Why I love CME

Your wish is my command! The results from the poll are in and the overwhelming response was, YES, keep blogging! I’ll be happy to oblige.

Every day when I take Nathan to his CME appointments I come up with new reasons why I love this therapy. Today I will share some of those reasons:

* CME works primarily on the BRAIN, not the muscles. Nathan’s body is mostly okay, but it’s the brain injury that triggered and continues to cause any issues he has with his body. We are doing ABR to work on the issues with his body, but 95% of the problem is in his brain. So why work the body when the brain, the control mechanism, is what needs fixing? All of Ramon’s CME exercises are designed to create new neural pathways and to stimulate dendritic growth and synaptic connections. It may look as if Ramon is working at a muscular level – building strength in Nathan’s legs, necks and trunk. But in reality the exercises are meant to trigger an anti-gravity response. This anti-gravity response is then established in the brain, and the more this response is elicited, the stronger the pathway in the brain. Function determines structures, is what is now being said in the brain plasticity world. So the idea is that function (Ramon’s exercises) will create physical structures in Nathan’s brain to strengthen his anti-gravity responses.

* What exactly do you mean by anti-gravity response, you may be wondering. Ramon explained to me once that he believes that every human being is born with an anti-gravity response imprinted in his/her genetic code. Whether brain injured or not, we all have this response imprinted within us. That’s why you see babies automatically “pulling up against gravity” at a very early age – they pull up their heads when on their tummies, they pull up to kneeling, they pull up to standing. It is this anti-gravity response that often gets damaged in children with brain injuries. The genetic code may be present, but perhaps it is not available in the brain because of the damage, especially when the damage ocurred in motor areas of the brain. One of Ramon’s primary objectives is to “awaken” this anti-gravity response. He believes that once this anti-gravity response is firmly triggered and established in the brain, children can develop motorically. I love this about CME! When Nathan tried the IAHP program, it felt all wrong to me. Putting a child on his belly all day and waiting for him to pull up against gravity on his own just seemed really bizarre to me. We tried it with Nathan and just never saw any kind of response. I think this may work for children with milder injuries, but not for children like Nathan with such severe injuries. I felt that Nathan didn’t have the instinct like other children did, so it felt futile to leave him on his belly. Now that Ramon is working on an anti-gravity response, I notice at times Nathan wants to lift up against gravity much more.

* Since 90% of Nathan’s problems are motoric (is that even a word?!!), this is the area that needs most stimulation. Intellectually he is very aware, medically he is strong. But anything that has to do with motor control – oral, gross, fine – he is severely affected. Since Ramon is working at a neural level on creating new motor pathways, my hope is that this will improve his motor abilities at all level. I have already noticed that he is using and controlling his hands much better. He is opening his hands more and coordinating the opening and closing of his hands to grasp objects. I have also noticed that he is eating better and moving his tongue more. Since he hasn’t had OT or ST in close to 4 months, I can only attribute this to CME.

* CME is a very dynamic therapy. It is not repetitive, or boring. Ramon introduces new exercises all of the time and keeps Nathan entertained with all of the ways to help him that he comes up with. Even though every exercise has a specific objective, each exercise often works on multiple things at once. For example, in one exercise, the objective may be to have him use his legs to pull up against gravity. But at the same time he may also work on head control, balance, and trunk control. Before CME, it felt impossible to do enough exercise to cover every body/part area where Nathan was deficient – I would’ve had to do exercises all day to work on the head, trunk, arms, hands, and legs. With Ramon, I feel that everything is covered in 2 45 min sessions. The rest of the day I don’t worry about his motor development, as I know that he’s been thoroughly exercised.

* Although CME is intended to stimulate the brain and create neural pathways, it is also good exercise! I believe that like any human being, kids with CP need to MOVE and exercise! Exercise is an important component of having a human body. So although CME is working on the CNS, it is also quite a workout. All those squats and balancing exercises is like going to a football workout with some pilates mixed in! It makes me happy to know that Nathan is also receiving excellent conditioning.

* Nathan’s muscle tone has improved and evened out. His legs are more relaxed while his trunk is a bit firmer. And we haven’t used any medications!

You can see why I love CME. It feels that with just one exercise modality, Nathan is receiving most of the stimulation that he needs for motor development. And the key is: it WORKS! I haven’t seen fabulous changes in Nathan but I have seen some amazing changes in most of the other kids going in and out before and after us into Ramon’s office. Nathan is a difficult case but kids that are slightly milder see vast, rapid improvements.

I’ll leave you with 2 videos:

This one is for everyone who thinks he’s always happy in therapy. Nope. I just don’t post the weepy ones 🙂

Comments

  1. http://Cybell says

    Marcela,muy clara y objetiva con tu admiración por CME ,siempre eh sido respetuosa con todos los tratamientos que los padres deciden para sus hijos cualquiera que este sea,creo que es válido todo tratamiento en el cuál puedan progresar cada día, comparto absolutamente este post y me da alegria saber y ver los avances de Nathan con CME y me encanta saber de los otros niños que avanzan y tienen progresos con Ramón ,por que sé que en ese camino va Nathan,los videos son buenisimos,aunque en ese llanto de Nathan no veo ninguna lágrima jajaja!!!!
    un abrazo.

  2. How funny – you are saying ‘head up’ to Nathan, and I’m always saying ‘head down’ to Suzy.
    Yes,… I agree… the ‘head’ is the bane of my existance.
    I’m just confused. Why CAN”T they hold that damn head where it’s supposed to be for more than a few seconds. What’s the big freakin’ deal? It’s the whole reason we did the eye surgery. I wanted the eyes to be fixed so she would stop looking at the ceiling. If she stops looking up, maybe her head would stop facing up, and then ifher head stayed where it is supposed to, maybe her trunk would start getting stronger and more balanced, and if the trunk would get better, she would have a better chance and standing, and then that would lead to walking. So, fixing the eyes is supposed to make her walk. Right????

  3. Cybell, si, yo respeto 1000% cualquier cosa que un padre decida que es lo mejor para su hijo!!! Pero se me dio por explicar porque me encanta tanto esta terapia ya que paso hablando tanto de ella. Si, el Nathan a veces simplemente no lo quiere hacer, a veces es con lagrimas, a veces si. Pero es parte de su disciplina que tiene que aprender que seguimos, aunque se queje.
    Se que Catita tambien va a ser una de esas ninas con muchos avances!!!

  4. Whitney, you are SOOO funny and I SOO hear you!!! I do the same thing! In my head, if I can get The Head to work, then Nathan will be walking in no time! I can’t even blame The Eyes, I just have no idea why he can’t keep his head in the middle. I have seen him progress in other areas that seems so much harder, why not The Head? I started researching last night, I refuse to let The Head steal function from Nathan. I’ll let you know if I find anything 🙂

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