CI Therapy, also known as Constraint-Induced Therapy or Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy, is an innovative, research supported treatment intervention consisting of families of rehabilitation techniques that assist individuals in increasing functional use of a hemiplegic arm. This therapy has been researched for over 25 years with excellent results. CI Therapy is considered to be the most effective intervention for the hemiplegic extremity.
Dr. Edward Taub, the founder of CI Therapy, discovered that by restraining the stronger arm and intensely training the weaker arm, the brain begins to rewire itself to improve the overall functional use of the weaker arm. Essentially, the CI Therapy program is a boot camp for the client’s affected arm and a vacation for the unaffected arm.
This method is different from traditional therapy in that the patient’s less affected arm is restrained for 90% of the patient’s waking hours, resulting in a highly concentrated program to re-train the affected arm. During traditional treatment approaches, therapists may see the patient for only 1 to 5 hours a week due to limitations of insurance coverage, and a client may have only 10 to 20 visits per year. In CI Therapy, the therapist is with the client for 3 hours a day for 2 to 3 weeks, optimizing opportunities for neuroplastic changes in the brain.
The program is designed to help people who have at least some movement in the affected arm and hand. In addition, the candidate must have the cognitive ability to follow commands. The client must also be medically stable and have the endurance to engage in this program. Due to the intensity of this program, insurance companies seldom provide reimbursement; therefore, this program is rarely offered in typical outpatient clinics.
CI Therapy has been shown to improve arm and hand function resulting from neurological damage and is suitable for a variety of conditions such as stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury. CI Therapy is effective regardless of how long ago the injury occurred.
The occupational therapists administering CI Therapy at The Neuro Hub were trained in the original treatment protocol by Dr. Taub himself, his highly skilled research clinicians and professors of the University of Alabama.