One of the things I love about ABR Therapy is that it is a way of the people. It is a set of skills, that essentially anyone can learn, to undertake the art of healing. Obviously if you’re employing someone to work on you, as I do, then you find someone who is naturally good at this sort of work, but with enough time and effort most people can develop a competent level of skill. Therapy work is not the sort of thing I’m natural at, but out of necessity I have developed a feel for the art and achieved a high degree of skill. Understanding the theory behind the therapy is another matter. The therapy is based on an in depth knowledge of the bio-mechanics of the human body. It is a fascinating subject, but luckily for most people such knowledge is not necessary provided you are happy to be guided by those in the know.
ABR has grown from the work of its founder, Leonid Blyum, to be a worldwide movement with centres and groups in many countries around the world. Not only are the skills taught, but also exercises prescribed specific to clients’ conditions and stages of rehabilitation. Healing is achieved by delivering repetitive mechanical inputs into the body’s system. The inputs are delivered by hand, but we do use equipment to enable us to magnify the inputs and target specific areas.
The therapy has evolved over the years as Leonid Blyum has made new discoveries and developed new techniques. To start with we used layers of towels to create an air cushion, or a pneumatic lens, through which to deliver the mechanical input into the body. Then came the use of pilates balls, then gel eggs and cylinders (designed for hand exercises), then weighted balls and flexbars and various pieces of foam mats. None of these balls and eggs and bars are being used in the manner they were intended for. Instead we employ the elastic properties in the polymers and only certain products have the right polymer properties.
The photo shows a selection of my equipment, most of which I have to take to Belgium with me this weekend as I go there twice a year for assessment and training. It is simply impractical for the centre to stock all the equipment that everyone uses and so we all take our own. We use a lot of the heavy weighted balls these days which is quite a weight to travel with when you’re going by train; too heavy to carry in a bag. Last time we had a little trolley to strap the bag to but it wasn’t really up to the job so this time I made my own trolley designed for purpose.
All the metal I found in my workshop, together with pop rivets and various nuts and bolts, but I did have to buy two axle bolts and rubber catch for the lid. That came to £6.38 so I thought I was doing well. The wheels were off an old pushchair and when I came to pump up the tyres one of them unfortunately burst. I did have a spare, but was a little concerned about the condition of them and so bought two new tyres and inner tubes at a cost of £20. The trolley even has a telescopic handle, that was made from an old pair of garden loppers, and a spare wheel. I thought of cleaning up the panels which were made out of old aluminium trays I flattened out, but decided it was too big a job and so opted for the scrapheap challenge look.
In case you’re wondering I’m not towing it behind my wheelchair. My therapist is coming with me and that’s his job. I’m just trying to make it as easy as possible for him. I’m confident it will prove a success.