Bobath Therapy FAQ's

How does Bobath therapy differ from therapy offered in the community?

Bobath therapy is complementary to the service offered in the community. The service we are able to offer is highly specialised and intensive over a short period of time.

Why not do it every day?

One of the aims of Bobath therapy is to train the parents in therapy techniques that they can then build into their everyday routine so, in a way, the child is having Bobath therapy every day. By seeing the children at Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales once or twice a year, our therapists can review the child's progress and development, as well as the current therapy programme, and reassess the child and family's needs. We also try to work as closely as possible with the community therapists and other people involved in the child's care to ensure that the benefits of the therapy are continued in every part of the child's life.

What effect does it have?

Bobath therapy helps the child to gain more control of their bodies, to interact with their environment, and to achieve a greater level of independence. Bobath therapy also aims to reduce the problems that develop as the child gets older.

Who were the Bobaths?

Berta Bobath was a physiotherapist, who had initially trained in remedial gymnastics. She understood normal movement and posture, and together with her husband Karel, who was a paediatric neurologist, Berta developed an approach to the treatment of cerebral palsy that would encourage a child to move and function as normally as possible, while Karel researched the neurological implications of the Bobath approach.

Why is it used for strokes?

Because Bobath therapy is a useful treatment for neurological-based movement disorders. Having a stroke can cause cerebral palsy in babies and young children, but there is a major difference between children and adults who have had a stroke; adults who have lost certain abilities can tap into their previous experiences to relearn skills, whereas young children will have no previous experience of a normal movement to tap into, and have to be taught.

Why use three disciplines?

Each discipline brings a different perspective to the treatment, and enables the therapy to address all aspects of the child's development.

What is the difference between the three disciplines?

Each discipline has it's own specific skills, but the Bobath therapists have core skills that overlap.

Is it more effective on one type of cerebral palsy over another?

Bobath therapy is appropriate for all types of cerebral palsy, and can help all adults and children who have cerebral palsy, however it can be more effective for very young children.

Why treat children when they're very young?

It is easier to bring about changes in young children because their central nervous system has not fully matured, and they haven't learned 'bad habits' that would need to be unlearned. Conversely, neither do the children have memories of a normal movement to tap into, so Bobath therapy helps the children to experience normal movements.

Are there other centres?

The Bobaths opened a centre in London in the 1940's. The demand for the service grew to such an extent, and so many therapists wanted to train with the Bobaths that the centre moved buildings several times. Today, the London Bobath Centre for children with cerebral palsy is the training centre for therapists who want to provide Bobath therapy, while also providing therapy for families in England (and some international children.)

In 1990, parents travelling to the Bobath Centre in London from Wales, met to discuss ways of bringing a similar service toWales. After campaigning and fundraising, Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales (known then as Bobath Cymru) opened in 1992. Bobath Scotland opened its doors in 1995.