The third key element of the First Step Therapy Method is NEURO-RESPIRATORY THERAPY (NRT), which is a unique, predictable, restorative therapy for children and adults with brain injury or brain abnormality. NRT develops the pattern of respiration and recovery mechanism of breathing by addressing deep core weaknesses within the biomechanics of the respiratory system which affects structure, metabolism, motor and cognitive function. NRT uses gentle, rhythmical pressure to strengthen the weak tissue structures of the diaphragm and other respiratory muscles. This approach actively imitates changes in internal air pressures that come from normal breathing. Tissue blood-supply increases in weak muscles, allowing them to become electrically active and under voluntary control.
What does it do? – Neuro Respiratory Therapy reveals and treats the often hidden but complex weaknesses and deformities of the trunk caused by poor respiratory mechanics which may be the real cause behind limb abnormalities and the broad range of symptoms associated with brain injuries or brain abnormalities. NRT improves blood flow through the internal organs and enhances general metabolism.
Scientific Research Explanation of NRT – Respiratory development is fundamental to the development of structure, function and general cerebral metabolism in normal patients. Breakdown or failure of the normal development of the respiratory system occurs after brain injury and in cases of neurological abnormality. Weak inflexible breathing creates further tissue weaknesses within the musculo-skeletal system. This leads to a reduction in neurological connection between the weak tissue and the brain apart from basic reflexive breathing. It is widely recognised and understood that breathing is a learnt and widely varied behaviour in individuals.
Children with neurological abnormalities do not learn to breathe normally and this affects the complex metabolic feedback systems between the body tissues, the respiratory system and the brain. Breathing supports both the general and cerebral metabolism and the postural systems of the body via separate but integrated systems. Restoring the strength and flexibility of the respiratory system permits the restoration of structure and the restoration of motor and cognitive abilities.
Step-by-Step restorative results of NRT:
It restores the diaphragm and upper respiratory mechanics
It restores volume to the chest and abdomen
It relaxes abnormally strong muscles
It strengthens abnormally weak muscles
It restores the shape and form of the pelvis and shoulder girdle so that the proportions become increasingly more normal, allowing a gradual recovery of limb activity
It restores strength to the trachea, larynx and pharynx, restoring biomechanics of speech and swallowing
It steadily restores cerebral and general metabolism
It creates the foundation for normal function which develops steadily as a result of increasing hours of therapy
It restores increasingly better blood flow within and nutrition to the brain.
It creates increasingly normal structures leading to increasingly normal abilities and THE RESULTS ARE PERMANENT
Advantages of NRT:
A steady normalisation of respiration, growth and structure, including:
Co-ordination, posture, balance and motor development, on to walking, swallowing, digestion and elimination
Speech mechanics (including the structure of the trachea, pharynx and larynx), leading to clear speech
A seizure-free cerebral metabolism
Improved cognitive abilities
Increased emotional maturity
How is NRT progress predicted?
Structural changes steadily produce spontaneous function with hours of home exercise:
By 200 hours NRT exercise prescription – abnormal structure begins to reverse. Small changes in function are noticed.
By 500 hours NRT exercise prescription – structure and function beginning to alter more obviously.
By 1000 hours NRT exercise prescription and beyond substantial permanent and continuous changes in structure & function. NRT prescription