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ABR Fascia Body Gel

Dear Friends,

Maximizing the respiratory capacity of your child is one of the most important things you should be focusing on times of elevated risks.

By utilizing the ABR Fascia Body Gel, you will achieve better “velcro” connections skin to muscle, facilitating the flexibility and elasticity on the breathing mechanics (ribcage, diaphragm, shoulders, spine…)

ABR Fascia Body Gel is an important catalyst of your home program that helps you to achieve better and faster results in your child’s progress through home training by addressing both mechanical and thixotropic properties of extracellular matrix (ECM)/ Fascia at the same time!

Order your ABR Fascia Body Gel before June 30th to get a 31% discount and shipping included in America

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Cerebral palsy and Coronavirus. Why fresh air NOW is so important for Respiratory alertness.

Respiratory Alertness for Cerebral Palsy children !

This is banality and kind of obvious. But now a lot of parents are afraid to go out at all and self-isolate themselves with cerebral palsy kids into their apartments — that’s a BIG mistake!

Everyone knows that fresh air is very important for children with cerebral palsy. But when you are scared and there is quarantine – many parents tend to ‘play it safe’ and to keep cerebral palsy kids at home until ‘normal times’.

In fact, it’s the opposite — keeping the respiratory system alert and stimulated through exposure to fresh air, pressure, and temperature gradients — is most important now — at the times of higher risks.

Leonid Blyum

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Cerebral Palsy and Coronavirus. Wheelchair to and from- transfers are total-body exercise!

Keeping Cerebral Palsy kids fit during quarantine!

THE TRANSFERS TO- AND FROM- THE WHEELCHAIR ARE EXCELLENT TOTAL-BODY, GENERAL FITNESS EXERCISES FOR CEREBRAL PALSY CHILDREN!

Their entire body is involved, heart rate increases, respiratory effort rises, postural adjustment muscles react, etc.

In the ‘normal times’ your wheel-chaired child with cerebral palsy gets the transfers to- and from- the wheelchair quite often — probably, around 20 times/ day (going to school, at school, at home, at therapies, at outside walks, etc.)

But when you are quarantined at home due to coronavirus, you have very few incentives to do so.

Especially, when it feels like hard work for you.

Please prepare yourself well and try to do at least 10 full transfers/ day.

Doing 20 transfers is even better!

Keep up your child’s general fitness!

Leonid Blyum

 

 

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Coronavirus Confinement Response – An Open Letter to the ABR Families.

 Coronavirus Confinement Response – An Open Letter to the ABR Families.

The message to all of you Super Moms … (and some Super Dads as well…)

Quarantined at home? – Try turning confinement stress into opportunity:

Your chance to really meet your child – at close and personal scale.

Dear Friends,

Within 2 weeks the European, American and Australian world as we knew it – busy streets, plentiful services, open borders, easy travels, etc. – has collapsed. Hopefully, it’s a temporary shutdown and things will recover once the peak of the coronavirus pandemic is over.

All around Europe – Austria, Finland, Hungary, Spain, France, etc. — families are now confined to homes with very little opportunity to go out. America, Australia and many other countries are heading the same way. Schools, swimming pools, therapy centers are all closed for an indefinite period of time. That’s a big disruption and suddenly life might feel very strange.

Each and every family of children with cerebral palsy that I know has always been super busy – waking up early and finishing late, always having a feeling of not having enough hours in a day to complete all the activities scheduled. And now … everything stops… For the first few days, it might feel like a welcome relief – an unexpected break in a hamster wheel pace of life (if it wasn’t for the doomsday news that is on 24 hours). But then – it might get difficult to adjust. Humans are creatures of habit – it is very difficult for us to change our rhythms, so things could become stressful.

Depending on your family situation – there are two scenarios.

For some of you – the time stops. There is nowhere to go, and nothing to do outside – just being stuck at home with some domestic chores to do.

For some of you – it’s a commotion. Suddenly there are kids at home, who need to be home-schooled and entertained; there is a remote work to deliver; there is your significant other in the house into whom you suddenly bump every other minute instead of only seeing each other briefly in the evening. You need to cook and to wash and to clean etc. Understood!

But please, try not to jump from one hamster wheel to another! From the external life’s daily race to the internal rush, hassle, and urgency with even greater intensity.

Stop for a while! Relax – don’t try to be a super mom, an octopus, and a control freak at the same time. Let things go …

Figure out your priorities! The system’s strength is defined by its’ weakest link.

 

 

In the time of external health threat – your child with cerebral palsy has to become a number one priority. Everything else is temporary … If your kids will do so-so studies for 2-3 weeks at school – what’s the big deal? They will catch up when schools resume. This half-vacation will make no difference to their future.

On the opposite – if you stop being a perfectionist mom, and let some other things in the household loose – you might be surprised with the power of self-organization. The moment you let go on the control reins – you might as well face a lot less of the kids with “Mo-o-m?!” question and you might as well discover that your spouse is somehow capable of taking care of himself, without being instructed what to do. (By the way, if you are reading this and internally arguing – “I am not a perfectionist. Just look at my kitchen, my wardrobe, my kids…” – then you ARE the one! )

This sudden stoppage of external time and the reduction of your world into a much smaller physical space is a massive opportunity.

It is the opportunity for you to change your gaze direction and your zoom settings. You can slow down; you can switch off the external activities and you can zoom in closer on understanding your child’s natural intentions, rhythms, and creativities.

Stop the rush! Don’t try to replace the absence of external rush with winding yourself up internally, and applying your zoom to the signs of the previously ‘hidden’ household mess.

Please reduce your self-elected duties – cleaning, cooking, schooling, giving orders to yourself and to the others, etc.  Chill!

This quarantine and confinement is a once in a lifetime opportunity –try NOT to do what you always do, and what you have always been doing through your ‘Super Mom’ life – but please start teaching yourself the slow time for everything: sleeping, feeding, napping, doing nothing, etc.

You need this time to study your SPECIAL child, to become a closer and better friend to your this special person by observing the finer nuances of how your child feels, reacts, moves and adjusts in their postures, positions, transitions, activities, expressions, intentions, explorations and so on.

If you can do that, if you can slow your time down, if you can resist the urge to do all kinds of ‘home stuff’ – that’s a huge step, for which you deserve massive respect.

I know it is not easy… yet it is worth it!

You have the chance to peel off the external shell of expectations, schedules, instructions, tasks, etc. that the external professionals have been giving you ever since your son or daughter was born. You were on a roll and in a rush … but have you have really learned to feel and to observe your own child?? By just slowing down, and becoming a loving but impartial observer who is free from any expectations and judgments? By becoming a person who watches and listens, whilst trying to see and to hear – what your child’s body and expressions really have to say.  

But now, with your time slowed down and your physical space has shrunken –  you face yet another challenge – in order to be able not just to observe your child but also to absorb and to understand how she is responding and why he is making this specific muscle tone and movement choices – you need guidance.

 

Let me ask you a direct question – how many of you have re-watched your ABR assessment and techniques/ exercises videos after finishing your course?

Unfortunately, for most of you, it is a rhetorical question. You’ve been too busy doing things and too tired when not doing things to find the time to really dive into the learning treasure chest that ABR Assessment is.

I speak about this without false modesty – my assessments cover 30-40 topics at once, each of them illustrated and explained. How many of those have you really retained and understood in depth?

It’s your life and your child – you’d benefit immensely by really doing the over-learning and watching both the videos and the assessment photos several times. Most of you have the ability to watch the multiyear sequences and to compare. I do encourage you to do so – this is really the perfect time!

But watching and learning is just the first step. Because even bigger and more important step is to get your exercise program intensity scaled up.

You are at home – so this is a perfect opportunity! When we meet we always talk about the time deficit that you face and limited time available for ABR exercises. Well, now it is a great opportunity to get more… much more!

So this is my heartfelt request to you – try using this special time wisely.

Open your hands, eyes, and your senses to your child – free yourself from expectations, just try to feel what your child really wants, feels, prefers… What are their natural rhythms undisturbed by schools and other external turbulences?

And, of course, ABR exercise is a perfect win-win combination – you can explore and feel, and yet deliver and invest in your child’s health at the same time!

P.S. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the ways that ABR can help you with improving your child’s health defenses during the coronavirus health threat – please write to us: a special email address: coronavirusalert@abreurope.com

Wholeheartedly!

Leonid Blyum

ABR Founder and Principal Researcher

Locked in Southern Spain since March 16,

without being able to return home to Cyprus

for an indefinite period of time

 

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7 essential improvements at your fingertips through fascia strengthening techniques

Part 7

Experience true happiness and joy with your child with Cerebral Palsy!

All ABR children do significantly improve  motor functions… but ABR goal is to make them emerge at the same time as healthier, stronger, happier kids…which reflects  on  the entire family’s happiness.

Let me ask you a question:

What would bring happiness and joy to your child… and yourself?

Most parents spontaneously answer:   ‘If he/she could only walk!’, ‘If he/she could only talk!’

But, are you sure that this is what would really make your child happier?

As human beings, we have the tendency of seeing things through our own lens, through our reality…  which is not necessarily our child’s reality. 

Walking and talking is an essential part of our happiness and many parents are ready to do anything (and very often even overdo it…) in order to bring their child to THEIR reality… instead of respecting HIS/HERS! 

Too often, this immense desire to bring their child to what they consider ‘paradise’, turns out to be ‘hell’ for the child, as over-stimulation and constant insatisfaction with results, soon takes over all reason.

It is for this reason that it is so imperative to reconsider the whole rehabilitation approach and focus on the human aspect… more precisely towards the human ‘being’.

This implies that you stop looking at ‘how many meters’, ‘how many seconds’ your child is managing,  but rather look at the fundamentals:   What is your child’s repertoire? What is your child’s ability to express themselves? Develop their own personality? Explore the world?

You need to bring the whole situation closer to the human perspective rather than focusing ONLY on ‘what is wrong with the machine’,  constantly and avidly measuring how many meters, seconds, more…

Happiness and thriving intersect and connect with one another.

And this happens at 3 levels:

 

Level 1

Human contact, translating into unconditional love … independently of what he/she can or cannot do.

Level 2

Real thriving…  if your child is heavily struggling, facing metabolic challenges on a daily basis,  then it is very difficult for him/her and the family to genuinely experience happiness.   That’s where the concept of Vitality and vigor vs vulnerability and fragility discussed in Part 1 of this series comes into place and should be a priority over any desire for motor development.

This is THE central element.​​​​​​​

Level 3

Systematically and cleverly building the blocks which must precede performance: robustness, segmentation, weight-bearing response, autopilot positioning, etc…

And this implies a dramatic change of expectations!  It is not about ‘doing’ it at all cost… it is about developing the very fabric of ‘being’…which is also the very fabric of happiness.

Too many parents look at their child as the ‘broken machine that has to be repaired’.  ABR looks at them as unique individuals with their own character, sensitivity, awareness, thoughts,  love of life, dignity and works at making them ‘thrive and flourish’ as human beings through structural metamorphosis.

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7 essential improvements at your fingertips through fascia strengthening techniques

Part 6

Presence and Alertness

vs disconnection and grumpiness

We have the tendency to think that our child’s presence and alertness is innately linked to the signals coming from the brain.

If brain’s signals definitely play a role, shouldn’t we perhaps attribute all the responsibility of the child’s poor interaction with his surroundings?

If we simply look at the mechanical and metabolic elements listed above, we get a hint of a totally different interpretation of the child with CP and their poor presence and alertness.

 

You just need to picture your child’s daily reality:

  • Weakness in their upper body

​​​​​​​causes permanent or at least recurrent collapse of his/her head and trunk, depriving your child from important eye contact with his/her surroundings.

Guillaume Dulude, doctor in neuro-psychology explains that … ‘communication starts as soon as people enter into each other’s field of vision…’  For the child with CP, communication is then based more on hearing rather that sight, which completely changes his/her relation to the world.

  • Vulnerability and fragility

bring daily challenges.  Poor health, poor sleep, poor digestion all lead to constant fatigue and overexertion are factors that obviously do not favor social exchange with parents, siblings and friends.

  • Mono-bloc reactions

make your child’s life extremely challenging throughout the day. The smallest change to his/her position converts to being off balance and therefore they may potentially fall.

The child with CP profoundly mistrusts his/her body. He/she is in a constant situation of fear and stress leaving a very narrow window for interaction with you.

  • Excessive voluntary effort

forcing him/her to appeal to his/her skeletal muscles, connective tissues being too weak to help him/her fight against gravity.   Any request for performance translates into immense effort, overdrive and fatigue… contributing very little to positive interaction.

The child with CP, just through their structural and metabolic challenges, has VERY little room for presence with their surroundings and very little chance to satisfy their parents in terms of alertness.

On the other hand, a child with a robust neck and torso, full of vitality and vigor, benefiting from an extended repertoire of movement, thanks to an adequate segmentation, experiencing spontaneous and easy weight-bearing response, will unfailingly be more present, more aware and will interact better with their surroundings.

Presence and alertness necessitates first and foremost feeling well in one’s body!  Upper body robustness, vitality and vigor, balance and weight-bearing spontaneous response are improvements at  your reach through the ABR trans-fascial techniques … just imagine how these structural improvements could  change your child’s relationship with you!!!!

 

 

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7 essential improvements at your fingertips through fascia strengthening techniques

Part 5

Balance

vs Uncontrolled positionning

We have covered in the previous articles the necessity of strengthen fascia in order to ‘spontaneously and without effort

  • hold one’s head and torso
  • promote energy and vitality
  • create segmentation to move selectively
  • weight-bear

Let’s talk today about balance.

Normal sitting is the position where the child is capable of  maintaining equilibrium throughout an entire range of positions.  In such a situation, if pushed off balance, he/she is able to counterbalance, regaining their original position, rather than falling as a unified block.​​​​​​​

I invite you to try a few tests with your own child to understand what hinders him/her from developing balance.

While lying down on his/her back,

  1. Move his/her head from right to left

You will see that any attempt to move their head to the side causes the involvement of the shoulders in the movement.  This means that head does not move independently from the thorax.

In the sitting position

  1. Gently push your child with CP backwards,

you will see their legs will lift off the bench or the table.  This means that legs do not move independently from the pelvis.

In the same position,

  1.  Tilt him/her to the side,

you will see that their legs will move in the opposite direction.   This means that lumbar spine, pelvis and legs are all attached to one another.

While still seated and facing you,

  1.  Grab your child by the shoulders and gently twist their torso to one side and then rapidly let go…

you will see that he/she will rapidly ‘spring’ back into the initial position…showing poor division between the vertebrae translating into overall rigidity in the spine.

These are only a few restrictions depicting your child’s incapacity of adjusting to any external challenges to his/her initial position and are the manifestations of the weakness of the deep core tissues, also called fascia, and the necessity to proceed to their remodeling and strengthening before contemplating body control and equilibrium.

Training balance in these conditions is a utopian initiative.  

Only fascia strengthening can free your child from the mono-block condition in which he/she is imprisoned and allow the development of true balance.  

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7 essential improvements at your fingertips through fascia strengthening techniques

Part 4

How can your child hold himself spontaneously

vs

the excessive efforts he has to make today?

 

How many times do we see children with CP encouraged to lift their head off the ground when put on all fours, with the hopes of making a few attempts at crawling?

We see the child desperately pushing on his/her arms to try to lift off the ground, holding the position is a COLOSSAL effort for a few short seconds… to PITIFULLY collapse from absolute exhaustion.

Why is it so difficult?

 Healthy individuals don’t even think about weight-bearing, they simply weight-bear… it is an involuntary act that does not require any muscular effort. 

Why?

Because with weight-bearing, we unconsciously appeal to our compressional strength (inner hydraulic force) which is intimately linked to adequate fascial tone.  There is no effort involved in lifting our head or torso…while the child with CP, suffering from weakened fascial tone,  does not have sufficient hydraulic force and has no other recourse than appealing to his skeletal muscles to accomplish the same task.

The problem is that the skeletal muscles are 1) not designed to weight-bear and 2) are extremely expensive in terms of energy expenditure.

Biceps/triceps, for example, were not designed to weight-bear our body.  They were designed to provide our arms with the mechanical structure needed to allow for the movement of the arms (lift, lower, push, pull, etc.)

Appealing to skeletal muscles (like a child with CP does) demands a lot in terms  of energy consumption.  You just have to remember how quickly you get tired when lifting weights at the gym…

It is the same Olympic workout that is expected from your child with CP  when you ask him/her to lift their body off the ground by pushing on his/her arms or when you ask him/her to lift their head (as he/she has no other way than appealing to their neck muscles).

This explains the basic shortcomings of training at this level. ​​​​​​

This leads us to an essential question:

​​​​​​​What kind of training are you imposing on your child with CP?  Is it leading towards a ‘gain’ or a ‘drain’?  Is it leading towards ‘efficiency’ or ‘overdrive’?   Once you start understanding the human structure, you quickly realize how illusive training is, if you don’t improve the structure first!

Building a strong deep core structure by strengthening fascial tone is a essential prerequisite for developing effortless weight-bearing capacity.

 

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7 essential improvements at your fingertips through fascia strengthening techniques

Part 3

Multi-dimensional Repertoire of Gestures 

vs robotic mono-dimensional movements

When I ask parents about their expectations, they  generally say:

‘I would like my child be able to grab objects’ or ‘I would like to see my child able to crawl’, etc.

This over-simplification shows that they usually oversee the uniqueness of each piece of the big puzzle they are trying to put together. We will see here that any movement necessitates preliminary mechanical characteristics that must absolutely be present. 

 

Let’s do a few simple tests with your child:

Lay him/her down on a table.

  1. Put your hand under his/her head and lift it so that his/her chin touches the thorax.

Observe what happens.  The shoulders leave the ground?  Lifting the head coincides with lifting part of the thorax itself?  Fascia is weak and your child lost proper segmentation between the head and the thorax.

 

In the same position,

  1.  Grab one arm and cross it over to the other side of the thorax. 

The head (and in many cases, the rest of the torso) are involved in the movement as well? This means that fascia is weak and your child lost proper segmentation (division) between the arms and the thorax.

 

Still laying down on the back,

  1.  Grab one leg at the ankle level and lift it 90 degrees without bending the knee.

The other leg and even the pelvis leaves the ground?  This means, in turn, that fascias is weak and your child lost proper segmentation between the legs, the pelvis and the lumber spine.

​​​​​​​

In other words, your child is moving as one block. 

Training him/her to move without first creating proper segmentation between the head and the shoulder girdle (1); between the arms and the torso (2) and between the legs and pelvis (3) is, at the very least, very limited and leads to what  is called, ‘robotic  mono-dimensional movements’.

In healthy individuals, yourself for example, you will observe that your head is segmented from your torso (which allows you to turn the head selectively), your thoracic cavity is segmented from your abdominal cavity (which allows you to turn to the side without moving the pelvis), your legs move independently from each other and from your pelvis(which allows you to walk with balance).

You benefit of what is called multi-dimensional repertoire of gestures. 

Fortunately, these segmentations are achievable through the  strengthening the connective tissues (fascia)  with easy to learn techniques called ‘trans-fascial visco-elastic stimulation’.

With time, the child shows movements which are more selective, fluid and controlled.  Training then makes more sense as the child with CP is not imprisoned in a mono-block structure anymore.

 

Next time, I will speak about Spontaneous Weight-bearing vs excessive voluntary effort.

 

See you soon!

 

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7 essentials improvements at your fingertips through fascia strengthening techniques​​​​​​​

Part 2

Vigor and vitality

 vs vulnerability and fragility

Two dayss ago we discussed the concepts of Robustness ​​​​​​​(vs Neck and Trunk weakness),

Today, I would like to discuss another essential concept in which the development of your child’s motor skills depend: Vitality and Vigor

Does your child have the energy and vigor to accomplish all the demands that are placed on him/her throughout the day?
‘Hold your head up!’ ‘Straighten up!’ ‘Put one leg in front of the other!’ ‘Watch this video!’ ‘Crawl!’  ‘Go to school!’  ‘Do this… and do that…’ ‘Common, you can do it!’

Let’s have a closer look…

Where do healthy children get their energy resources from?

Good food absorption, digestion, hydration, respiration and sleep… these are the main fuel sources that allow them to respond to physical, intellectual and metabolic energy demands day after day. Once they have used up their energy throughout the day, when they go to bed, there is always a ‘surplus’ of energy left that allows them to grow and remodel throughout the night.  Their battery is never totally dead.

What about a child with cerebral palsy?

Food absorption is poorer, hydration is not ideal, respiration is far from optimal and sleep is rarely restorative.

As a result, the child with CP cannot benefit from the same energy resources as his/her peers or siblings. Actually, these deficiencies take a heavy toll on your child’s overall energy and as a result, your child uses at least three times more energy as their peers, to carry out any activity, be it metabolic, intellectual or physical.

3 times more energy!!! Can you appreciate how significant this is?

This means they use 3 times as much energy to breathe, digest, move around and even just to stay seated in their wheelchair!

If commuting to school is a one-hour journey, this corresponds to 3 hours of fatigue for your child with cerebral palsy… just on the way to school!!!  The round-trip to school and back creates 6 hours of fatigue every day, just to go to school and stimulation is not even accounted for yet. Would you personally be willing to face the fatigue that comes with commuting 6 hours a day to go to work?  Five days a week?

As a result, a child with CP is usually exhausted, out of any ‘surplus’ that would allow him/her the ability to thrive and flourish as any other child.

Stimulation at all cost is not the answer! 

It has to be intelligently and strategically planned and applied. Otherwise, you override your child that already has to deal with
metabolic, physical and sensory challenges.

Reinforcing fascia(connective tissues which surround and inter-penetrate all internal organs) improves metabolic functions automatically and spontaneously.

Your child starts breathing better, digesting better and sleeping better. Consequently, their energy level is tripled and interactions with their surroundings therefore improve.

This should be your first objective, regardless of the rehabilitation approach you choose to follow.

Just experiment 2 small changes in your child’s life:

1.  Increase relaxation time. Encourage moments of rest, away from noise and confusion; introduce soft music sessions.

2.  Double their water intake

With just these two small changes, your child will already feel a difference, be more relaxed and open to his/her environment and to you!

Next time, I will talk about another essential developmental virtue you can develop with your child:

Multi-dimensional repertoire of movement vs robotic mono-dimensional movement
​​​​​​​or more simply, the importance of creating independent movement of the head, arms and legs from the torso to expand their repertoire of movement.

Don’t miss it!

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