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The Scotson Technique - What is it?
From treatment results of a large number of children from all parts
of the world who have been coming to us since we opened in September
2002, the Scotson Technique is emerging as a unique, predictable,
deeply restorative rehabilitation therapy for children and young
adults with brain injury. The technique aims to provide a restorative
pattern of developmental improvement by addressing core weaknesses
within the muscular tissues of the respiratory system which affect
trunkal structure, metabolism and motor and cognitive function.
What can be treated?
A broad spectrum of disabilities caused by brain damage
or brain abnormalities in which poor respiration can be consistently
identified as an underlying pathology; for example: cerebral palsy;
microcephaly; floppiness; development delay; learning disability;
autism; vaccine damage; epilepsy; dyspraxia; head injury; stroke
also treat spinal injury.
Where is it?
centre, The Institute for Advanced Neuromotor Rehabilitation is
situated in a quiet courtyard off the A22, close to the train station,
shops, leisure centre and guest houses, in the pretty Sussex town
of East Grinstead.
What does it do?
The Scotson Technique first seeks to reveal and address
the frequently ignored but complex weaknesses of the thoracic and
abdominal respiratory muscles that are a hidden cause of structural
and functional abnormalities and the broad range of symptoms associated
with brain injuries.
treating the respiratory system in close connection with other muscle
groups its aims are:
improve blood supply, nutrition and nervous response to under-developed
muscles and to the connective tissues between the bones.
improve the electrical connection between the brain and the
muscular skeletal system.
reduce spinal compaction and improve blood supply to the nerve
connections from the spine to the respiratory muscles and the
improve the body’s general and cerebral metabolism.
steadily create better and more normal structure and more normal
movement and understanding.
What happens at Advance?
Advance is a teaching Institute for parents. Families attend
together with their children. Parents become students learning all
the essential practices to continue the restorative work with their
children at home for an approximate 2 hours per day, 6 days a week.
Five, 5-day return visits are made in the first year and 4 in the
following year, after which the frequency and duration of return
visits become more individual.
atmosphere is warm, friendly and dedicated to ensure the teaching
How is progress predicted?
By photographic and video comparison of your child’s
structure and function with the stages of structural and functional
change created by normal respiratory development.
extensive structural measurement by which each child’s structure
is compared both with its own previous assessment and with normal
trunkal growth patterns.
By computerised measurement of abdominal and thoracic breathing
patterns which are compared both with normal values and with each
child’s previous assessment.
By 3 dimensional computerised spinal probe measurements looking
at the dimensions of the spine and its relation to the shoulder
and pelvis girdles and comparing these both with normal values and
to each child’s previous assessments.
Why does The Scotson Technique show step-by-step restorative
Every cell in the body is dependent upon oxygen delivery
by the blood for its health and function. Cells make up tissue and
tissue makes up organs, including the muscles and brain. The technique
copies the effects of respiratory pressures against the tiny sphincter
muscles that “pulse” blood flow into the smallest blood
vessels in the microcirculation.
The technique pays careful attention to the metabolic balance between
the individual child’s developing respiratory capacities and
the increasing demands made on his or her respiratory system as
muscular and connective tissues improve in strength and responsiveness.
The Technique is based on a coherent explanation of the far reaching
central role respiration plays in human development and the evidence
for the extensive but often subtle reduction in respiratory strength
and responsiveness after brain injury.
Why is the technique different?
The technique is directed towards building a predictable,
steady and permanent restoration of increasing levels of normal
The focus is first upon weakness in the respiratory system which
is viewed as a serious barrier to the brain’s restorative
Respiratory development is seen as crucially underpinning the development
of trunkal structure, posture, movement, speech, vision, digestion,
understanding and general health and the neurological capacities
on which these all depend.
Over time the results aim to provide the necessary enhanced foundation
for the child’s more normal future development.
What about the brain damage?
The brain has tremendous potential to overcome brain injury.
to do so the brain must be able to receive a clear electrical
picture from the body tissues involved in day to day activities
such as movement, vision, speech. This electrical picture has
been found to depend on blood flow more specifically the movement
of red blood cells and the tansport of minerals across the cell
membrane which makes each cell into a little battery.
the blood flow to a muscle is too low the brain has no electrical
picture and so no knowledge where to send a signal.
increasing blood flow through the micro circulation the Scotson
Technique seeks to gradually restore the electrical activity
of weak, immature muscles and connective tissues so that the
brain can gain and begin to react to an enhanced electrical
picture of the child’s muscular skeletal system.
blood flow must be able to shift quickly about the brain to
meet the varying metabolic demands of sensory motor and cognitive
activity. The results of the technique suggests that it allows
the brain to respond more quickly to these varying metabolic
What about sleep?
poor and unresponsive respiratory system is unable to adapt normally
to the stages of sleep.
It is particularly difficult for the respiratory system to adapt
to the demands of dream sleep. Because of this, brain injured children
often wake up when they begin to dream.
The technique allows breathing pattern to change to support sleep
states, giving children (and their families) an increasingly good
What about intelligence?
sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep is thought to improve memory
and to eliminate unnecessary information. It may well be essential
to the motor and cognitive development of the normal child. As children
using the Technique sleep better their intellectual function improves.
Also, intellectual ability depends upon the brain’s ability
to process new information, including the ability to co-ordinate
breathing with metabolic demand (the tissue’s need for nutrition
as a result of activity). Improved breathing may help to improve
oxygen availability to the thalamus and the reticular system brain
structures close to the respiratory centres thought to influence
breathing and to be involved in processing incoming and outgoing
information so that it can be memorised and stored for later use.
As use of the Scotson Technique progresses, breathing becomes much
more responsive to sleep states and children begin to gain a good
How soon can I expect changes?
Metabolic and structural changes accumulate into functional
change with increasing hours of therapy. Small changes tend to be
evident within the first 2 or 3 weeks of therapy.
After 3 months identified structural abnormality has reduced and
functional change begins to show.
By 6 months photographic comparison indicates the clear changes
in the rib cage, abdomen, shoulder girdle, neck and spine which
are forming the foundation for continued functional change.
As the strength of the respiratory system increases, the effect
of the child’s increasing height and weight ceases to create
an extra overload on the respiratory system.
From this point the child’s own breathing and spontaneous
movements begin to interact to make a positive contribution towards
its more normal growth and development.
As you continue to work with your prescription you will become aware
that many of the previously chronic symptoms of brain injury such
as poor digestion, acid reflux, poor sleep, head lag, constipation,
seizures and so on are now in the past. The respiratory foundation
for more normal movement and developmental abilities will have substantially
emerged and you will be encouraged by the continued observation
of steady change. Changes increasingly bringing your child’s
structure and function nearer to the structure and function of the
normal child. After 3 years with Advance you can expect to have
become the perfect therapist for your own child, and if necessary
can continue therapy under minimal guidance and at minimal cost.
Is there outside monitoring of results?
Yes. Bradford University completed a 3 year study of TST
in Autumn 2005. Further external research is planned to commence
as soon as adequate funds can be raised.
the Bradford Report here (760k PDF)
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