Intensive Suit Therapy
Gianna completed another suit therapy session in combination with hard chamber HBOT treatments in May 2009. We found the most benefits when we combined these therapies together. She does 2 intensive therapies a year.
The intensive therapy sessions built up Gianna's endurance, and she could now tolerate six hours of therapy per day. The intensive therapy sessions contributed to her improved upper body strength and helped in her swallowing and upper respiratory problems. In August 2008, Gianna was discharged from feeding therapy and could now safely swallow liquids at home.
Intensive therapy incorporates treatment methods that encourage proper alignment, dynamic proprioceptive input, and repetition of functional activities.
Intensive therapy sessions can be customized and can vary. A typical Intensive therapy session consists of four-six hours per day, 5 days per week for 3 weeks.
Programs include a combination of suit therapy. The suit helps position the child in better alignment, facilitates normal movement patterns and strengthens muscles. The suit frames the body providing support and resistance simultaneously. It improves proprioception and reduces undesired reflexes.
Universal exercise units (UEU) or “cages”. The UEU is a rigid metal cage with three walls and a top panel upon which pulley systems may be arranged to stretch and strengthen muscles. Following stretching, each joint is ranged through diagonal patterns similar to proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) patterns.
Gianna at home
The improvements we saw from HBOT gave us the courage to schedule an intensive suit therapy session. In 2007 we did our first intensive suit session at the NAPA Center for 6 weeks. We didn't know how Gianna would do since Gianna never did more than an hour of physical therapy. Gianna was always lethargic from having so many seizures a day. To our surprise, Gianna was able to tolerate the four hours of therapy. With such an improvement in a short period of time, we realized we had to continue at this pace in order not to lose all the progress she had made in little over one month's time.
Video of Gianna at the NAPA center
We purchased our own equipment (therapy cage and neurosuit) in order to start a maintenance home suit therapy program. We wanted Gianna to continue to stregthen her muscles between her intensive sessions. NAPA center worked with us on incorporating a home program. We also schedule a weekly "maintenance" therapy sessions to learn and make sure we need to change/adjust the home program.