A technology from Space
In 1971, the Soviet space program developed the Penguin suit. This special suit was worn by the astronauts in space flights to neutralize the harmful effects of weightlessness and hypokinesis in the body. Bone density, altered integration of sensory responses, muscle atrophy, altered integration of motor responses, cardiovascular changes, fluid imbalances in the body. After long-term research, scientists and medical space specialists created a suit that made long trips a possibility.
This suit developed by the Soviets was the first step in modern suit therapy.”. However, this suit limited the astronauts’ movement and was difficult to put on. On the other hand, its dynamic orthotic design was a success. The fact that it could be worn for long periods of time was the basis of the intensive suit therapy.
The Adeli suit
Later, this suit therapy technology was shared with rehab professionals. They realized that the effects of weightlessness were very similar to the physical issues seen in patients with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Which lead to the creation of the Adeli suit for patients with CP.
The Adeli Suit was created in Poland in the mid 90s, and was used for the first time on children who had CP.
Created by the co-founder of Therapies 4 kids, the Pediasuit™ is the most modern version of a therapy suit available today. Therapies 4 Kids is an intensive therapy clinic located in South Florida created for his son Lucas who is hemiplegic and needed intensive therapies. After only one week of intensive therapy using the suit, Lucas began crawling. At the end of the third week, he began to walk.
After Lucas’ success, De Oliveira got to work with a group of therapists to develop his take on the Russian Penguin Suit. He worked alongside Luana Pedrozo, MSPT; Braz Paiva, PT; Justin Thomas, Physiologist and EMT to make it happen.
While creating, they noticed that the suit should be made using a lighter more breathable fabric that would be easy to put on and remove. Their idea was to make the suit as comfortable as possible for the patient all while being simple enough for therapists and parents to use.
The PediaSuit™ is manufactured in the United States with parts coming in from countries like India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The use of soft fabrics and breathable pads makes the suit more comfortable for patients, featuring shorts with buttons which make diaper changes in the suit a possibility.
Once the body is in proper alignment thanks to the suit, intensive therapy reteaches the brain to perform the right movement patterns and muscular activity. It’s important to note that the milestones reached with suit therapy treatment are retained long after sessions are over.
The exo-eskeleton produced by the suit increases the significant effects on the patient’s ability to perform new motor plans. With the ability to provide artificial formation and reinforcement of correct or appropriate movement patterns through the suit with repetitive exercises, patients learn new motor plans and increase their strength simultaneously. Its locomotor neurological component combined with strength training, makes the suit ideal for many neurogenic movement disorders, especially cerebral palsy.
To date, hundreds of special needs children and athletes in recovery from all over the world have benefited from the use of the Pediasuit™. There are many success stories out there that don’t only involve children learning to walk but mentions how much their lives improved over all.