Bobath Concept

Bobath Concept

  Autor NN Team Data: 14.05.2009

Bobath Concept
The Bobath concept was developed by Bertha Bobath, a German doctor who immigrated to USA with her Czech husband who was a neurologist and psychiatrist, in the 30's. In USA, Bertha Bobath specialized in neurological problems and opened a medical centre for children with spastic tetra paresis. 

At that time, it was considered that people affected by a neurological disease cannot recover completely, or cannot regain the abilities they have lost. In the best case, those persons were recommended to exercise the abilities that were left. In the worst case, the recovery wasn't even recommended, thinking that it would be just a waste of time. 

The revolutionary discoveries of Bertha Bobath showed that people affected by neurological lesions may improve their condition and regain the lost abilities at least partially. More than this, Dr. Bobath promoted the holistic approach, which stated that the organism functions as a whole, and that some abilities may be recovered although the corresponding part of the nervous system is not functioning correctly. 

These basic ideas of the Bobath concept are available today too:
  • People with neurological disorders can improve their locomotors abilities. 
  • The holistic approach is ideal. 
Bobath herself said in an interview that her technique is "a new way of approaching, observing, interpreting what the patient is doing to see and feel what is necessary and possible for them to achieve. We do not teach movements, we make them possible". 

Bobath technique might be helpful for people who have suffered strokes, with spastic tetra paresis, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, brain damages, balance disorders, marrow lesions, etc. 

The base of Bobath concept is the facilitation of movement by the physiotherapist. He shouldn't teach the patient how to do a movement, but to facilitate it. This thing is possible by elongating the short muscles, by mobilization of rigid joints, by reinforcing the weakened muscles. Or more simples by determining the instable parts and by mobilizing the rigid ones. 

A person with neurological disorders finds it difficult to learn new moves by herself or to enhance the existent ones without the help of a physiotherapist. The specialist offers him the occasion to exercise the moves in a safe environment. 

Through Bobath method, the physiotherapist teaches the patient how to move in a more efficient manner to preserve the energy, to reduce the degree of body "wear" and to reduce the pain he feels. 

The purpose is that the patient educates his mind and body to manage to move more easily, involving as many body parts as you can, using all the moves that he can already execute and trying to improve the locomotion abilities. 

If a body part cannot be used accordingly because it is rigid and painful, the physiotherapist will help you find a balance and will try to find a way to make all the body parts participate at the movement. 

A therapy session usually lasts for an hour. First, the patient must inform the specialist regarding his evolution since the last session and until now, and regarding the possible problems that occurred. Then, the physiotherapist touches the patient's body, looking for the rigid or weakened areas which cause movement problems. Depending on what he found, he will try to move a rigid joint, to elongate a rigid short muscle, to shorten a too long or weak muscle. Also, the specialist may help the patient to confide one leg who seems not to bear the weight, he may teach him to focus in order to use a leg at the right time to produce the exact necessary contraction for walking. 

The purpose of each session is to multiply the number of moves of the patient and to offer him the necessary confidence in his own body. 

Read the English version of this article: Bobath Concept