Movement on a Micro Scale


Thomashilfen NA showed off its support surface Micro-Stimulation technology at June’s Cure SMA conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Dynamic movement doesn’t need to be extreme to be significant to wheelchair users. Case in point: the Micro-Stimulation (MiS) technology offered by Thomashilfen.

“Micro-Stimulation is a gentle feedback or response generated by the individual’s movement,” says Darlene Hawthorne, president of Thomashilfen North America, who notes that even subtle movements, such as those caused when taking a deep breath, can start a beneficial, dynamic cycle of movement. “Originally, MiS was placed in beds to allow freedom of movement for those who lack mobility and needed stimulation to prevent pressure wounds. Through years of technology and science, MiS technology has evolved to [include] tiny spring wings in the backs of mobility chairs and surfaces that benefit many other conditions, such as autism, Down syndrome, hypertonic and hypotonic children, as well as adults with Parkinson’s and dementia.”

Feeling small, physical movements in response to their own movements can be reassuring and reaffirming to users with sensory difficulties.

“With the gentle feedback from the MiS or spring wings, each individual receives a small response to their movements, reconnecting the neurological and physiological connection, allowing the individual to relax and improve body perception,” Hawthorne says. “The stimulation also promotes blood flow and supports the freedom of movement for a more restorative sleep.”

As with the rest of the dynamic seating and mobility movement, Hawthorne expects micro stimulation technology to continue to expand. “We have seen some incredible, positive response with our MiS technology in our ThevoTwist pediatric wheelchairs from kids with various conditions,” Hawthorne notes. “The challenge is to provide stabilized seating with the freedom of movement to encourage independent activities such as reaching and stretching to further enhance the development of fine motor skills. We continuously see improvements with micro stimulation, and it is a new concept in how we traditionally think about seating and stabilizing all in one. Fortunately, ATPs and therapists are seeing the positive results of the freedom of movement and are trying to develop other ways to achieve both stabilization and movement.”

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Mobility Management.

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