Quackery exposed: intensive suit therapy

An experimental therapy, intensive suit therapy provides a child with proper posture, muscle tone and patterns of movement impaired by disability.  It's considered experimental because there is very little independent data on it. There is inadequate evidence of its effectiveness. There are published anecdotal accounts. The FDA considers it a class one limb orthosis brace. The suit is exempt from the premarket notification procedures of the FDA and the manufacturer does not require to provide evidence prior to marketing.

There were a few studies done. The results are not available in peer-reviewed publications as now. There was a study by Dr. Alexander Frank and associates at the Motion Analysis Laboratory, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel. It reported the results of 24 children who have CP and a functional level of II, III or IV according to the gross motor function classification system. Patients were randomly assigned to either a standard physical therapy program or a suit. Both groups were treated for 5 days per week for 2 hours. Marginal improvement was noted in both groups without any statistical difference between the two groups.

It's a complex intervention made of an orthotic suit that has stragtegically-placed bungee cords adjusted in a manner to affect typical flexor and extensor muscle groups. The entire suit acts as a soft exoskeleton that corrects abnormal muscle tone and retrains a person's brain to recognize correct muscle movements. Most children will not be able to tolerate the suit.

The suits are called the Adeli Suit, Neuro Suit, the Polish Suit, and TheraSuit. The concept of all the suits is consistent. The suit brings to bear pressure based proprioceptive input that directly impacts the vestibular system, and it does so in a way that can be modified to strengthen areas of a child's body.

Therapy Promises

  • Restoration of physical mobility
  • provide proper posture
  • restore muscle tone
  • restore patterns of movement 
According to suit therapy professionals, this complex intervention makes use of the orthotic suit made up of a hat, vest, knee pads and specifically designed shoes that are worn by children and adults in a therapeutic setting. There are multiple adjustable rings and elastic bands in the suit that can be adjusted to provide pressure and support the muscle groups and joints affected by Ceberal palsy. 

Practitioners claim that pairing this therapy with an extensive exercise regiment, wearing the suit helps eliminate pathological reflexes many people with cerebral palsy experience daily. 

Suit Therapy claims to reduce:

  • spasticity
  • athetosis
  • hypertonia
  • ataxia
  • sensory integration challenges 

Oxford Recovery Center Recommends it

The Oxford Recovery Center, a known quack clinic, recommends this therapy. They claim that it is registered with the FDA but because of the device, it is exempt from FDA regulations of providing evidence of effectiveness. They pair it with a daily intensive exercise program. The therapy sessions are three hours long. 

They claim that the approach trains the patient to use muscles correctly, instead of compensating for muscle groups that are not functioning therapy. 

sources:

Comments