Friday the 13th of December, 2019, was an auspicious day for me in that I was blessed to attend the EMM-Care (Disability and Special Needs) program presented by the course’s creator Ross Emmett. The course affords therapists, such as myself, the opportunity to assist clients by providing support to their parents/care workers by sharing with them effective, gentle and safe muscle release moves that can be used at home and easily incorporated with other care programs and existing medical therapies.
In a nutshell, we learn a suite of releases or moves that can be taught to parents/carers for at-home support of their charges.
White-coat fever can afflict children and those incapable of understanding why yet another person who is not a carer is going to painfully poke, prod and flex their limbs. They are naturally wary of such intrusion. As a rule, Emmett therapists generally err on the side of caution when approaching and treating children. Guided by a carer we work within the child’s comfort zone, explain what is going and perhaps even demonstrate on mum/dad what is going to happen to reassure the child. We always seek assent. Furthermore all of the moves are pain free and gentle. No force is used.
Symptoms not labels
While the original course was conceived “with the child at the heart of the program” the content is also applicable to adults, and can be applied to the symptoms of both disability and disease. Emmett Therapists tend not to use labels such parkinsons or MS or cerebral palsy because it is the symptoms the client is experiencing that we treat. A number of pathologies can have similar or overlapping symptoms: tremor, poor balance and lack of coordination for example might be due to MND, Parkinsons or addiction to name a few.
Think about the impact of relieving those symptoms for the client. Wouldn’t it be nice if a man experiencing tremor could hold a drink to his mouth without spilling it? What about the using the bathroom without assistance? How much better will the man feel if he has just a modicum of the independence and dignity that we all take for granted? How much pressure is taken off the carers if just those two everyday things could be done independently of the carer? What about reducing the spasticity in a child’s arm so they were better able to control their mobility and communications devices? These are just some of the seemingly minor but life altering changes that a carer may be able to achieve for the client with the correct training.
To improve the wellbeing and comfort of clients, and perhaps improve independence some of the things we strive for are:
- Improved co-ordination
- Improved balance and stability
- Reduced muscle spasm/rigidity
- Improved focus and concentration
- Decreased anxiousness and instilling calm
- Assisting digestion
- Reduced fluid retention
- … and, etc.
As well as improving comfort and sense of personal wellbeing and depending on the clients’ personal circumstances, the improvements above can enhance their ability to care for themselves in ordinary everyday activities such as personal hygiene and dressing, thus relieving the carer of some of their burden of responsibility.
Ultimately, the goal is to improve the quality of life of the client (and carer) by empowering the carer to deliver muscle releases that make the client more comfortable and if possible more independent.
Emmett Techniques have applications in any physical disorder of the muscles and connective tissue. Emmett therapists can assist with treatment of the disabled or those experiencing degenerative disorders. The additional techniques learnt in the EMM-Care course have contribute to the understanding of treatment for the disabled and best of all allow us to enable carers to better support their charges.
If you are a carer or indeed, cared for, contact me to discuss your situation.