REDCORD

Suspension based physical therapy and performance

THE HISTORY

Gymnasts have been using suspension apparatus (gym rings, high bar, etc.) for centuries. With practice and repetition, they learn how to move, balance and stabilize their body into suspended positions, like a plank, pike or dip. These exercises help them develop muscle control from head to toe for optimal movement health and performance.

Suspension exercises aren't new to PT. In fact, the physical therapy profession was born from gymnastics in the early 1800s. Physical therapists in Sweden were originally called "sjuk-gymnast" which means a person involved in gymnastics for those who are ill. The first physical therapist was Per Henrik Ling (the Father of Swedish Gymnastics) who founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in 1813 for rehabilitation and manipulation. [source: The Rise of Physical Therapy: A History in Footsteps]


INTRODUCING REDCORD

Everybody should benefit from doing suspension exercises. At Activcore we use an apparatus that comes from Norway and consists of ropes, slings and bungee cords. Similar to floating in water, the Redcord suspension system creates a "zero-gravity" environment where people of all ages, all sizes, and all abilities can safely exercise with precise muscle control and without pain. It's sort of like doing aquatic therapy on land!

Bungee-assisted hip stabilization (side plank)

Redcord brings out your inner gymnast. By applying bungee assistance, we will teach you how to move, balance and stabilize your own bodyweight through specific joint motions, such as hip abduction (shown above) or neck extension (shown below). Each repetition builds neuromuscular control across entire chains of muscles (the myofascial chains) so that your whole body will feel more stable and become less susceptible to injury.

Bungee-assisted neck stabilization


WEAK LINKS IN THE CHAIN

You are only as strong as your weakest link. With each exercise we are teasing out these hidden weaknesses. Typically they involve the innermost muscles which stabilize the joints (pelvic floor, deep hip rotators, diaphragm, deep neck flexors, rotator cuff, etc.).

Your joint stabilizers should always be ON through continuous muscle activation. But they can turn OFF due to physical trauma from an injury, surgery, pregnancy or illness. They can even shut down from prolong sitting or a sedentary lifestyle. If deactivated for an extended period of time, they will become weak links in the myofascial chain that could start a vicious cycle of pain and movement dysfunction.

Bungee-assisted shoulder stabilization

THE NEURAC METHOD

We apply suspension exercises to wake up these dormant muscles and reverse the pain cycle. Our approach is called NEURAC (NEURomuscular ACtivation). It's a method of rebooting your body's inner stabilizing system through proprioceptively enriched exercises. Essentially, by having you perform repeated joint motions in a "zero-gravity" environment, NEURAC tells your brain that it is safe to turn the joint stabilizers back on. It's like flipping on a light switch to muscles that went dim from chronic pain and trauma.

Bungee-assisted thoracic stabilization


Redcord gets faster results than ordinary physical therapy and strength training. The difference is felt at a neuromuscular level. When your nerves and muscles are fully reconnected, the effects are extraordinary. Most people experience relief of pain, freedom of joint motion, and sensations of being centered and balanced.

Bungee-assisted quadruped stabilization

THE REDCORD REVOLUTION

Developed by physiotherapists in Norway in the 1990s, Redcord is now utilized by elite physical therapists around the world as the ultimate system for delivering deep muscle activation. At Activcore we are proud to be the nation's leading provider of Redcord. Doing suspension based physical therapy makes us feel like we are getting back to the foundation of "Swedish medical gymnastics" that the profession was originally built on.

Bungee-assisted lateral spine stabilization

THE RESEARCH

Redcord is a scientific breakthrough in physical therapy practice. It has been extensively peer reviewed with 100+ research studies featured in industry approved publications, including the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, Journal of Human Kinetics, Journal of Biomechanics, and Journal of Dance Medicine & Science.

Scroll down to learn more about the science behind Redcord...

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The Problem

NEUROMUSCULAR DE-ACTIVATION

Many studies have shown that trauma (injury, concussion, pregnancy, surgery, cancer, etc.) creates physical imbalances throughout the body by altering your brain’s capacity to switch on the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength.

Known as neuromuscular deactivation, this process begins by shutting down your body's inner stabilizing system, as a protective mechanism. Typically these are the smaller muscles located near the joints. Their job is to stabilize the spine, pelvis, hips, shoulders and other joints to allow for upright posture and functional mobility.

Examples of joint stabilizers include the:

- Deep neck flexors

- Rotator cuff (deep shoulder stability)

- Deep rotators of the hip

- Pelvic floor muscles

- Multifidus

- Transverse abdominis

- Internal obliques

- Diaphragm (for breathing and stability)

When pain occurs, the connection to your joint stabilizers gets disrupted. To make up for this loss of joint stability, the brain will naturally send more signals to the larger muscles which are closer to the surface of your body. Some examples of these outer muscles include the lats, pecs, biceps, triceps, quads and hams. They are commonly known as "prime movers" since their primary role is to move the body. They turn on to perform a specific task (walk, run, squat, push, pull, etc.) and then they're supposed to turn off and recover. However, due to the underlying muscle deactivation, your prime movers must stay on to also do the constant work of the dormant joint stabilizers.

Simply put, the outer muscles are now doing two jobs: moving and stabilizing. But they are not built to stay on constantly like the inner muscles. So it's only a matter of time for them to tighten up, like a knot. A classic example is tight hamstrings compensating for a weak inner core. It is the body's innate way to protect the spine (lower back) by stiffening up muscles further down the myofascial chain. In this case, the hamstrings.

Therefore, your leg muscles might be tight due to joint instability at the spine. If not properly addressed, this muscle imbalance will set in motion a cycle of pain that could lead to more serious injuries, like pulling or tearing your hamstrings when running.

Image copyright Activcore

As the cycle goes around, pain will start to interfere with your everyday life. Usually this is the moment when most people seek help from a medical professional (chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, etc.). Although, if the practitioner does not know how to find and fix these muscle imbalances as the source of the pain, you may only get temporary relief. The symptoms could return and spread out to other areas over time.

Muscle deactivation impairs how you stabilize joint motions. It makes the body more susceptible to injuries. It can even disrupt how you regulate normal bodily processes, such as urinating (i.e., pelvic floor dysfunction), digesting food and breathing.

COMMON SOURCES OF MUSCLE DEACTIVATION

Sports and repetitive use
Broken bone
Injury and pain
Surgery
Surgery and medication
Sedentary
Sedentary lifestyle
Poor posture
Poor posture
Pregnancy and postpartum
Pregnancy and childbirth
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The Solution

NEUROMUSCULAR ACTIVATION

Simply stretching, massaging and strengthening the painful spot won't fix it. You have to find the underlying source of the problem which is often far away from the painful area. For example, most shoulder problems stem from deactivated muscles around the pelvis, hips, spine and rib cage. That's why we always test and treat the whole myofascial chain, regardless of where you have pain.

We apply suspension exercises to wake up these dormant muscles and reverse the pain cycle. Our approach is called NEURAC (NEURomuscular ACtivation). It's a method of rebooting your body's inner stabilizing system through proprioceptively enriched exercises. Essentially, by having you perform repeated joint motions in a "zero-gravity" environment, NEURAC tells your brain that it is safe to turn the joint stabilizers back on. It's like flipping on a light switch to muscles that went dim from chronic pain and trauma.

Bungee-assisted single leg bridge

The Redcord suspension system gives your body the support it needs to engage the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength. By offloading your outer muscles with bungee assistance, we can recruit your inner core muscles.

We can also adjust how much neuromuscular stimulation to apply during each exercise. Shaking the ropes stimulates the nerves. Gently vibrating the ropes calms the nerves. Finding a perfect balance of control versus instability is essential for best results. You should feel your muscles working (re-activating) but without any symptom aggravation.

Bungee-assisted pelvic floor stabilization

Redcord is an ideal tool for delivering neuromuscular activation. While it's common to start feeling immediate changes with just a few exercises, it's important to understand that retraining muscles into a proper neuromuscular pattern takes repetition. After all, we are quite literally remapping connections between the brain and the joint stabilizers.

Every exercise prescribed should be tailored to your specific needs. The practitioner may also use the Redcord suspension system to assist with the application of manual therapy techniques including joint mobilizations, stretching and myofascial release.

Assisted scapular mobilizations

Assisted thoracic stretching

Redcord helps people to a life in motion. Just like gymnastics, it naturally enhances the way the mind and muscles communicate for optimal movement health and performance.

To learn even more about Redcord, click here.

"The staff at Activcore have a deep understanding of neuromuscular reactivation. This is a fancy way of saying that when you are injured there are deep muscles that shut down as a protective mechanism. This over time causes other muscles to overcompensate, leading to further pain and potential problems. Redcord helps get to the root of the problem and allows the healing process to begin. Having experienced it first hand, I believe this form of PT will revolutionize the industry."

- Customer review

ACTIVCORE LOCATIONS

Pennsylvania

Newtown, PA
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