TheraSuits and Cerebral Palsy

TheraSuits and Cerebral Palsy

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The TheraSuit can be worn while walking using parallel bars.

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Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects the muscles. Although it affects a person's mobility throughout life, it is particularly difficult for people with cerebral palsy to learn to walk and move because of the excessive muscle tightness that is common with this disorder. The TheraSuit was designed to treat this tightness and maintain proper posture to improve a person's ability to move.


The TheraSuit was designed by Richard and Izabela Koscielny, physical therapists and parents of a daughter with cerebral palsy. The concept of the TheraSuit originated from the spacesuits worn by astronauts to prevent muscle loss in space due to lack of gravity. Before the TheraSuit was designed in 2002, these space suits were used in the early 1990s for children with neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy.

Design and Purpose

The TheraSuit consists of a cap, vest, shorts, knee pads, and shoe and arm attachments. These components are attached to each other by elastic cables with adjustable resistance. TheraSuits come in a variety of sizes for children and adults.

The TheraSuit serves several purposes: to improve alignment of the body and correct posture, provide resistance for muscle strengthening and improve a person's ability to move around in their environment. The suit applies compression to multiple areas of the body to send sensory messages to the brain, improving body awareness and coordination.


The are many user-reported potential benefits of the TheraSuit. Early on, the cables can be tightened to support weak muscles to allow a person to move. This places the body in proper alignment and reduces strain on muscles that are overworked to compensate for weak muscles. The suit improves balance by reducing excessive muscle tightness. Through repetition, the TheraSuit retrains the brain to recognize normal movement patterns in the body. Despite these claims, research evidence for this treatment is lacking.

TheraSuit Method

Occupational and physical therapists use the TheraSuit i as a therapy tool. The TheraSuit Method is an intensive therapy program designed to improve movement in people with cerebral palsy. Sessions often last 3 hours per day, 5 days per week for 3 weeks. The suit is used in conjunction with other treatments, such as stretching, gait training, balance activities and strengthening exercises. Activities are also performed in a "spider cage" -- an apparatus with cables that run from its structure to the person's suit.