moved. However, its overall success was based on it's dynamic orthotic design and the fact that it could be worn many hours per day. This concept of extended use is the basis of our Intensive Suit Therapy.
Cerebral Palsy Treatment
For many years, the Penguin suit was used successfully with astronauts to help them prevent disability. As Russia became more open, the technology for this early "therapy suit" was shared with those who work in rehabilitation. Reasoning that the effects of weightlessness were very similar to the physical problems seen in cerebral palsy, they decided to modify the suits for use with patients with cerebral palsy. At the Pediatric Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, a team developed the first Adeli suit. Called the LK Adeli 92, this Adeli suit was the first suit used with cerebral palsy. Their results opened the door to a whole new application for Suit Therapy as the Adeli suit became a viable component for treatment of cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.
Advantage Of The TheraSuit
The Adeli 92 suit, while very effective, takes considerable time to put on. It also restricts certain types of trunk movement. The TheraSuit, (U.S. patent pending) designed by Richard and Izabela Koscielny, addresses problems of the earlier Russian suits. The TheraSuit allows for a full range of trunk mobility, comes in many sizes, has large armholes for shoulder comfort, and is very easy and quick to put on. With these new advances, the TheraSuit is very compatible for pediatric therapy. The Koscielny's are physical therapists and parents of a child with cerebral palsy. They originally brought the suit therapy techniques used in Poland to the United States. At First step our team of trained professionals exclusively feature the TheraSuit in our Intensive Suit Therapy Programs.
We at First step utilize various methods one of which is SUIT THERAPY (Soft Dynamic Proprioceptive Orthosis -TheraSuit™). The TheraSuit™ aligns the body as close to normal as possible re-establishing correct postural alignment and weight bearing which is crucial in normalizing muscle tone, sensory and vestibular function.
Suit - How It Works
The Suit serves as an external skeletal support for patients with neuromuscular disorders
(including Cerebral Palsy). It facilitates independence in the development of new gross and
fine motor skills like sitting, standing, and walking. When worn during and in conjunction with
physical and occupational therapy, the Suit can accelerate a child's progress