Reflex locomotion, or Vojta Therapy, was developed by the Czech Pediatric Neurologist, Prof. Vojta in the early 1950′s. Reflex locomotion is highly specialized type of physical therapy which was designed primarily to enhance motor development of a child and treat severe neurological diseases like Cerebral palsy.
Since then, reflex locomotion has been systematically developed further and has become a broader base of neurophysiologic principles which have acquired wide application in the therapeutic field. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) Therapy, according to Kolar is based on neurophysiological principles of reflex locomotion.
Due to the neurological and physiological foundation of Vojta principles, the DNS approach can be applied with equal effectiveness to all age groups. Children with motor delays or scoliosis to adults and geriatric patients suffering from Acute and Chronic Back Pain, herniated disc or trauma can all benefit from reflex locomotion and DNS therapy.
Reflex locomotion was developed in an empirical manner. Professor Vojta observed motor reactions occurring throughout the body when gentle pressure was placed in the same points that a child learning to crawl and walk uses to stabilize himself. He established that this provoked a “global” dynamic muscle activity that can be found in all forms of human locomotion and represent the basis for human movement.
The “global pattern” refers to the motor responses that arise during the application of stimulation of these points. Not only are skeletal and muscle patterns activated, but muscles involved in facial expression, eye movements, the swallowing process, bladder and bowel function, and breathing are also activated. This flow of authentic motor reactions is provoked by graded pressure applied on certain body parts which are called “stimulation zones”, with the patient placed in these specific positions. These positions are part of human movement processes such as grasping, rolling, creeping, crawling, and walking. Global patterns form the basis of the motor rehabilitation of babies, children, adolescents, and adults.
The therapeutic goals of reflex locomotion are to facilitate the automatic control of the body’s position and to facilitate the active maintenance of the support function of the extremities, and to stimulate coordinated muscle activity. These skills are disturbed in every central or peripheral lesion of the nervous systems or impairment of the movement apparatus.
For more information, visit The International Vojta Society (German Only).