Reflex Therapeutics Website

Overview of IMF Therapy®:

Movement Begins in the Brain

Problem definition

In Germany approximately 1.4 million patients are suffering from chronic cerebral palsy, as a result of an apoplectic stroke or Multiple Sclerosis.

Structural damage to the central nervous system (CNS) has interrupted the control and regulation mechanism of arbitrary motor activity, which causes muscle contractions and the loss of motor activity. Additionally, the patient suffers from impaired sensory ability and difficulty to concentrate and in most cases the patient’s ability to perceive and remember things, or plan ahead, suffers.

Damage to the CNS greatly impairs the patient’s quality of life and incurs high treatment costs.

Conventional rehabilitation methods teach the patient to abstain from individual activities in order to avoid establishing pathological patterns. Instead of arbitrary motor activities they learn how not to use the paralysed limb. This contradicts the aim of therapy and results in losing certain anatomical functions because they are no longer practiced.

Modern scientific results verify repeatedly that the law of ideomotor action, a term coined by William Carpenter in 1852, can also be applied to patients suffering from severe palsy. According to this, imagining a movement creates a strong urge to carry out this movement. This results in measurable action potentials in the paralysed muscles. IMF®-therapy is based on these results.

Whereas conventional rehabilitation methods declare that after two years a patient can no longer benefit from any further treatment, IMF®-therapy is not limited and achieves further improvement even after several years.

IMF Therapy® - Intention Myo-Feedback:

IMF Therapy® has been developed for patients with movement disabilities. The intention is that the patient practices independently at home. It is a learning method based on psychomotor activity, which uses the IMF Device to send impulses back to the muscle tissue.

These impulses have been produced in the patients` cortex due to their visualising movement. The IMF Device, which can pick up and respond to nerve impulses, is the tool that allows the patient to generate greater units of electricity over time. Gradually, function is regained and a total recovery is certainly possible.

The IMF Device:

The IMF Device is a technical medical device comprising a separate surface EMG, an EMG amplifier and two stimulation generators that operate separately and independently. The surface EMG provides information about the level of electrical impulses produced by the patient; the two stimulation channels deliver micro- voltages that produce the actual movement.

Parameter:

EMG sensitivity:                                  0-2000μV
Muscle stimulation:                             dual-channelled
Modified rectangular impulse:               200μs duration
Frequency:                                         25-100Hz
Duration of stimulation:                       1-12s

A useful analogy is that of a computer;

non-affected people access their memories from their primary hard drive and connection is good. People affected by nerve damage however, are left with a second or post path hard drive where the connection is not good and not all the data that was stored on their primary hard drive is accessible.

So this translates into a practical opportunity where people with nerve damage can become empowered and make definite improvements to their condition.

What you have to do and the IMF Device:

You must be prepared to work for at least ninety minutes per day, split into 30 minute therapy sessions. You are assisted in finding the best visualisations to work with, those which will best stimulate the nervous system.

You work mentally for the whole session and the IMF Device provides feedback to the muscles, and hence the brain, using electrical stimulation to two adjacent muscle groups.

Learning objective:

According to a clinically tested programme IMF-Therapy® guides the patient to the following learning objectives:

  • Inhibition of pathological patterns.
  • Increased control over motor activity in body, face and limbs.

The therapy utilises the following three psychological parameters of the learning process:

Motor activity learning

  • is an active process (visualising movement).
  • requires confirmation of success.
  • is an individual process (active practising).

Requirements for adaptation

  1. Motivation
  2. Support from a partner or carer
  3. The patient has to be able to visualise a movement in a paralysed limb
  4. Arbitrary EMG activities in the hypotone muscle can be monitored.

Method

The patient uses the device at home with the help of a partner. He/she will receive advice and care regarding this therapy from therapists with special training.
After the surface electrodes of the IMF Device have been placed on the skin, the patient has to imagine a deliberate movement carried out with the paralysed limb.

The IMF Devices' highly sensitive sensor technology picks up the minimal nerve impulses triggered by the imagined movement, amplifies them and sends them back to the muscle tissue as movement stimulation (feedback). The patient practises the same movement at home several times a day for a maximum of 30 minutes per session, until he/she can carry out the movement without the device. The more practice, the better the chances of success. The learning objective is met when the patient can carry out the movement unaided in everyday situations.

Mode of action

This method influences the following parameter: Motivation, concentration, tonicity, sensitivity, passive flexibility, function, pain, trophicity, by specifically training the ability to concentrate (focusing on the affected limb), motor activity (mentally focusing on the movement), and perception of movement (linking-up anticipation and feedback). Only in the last century could proof for the plasticity of the brain be found, which forms the basis for the rehabilitation of brain structures. Rehabilitation can be supported by specific learning methods aimed at improving arbitrary motor activity.

The patient learns to stop pathological patterns and to establish physiological movements.

Proven effects of mentally practicing motor activity (MT)

a)         MT was more effective for stroke patients than KG (PNF) (n=217). (GÜNTHER, W., 1980)
b1)       In some cases MT is more effective than active training.
b2)       MT greatly activates the central nervous system; it increases the blood circulation in the brain. (WEISS, T., 1995)

Proven effects of reafference

(Feedback based on own individual activity)
Reafference is the prerequisite for the development of sensor-motor coordination.
(HELD, Richard)

EC type examination

Device class II.a                                  CE-identification
Test report by TÜV Berlin-Brandenburg, 22.06.98:
"The clinical evaluation describes a method accepted by health insurance companies. Based on the device's parameters, the device is suitable for use in medical treatment. The risk assessment is conclusive and complies with the rules and standards. The accessories used also comply with rules and regulations concerning medical products".

Indication

Cerebral palsy to various degrees, with or without muscular contraction (for example after an apoplectic stroke, cranial injuries and brain lesions, brain lesions suffered in early childhood, incomplete paraplegia or Multiple Sclerosis).

Contraindications

Pacemakers; metal in the areas where electricity is applied, inflammation, thrombosis, patients with little or no motivation.