The relationship between ABR and other Bodywork or Manual Therapies

Parents have asked me to comment upon the relationship between ABR and other Bodywork or Manual Therapies.

The last 30 years has witnessed an sudden increase in the development of manual and body work therapies. Whereas the chiropractic and osteopathic methods have long been established in the Western world, today’s body workers offer therapies that range from Rolfing, Feldenkrais, Myo-fascial release, Stecco Method, Cranial-Sacral Treatment, Bowen Method,. – and the list goes on and on. Although each of these methods can have positive effects on pains and other ailments, not one was developed with the specific needs of individuals with special needs or specifically cerebral palsy in mind.
ABR was developed exclusively with and for special needs individuals and their parents and caretakers.
More recently however, all of the various manual therapy methods have become united under the umbrella of the “fascia based research” that supports the clinical results that therapists have been experiencing under their own hands for years.
At the same time this research reveals the magnitude of  potential that can be tapped into when one to takes seriously the properties for renewal that each and every person has within his own connective tissue or fascia system.
In tempo with the scientific research being performed  with the connective tissues, ABR is developing its own techniques and rehabilitative reach. This is something unique to the ABR method. ABR is in a continuous state of transformation – creating new techniques that integrate the findings brought through the fascia research.
The human bodies own system of connective tissues is a system with characteristics and properties that are entirely different to those of more highly developed structures – for example the muscles or the nerves.
Below is a list of a few of the traits that are unique to the connective tissue system of the body. Following each quality I have given an example of how ABR has integrated these scientific understandings into the development of the ABR method.

– A Basic System – The connective tissues build the foundation for more complex and more highly differentiated systems. ABR knows and shows that by building the foundation of the body as seen in the connective tissue system, one can achieve improvements at most of the higher levels.

– Transanatomical – meaning that connective tissue structures are not limited to one anatomical structure but interpenetrate and cross unlimited anatomical boarders. ABR confirms the transanatomical quality of the connective tissues which allows one to work in one area of the body and achieve global effects. The collected knowledge of the transanatomical fascia based connections are actively integrated into ABR strategy.

– Energy neutral and Energy thrifty – meaning that working with these structures is an energy thrifty choice and not energy expensive for the organism. Other structures such as muscles and nerves consume massive amounts of the bodies energy supply. The connective tissues do not consume much. They are self sustaining and energy efficient. This knowledge and understanding forms a basis for the entire ABR Strategy that incorporates the idea that anything we do with or for the child either presents a Gain or a Drain.
The E-ABR concept allows a comprehensive assessment of the child’s daily environment. Together with the families we can assess and lay a plan for an energy usage reduction for the child that will then in turn allow the child to make the necessary improvements and reconstructions at the level of growth and tissue differentiation, that in turn lead to improvements in both structure and function.

– Bio-tensegral construction. The ABR techniques are bio-tensegral in nature. They work actively by applying stress within a bio-tensegral range and are able to achieve a magnification effect through respecting the bio-tensegral qualities of the tissues. At the same time the bio-tensegral concept of connective tissue construct allowed for ABR to discover techniques that administer effective reconstruction to all layers of the body – from the visceral (inner organs) to the muscular or even the skeletal   levels.

– Embryological Based – The origin of the connective tissues is the embryological mesenchyme. This name points to the fact that the connective tissues maintain embryological characteristics throughout the entire life of an individual. ABR actively integrates knowledge attained from the study and understanding of embryology into the development of its techniques and strategies for application.
The body of a child or individual with cerebral palsy has “fallen several levels” as it were. The tissues of the child have returned to earlier less differentiated stages. An understanding of how the tissues can progress and metamorphose from the less differentiated to the more differentiated state builds one of ABR’s basis of reasoning and works into the strategical development.

The thorough endeavor to understand and meet the needs of the mild to severely affected individuals, has led ABR to the development of a distinctive comprehension of connective tissue degeneration. This elaborate clinical diagnostic tool would take several hundred pages to describe. Having mastered the ABR Assessment however allows the Assessors to determine and prioritize which ABR applications will bring the fastest and most effective improvements and act as developmentary drivers.

This clinical diagnostic tool, that was developed side by side with the ABR techniques, is unique to the ABR Method. It could then, in turn lead to the development of the varied and exclusive ABR Techniques that differ both in the scope and applicative format to all of the other existing manual therapies.

The ABR Techniques themselves – when compared to other manual techniques that can take anywhere from six years to a series of many weekends to learn –  are so devised as to be teachable to parents and caretakers. One can become proficient enough to apply the techniques with great success to the children and adults in the program in an initial teaching session of about eight hours duration.

The ABR techniques can then be applied on a daily basis – this in itself differs from most of the other manual techniques that are devised to be applied on – at most – a weekly and even then – only on a limited basis of up to 10 sessions.

Neither is the effectiveness of ABR Techniques comparable to other manual techniques. Parents and caretakers alike can achieve heretofore unheard of reversal of severe structural deformities and even life function weaknesses through their own work in their own homes.


Diane Vincentz

ABR Paradigm Shift – Hierarchical Development Analysis

The inserted graphs show how ABR has achieved a radical shift in focus in respect to rehabilitation and why this shift in focus is so successful.

ABR Paradigm Shift Diagram

In the human being higher function is generally dependant upon more fundamental functions.  The diagram illustrates the fact that – if the strength of the connective tissues is weak, then there is no firm foundation within the body for the life processes.  The respiration will be weak – the metabolic processes are constrained.

The life processes rest upon a firm connective tissue base. In the case of CP as well as a wide variety of genetic and chronic illnesses, the child is challenged at this level.   Challenges at this level, can make it almost impossible for him or her to develop the next level seen in the diagram.

There will inadequate weight bearing; the compressional strength of the body is impaired.  Proprioception as well as internal “interoception” is indistinctly defined for the individual.

When deficiencies such as these are present, the primary movements that are normally developed within the first six months of life do not unfold.  The child does not learn to move the spine in the undulatory fashion.  He cannot “worm” himself around on his back, cannot rotate the spine or flex it to the side in a snake like fashion.   This huge variety of spine movement is dependant upon the ability of each single vertebra to move in respect to each other.  The single vertebras of a child in this condition do not reveal much movement in respect to each other.

The primary dynamic repertoire belonging to the first six months to one year of life does not unfold.  This will result in the child being locked in respect to his own development.  Gross and fine motor function in this condition will definitely be impaired.

The primary dynamic repertoire belonging to the first months of life cannot be “taught” and “learned”.  Imagine yourself trying to improve the movements between the sixth and seventh spinal vertebrae or between the fifth vertebrae and the sixth rib!  This is fully impossible.

If the child has not learnt it in the first six months, he can no longer learn to do it alone.  He needs the help that ABR brings to “learn” to develop and to utilize the spine movements.

This does not mean that a child cannot “jump over” the purple and the blue levels shown on the diagram.  He can jump over and develop communication skills, make cognitive advances, etc.  But what can never happen is that the higher levels of development can bring up lower levels.  No matter how clever a child becomes, weaknesses at the lower levels will not be alleviated.

One needs the improvements of the lower levels for true developmental flourishing.

Therefore ABR work means going down deep and restoring the foundation of the internal stability and tensional connectivity of the body.

When these levels are improved and restored, then development appears in a blossoming and in a “sprouting” like manner. The child begins to flourish at the higher levels without extra work – attaining the ability to focus, be attentive, communicate – even speech and thought process are possible in severe children.

For children and adults with cerebral palsy and a wide variety of disorders, ABR restores the base, the fundament, the foundation allowing for higher functional development in mild and severely impaired individuals.


Diane Vincentz