“The garment that supports Marko’s everyday life”
Our client, Mr Marko Kuronen was born with mild cerebral palsy and retinal degeneration (the narrowness of the field of view is under 5% and he is nyctalopic). Below he depicts his experiences using the LYMED Sense™ supporting garment and its effects on his body and entire life.
The garment in question affects the way I control my body. In addition to that the suit helps me perceive the parts of my body completely different. The suit allows me to add functionality in my life. Because of the possibility for added exercise and new sensory feelings my movement has become more controlled and improved as well as perkier.
The effects on my everyday life:
The garment helps me positively perceive muscle groups in all parts of my body. The suit gives me information that I have different muscle groups that I can use e.g. in moving my body. This new found muscle awareness comes from the pressure the suit provides.
New sensations include e.g. the possibility to extend my toes whilst wearing shoes. The extension of the toes sends a message to my brains that I have the possibility to use my entire instep of foot. Without the suit I cannot feel the extension in my toes and the curl up when I walk. This is very difficult. Extending the toes help me move and has a positive effect on the development of balance.
I was born with a mild case of CP which manifests as a division of strength – the left side of my body is considerably healthier and stronger than my right side. The suit helps to balance this difference. The right side of my body is weaker from my axilla to the toes and the right leg is three millimeters shorter that the left one. When I move with the suit on it cognitively aids the weaker side’s muscle groups and I can make more use of them. The benefit of the suit is best seen in my legs: when I’m suited I can easily lower my right heel to the floor (and against my therapeutic sole in my shoe). Without the suit I am not able to do this at all. The ability to lower my heel affects my balance immensely. My balance is better and my movement is more controlled. Without the suit I have to concentrate on getting the heel to lower itself and this slows down and severs my walking. The slow, imbalanced movement adds to my muscle spasticity. When I’m wearing my suit the spastic movements are fewer and far between, even visually seem to stay hidden a bit.
Because I can now lower my right heel I have now trained to use my right leg differently than before. The leg used to drag under me when I walked but now the suit has given me a chance to correct its position, directly to the front. The corrected stance adds to my balance and I now have a more upright walk. This affects my walk making it more alert and happy, faster and the overall enjoyment of moving.
By raising the waist on my trousers we have achieved the support needed in my lower back and pelvis when sitting and moving. The higher waistline, in addition to this, helps me extend my back and be more in an upright position. When the upper part of my body is in a better position I am able to move easier and I’m taller now! The position of my upper body affects the trajectories of my movements over time. Without the suit the support is gone and my posture goes back to the position the CP has given me – by body collapses and the extensions are no longer.
The suit affects the palm of my hand as well as the fingers. I can immediately feel it when I put it on. The pressure lets me know that I have straightened fingers that I can use easily. It becomes easier to write and type. The diminished stiffness relieves the tension in my shoulder and neck area. With time I hope that the suit will bring me better dexterity with my fingers. The suit has an effect on my arm muscles and muscle groups; I can feel some of them better. The use of hands and the control of the right shoulder are easier. The shoulder raises and feels sturdier with the suit, like it magically grew new muscles and posture overnight. Without the suit my right shoulder is collapsed and I do not feel the muscles needed to move it. When I move with the suit on my palms are extended (even my fingers) and my arms have slowly started to sway to support my walk. The suit thus creates new movement trajectories.
The suit’s effects on my brain functionality:
When used regularly I can feel the effects even in my brain. The direct effect is the calmness I have. I can concentrate and I do not get so anxious with my clumsiness caused by the CP. My ability to concentrate is controlled and I can ponder things with time. The suit also controls the parts of my brain needed for movement. The suit gives me the message of my limbs and how and when can I use them.
Because the suit helps me relax and be calm my epilepsy seizures have become smaller and fewer. The suit reduces stress, without it I have less tolerance for it and the risk for seizures becomes greater.
Generally the supporting garment helps me perceive and find new qualities from my body which I have not been able to do before. The suit has given my more body awareness and control. With time I expect to learn the new trajectories in my movement and control the disabilities caused by CP. The pressure garment is a physiotherapy tool in my everyday life. The benefit if the suit is remarkable for me, it’s my silent friend that guides and helps me move and use my body like it should be used. I’ve learned more things about myself and my body than ever before! This as a whole makes me and my body more integrated and I’m a happier person because of it. And the joy affects my everyday only positively!
To sum it up:
The pressure garment can be a miniscule thing to a regular person but to me, as a disabled person, it is of an irreplaceable magnitude! It’s a supported step in my new life’s path.