Techniques Used in Pediatric PT

What are Pediatric Physical Therapists Responsible for?

Our Pediatric Physical Therapists evaluate and determine your child’s specific needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, which includes specific goals, activities, home support activities, and techniques they feel will be most beneficial. No child is the same; therefore, no treatment plan is the same.

Pediatric Physical Therapy Techniques used at The Therapy Tree

The type of methods used as well as the length of time services take is dependent on varying factors. Issues such as what problems need to be addressed, how willing your child is to work during sessions and what their desired goals are if they are old enough to help determine them, the strength and available help of you and your child’s support system, and the level of difficulty that needs to be overcome play a role. Sometimes sessions are set on a weekly basis, taking learning new skills and activities gradually and at a steady pace. Other times sessions can be more or less frequent based on your child’s particular needs at the time.

The use of different techniques, both traditional and complimentary, along with collaboration across multiple specialties including speech language pathology, occupational therapy, oral-motor feeding therapy, or counseling services available at The Therapy Tree, provides children with the best possible tools for increasing mobility, independence, confidence, and overall life skills.

Craniosacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger, following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics. CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the craniosacral system, comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

With the rise and fall of CSF pressure, a rhythmic motion is created within the craniosacral system. With gentle and sensitive touch, the a craniosacral trained therapist can feel the movement of the entire craniosacral system by locating critical points on the skull, and the base of the spine and tailbone. Any restrictive or unstable movement of the cerebrospinal fluid can lead to pain, dysfunction with vision, hearing, brain function, and poor health.

With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

The purpose of this technique is to enhance the overall functioning of systems in the body and can make long lasting changes. Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system.

Craniosacral Therapy is most effective on newborns and infants because of the rapid changes and corrections that can be made and introduced. While in cases of special needs due to developmental disorders or delays, it is most beneficial in the early stages of life, CST has also proven to be successful in children who have suffered from concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

Additional training allows our therapists to include Craniosacral Therapy in their treatment modalities to help alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

Exercise & Strengthening Therapy

Techniques to improve: functional gross motor skills, gross motor balance skills, gross motor / motor planning skills, and body awareness

Feldenkrais Method®

The Feldenkrais Method® is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to move, think, and feel. Whether you want to be more comfortable sitting at your computer, playing with your children and grandchildren, or performing a favorite pastime, these gentle lessons can improve your overall well-being.

Feldenkrais Method Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier. Because the Feldenkrais Method® focuses on the relationship between movement and thought, increased mental awareness and creativity accompany physical improvements. Everyone, from athletes and artists to administrators and attorneys, can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method®.

Feldenkrais Method After experiencing Feldenkrais® lessons, people often express feelings of relaxation and ease. They may breathe more freely and find their thoughts have more clarity. The learning process is full of pleasant surprises and personal breakthroughs.

Feldenkrais Method Feldenkrais lessons teach you the means to take charge of your own improvement and are offered in two ways, enabling you to discover which learning style is most appropriate for your needs.

In Awareness Through Movement® lessons, the teacher verbally guides you through a sequence of gentle movements intended to help you develop a greater awareness of how you move. These lessons occur in a group setting.

Functional Integration® lessons are designed to meet your personal needs. Communicating through touch and movement in addition to words, the teacher guides you in your one-on-one process of self-discovery.

Regardless of which learning style you choose, the Feldenkrais Method® can help you overcome limitations brought on by stress, misuse, accident, or illness.

Feldenkrais Method All Feldenkrais® Photosgraphs © 2007 Rosalie O’Connor Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America.

Kinesio Taping Method

Developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase, kinesio-taping is used to treat a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, and neurological disorders. The tape was created to have nearly the same physical characteristics as human skin. Because of the skin-like material, unlike other taping methods, kinesio-taping helps the body heal in the most natural and least restrictive manner.

Lymph Drainage

Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release therapy is a gentle method used to locate trigger points and help loosen muscles that have limited motion and cause pain in other areas of the body.

Myofascial tissues are strong tissues that surround, connect, and support muscles throughout the body. They have the ability to shorten and relax similar to the muscles they support, and play a large role in stability and range of motion of joints. A physical therapist with specialized training in myofascial release treatment, locates points of muscle tightness and pain and uses gentle pressure to help improve range muscle strength and relaxation, increase range of motion, and decrease pain over time.

Myofascial release therapy is also often used by occupational therapists, chiropractors, speech language pathologists, massage therapists, and osteopathic physicians as well. It is especially helpful for those who suffer from migraines, back, hip, jaw, or shoulder pain, and any conditions that cause ongoing pain, or decreased movement or flexibility.

Neuro-Developmental Therapy (NDT)

Sensory Processing Therapy


Zero Balancing

The Zero Balancing technique was developed by Fritz Smith, MD in the early 1970s. Zero Balancing is a powerful body-mind therapy that uses skilled touch to address the relationship between energy and structures of the body.

“Zero Balancing helps direct a person to wholeness.” – Fritz Frederick Smith, MD

Following a protocol that typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes, the practitioner uses finger pressure and gentle traction on areas of tension in the bones, joints and soft tissue to create fulcrums, or points of balance, around which the body can relax and reorganize. Zero Balancing offers many powerful benefits to people of all ages. It has the ability to increase feelings of health and well-being, releases stress and improve the flow of energy in our bodies, reduce pain and discomfort, enhances stability, balance and freedom, amplifies the sense of connection, peace and happiness, releases mental, emotional and physical tension, supports us through transitions and transformations, and can improves overall quality of life and increases capacity for enjoyment.

Zero Balancing focuses primarily on key joints of our skeleton that conduct and balance forces of gravity, posture and movement. By addressing the deepest and densest tissues of the body along with soft tissue and energy fields, Zero Balancing helps to clear blocks in the body’s energy flow, amplify vitality and contribute to better postural alignment. A Zero Balancing session leaves you with a wonderful feeling of inner harmony and organization.

The use of different techniques, both traditional and complimentary, along with collaboration across multiple specialties including speech language pathology, occupational therapy, oral-motor feeding therapy, or counseling services available at The Therapy Tree, provides children the best possible outcome for increasing mobility, independence, confidence, and overall life skills.

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