The law of shunting reaction & Application of shunting rule in treatment: Bobath Approach

The law of shunting reaction

  • A phenomenon of efferent inflow being short-circuited either temporarily (the athetoid patient) or more permanently (the spastic patient) into patterns of abnormal co ordination released from higher inhibitory control.
  • A patient with abnormal motor out put who moves abnormally in response to motivation & normal sensory inputs will still only experiences & memories the sensation of his abnormal movement of excessive efforts & lack of co ordination.
  •  He will therefore be unable to develop & lay down the memory of normal sensory motor patterns.

  Application of shunting rule in treatment

  • Magnus stated that at any movement during a movement, the central nervous system mirrors the state of elongation & contraction of the musculature.
  • It is therefore, the body musculature which controls the opening & closing of synaptic connections within the central nervous system & determines the subsequent outflow.
  • The greatest effect of shunting is obtained from the proximal parts of the body.
  • In accepting the role of shunting, it is clear that we have a means of influencing and changing motor out put from periphery, i. e. from proprioceptive system, beginning usually with proximal parts of the body.
  •  By changing the relative positions of the parts of the body & limbs when handling a hemiplegic patient, we can change his abnormal postural pattern & stop (inhibit) the outflow of excitation in to established shunts of spastic patterns.
  • We can at the same time direct patient’s active responses into the channels of higher integrated & complex pattern of more normal coordination.
  • In this way, spasticity becomes reduced by inhibition of its patterns, while more normal postural reactions & movement are facilitated.

Published by GajananBhalerao

DR. GAJANAN BHALERAO (PT) MPTh Neuro, NDT Adult (USA), Motor relearning (Australia), Aquatic therapist (Switzerland). Associate professor at Sancheti Institute College of physiotherapy, Shivajinagar, Pune. Founder Director of "School of neuro rehab and aquatic therapy" , speciality centre for neuro rehabilitation of stroke, brain and spinal cord injury. Mobile : 9822623701,

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