Reflex locomotion is a highly specialized form of physical therapy that was developed at the beginning of the 1950’s by a Czech Pediatric neurologist Prof. Dr. Vaclav Vojta. Originally this technique was developed to enhance motor development of children affected by cerebral palsy.
Reflex locomotion uses specific stimulation zones in a specific positioning of the patient to facilitate motor response called “Global pattern”. Muscles throughout the body are activated in a coordinated pattern and at the same time the central nerves system is addressed at all its regulatory levels.
Reflex locomotion not only activates skeletal muscles but also smooth muscles like circulatory, bladder and bowl control.
Besides motor control the technique also improves cognition, breathing and digestion.
Reflex locomotion is not learning or training process, it activates inborn physiological movements via stimulation of the CNS. The responses to the stimulation is a coordinated movement of the trunk and extremities and by that restore basic movement patterns, which are part of human movement process such as grasping, rolling, creeping, crawling, walking, stabilization and proper breathing stereotype.
The priority of the treatment is to activate the dysfunctional muscles which are not entirely under our control but may play a role of a key link in a certain dysfunction.
The goal of the treatment is to improve motor and sensory function as well as improve/restore body perception, body image and differentiation.
Reflex locomotion can be used as a first step in the treatment if the patient can’t correct the poor stereotype voluntarily, and/or if the patient can’t follow the therapist verbal instructions.