Disability Support

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 Emmett therapists the opportunity to assist clients by providing support to their parents/care workers. We do this by sharing with them effective, gentle and safe muscle release moves that can be used at home and are 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 stranger is going to painfully poke, prod and flex their limbs. They are naturally wary of such intrusions. 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. Emmett Technique 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 of these conditions 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. Some Emmett techniques produce excellent result in relieving the symptoms of all three conditions,


Think about the impact of relieving those symptoms for the client. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone experiencing tremor could

  • hold a drink to his mouth without spilling it?
  • use the bathroom without assistance
  • dress themselves without support

How much better will someone feel if they have some of their independence and dignity restored? How much pressure is taken off the carers if two of three 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 achieve for the client with the correct training.

The hands of a man with Parkinson’s disease tremble.

Some of the things we strive for to improve the wellbeing of clients 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.

Depending on a client’s personal circumstances, the improvements above may enhance their ability to care for themselves in ordinary everyday activities such as personal hygiene. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the quality of life of the client (and carer).

The simple act of holding a drink or plush toy is denied many.

In summary

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. Techniques learnt in the EMM-Care course contribute to the understanding of treatment for the disabled and allow therpists to enable carers to better support their charges.

If you are a carer or indeed, cared for, contact me to discuss your situation.

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