Can yoga and bodywork help my child's cerebral palsy?

Yoga and bodywork provide significant benefits for children with cerebral palsy. Both forms of therapeutic exercise can help improve muscle tone, flexibility, strength, coordination, and more.

Therapy for Cerebral Palsy: Bodywork

Many people with cerebral palsy choose to supplement traditional forms of therapy with bodywork. Some popular forms of bodywork include the following:

  • Rolfing: Rolfing works to manipulate the fascia and soft tissue in order to improve bodily alignment. It is also known as Structural Integration.
  • The Alexander Method: This method trains the body to work more efficiently.
  • Reflexology: A form of massage.

According to Ruth Werner, author of A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, “As long as sensation is intact and the patient is able to communicate with the therapist in some way, massage is appropriate and potentially very useful for persons with CP, as they work to maintain muscular elasticity and improve motor skills.”

Dr. Kalyani Premkumar is an advocate for the use of massage in caring for children with cerebral palsy. She points out that the goal of health team therapists is to support the child, given that there is no cure for CP. Their job is to find ways to reduce stress and spasticity, prevent contractures, improve posture, and improve circulation to the skin and muscles that are not being used. She writes, “Since any form of stress increases the symptoms, a relaxing massage helps reduce the spasms and involuntary movements. Passive movements and range-of-motion exercises of joints prevent contractures of muscles.”

Dr. Premkumar points out that it is important to keep detailed notes on cerebral palsy clients “as their spasticity and postural changes can vary from day to day. Keep a meticulous record of physical disability, massage strokes used and duration of treatment for every individual treated, in order to help them maximally.”

Therapy for Cerebral Palsy: Adaptive Yoga

There are many adaptive yoga centers around the world designed specifically for children with special needs. Through their exercise and meditation regimens, they claim success in alleviating some of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. The benefits of yoga may include the following:

  • Enhancing the natural development of the child through a series of gentle and therapeutic exercises;
  • Increasing body awareness, flexibility, and strength;
  • Reducing hyperactivity and improving concentration by using unique breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.

Detroit, Michigan Cerebral Palsy Lawyers Representing Victims of Birth Injury from Medical Malpractice

If your loved one has cerebral palsy as the result of an instance of medical malpractice and now requires special care, therapy, treatment, or lifestyle adjustments, we encourage you to reach out to our legal team. The cerebral palsy attorneys at Reiter & Walsh, PC have over 50 years of joint experience handling cases specifically related to complex birth injury cases. Jesse Reiter, Rebecca Walsh, and the rest of our birth injury legal team has secured millions of dollars for families who are now able to afford resources such as yoga and bodywork.

For a free case review with our Detroit, Michigan cerebral palsy lawyers, please contact Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers in any one of the following ways:

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