NDT Bobath Approach

Publication date: 09.08.2019

It is a widely recognized approach worldwide. Its assumptions and techniques are not controversial and are commonly accepted. It is an approach to neurological rehabilitation started by the Bobaths couple in the 1940s. It promotes the child's general neurodevelopment so that they can live independently and use their abilities as long as their damage to the parts of the brain allows.

The Bobath concept proves particularly useful in baby and children therapy as it can be easily integrated with their daily activities and does not disturb the interaction between the mother and child. Correct handling, feeding, carrying or playing with the child is a natural way to record movement patterns supported by a physiotherapist. Correctly trained parents or carers continue therapy at home.


The first irregularities in movement development involve late or no head control. Then, a child moves other body parts in an incorrect way. The child lies incorrectly, usually asymmetrically, stretches or bends excessively. Muscular tension disorders and late regression of reflex responses or their duration exceeding the physiological occurrence cause different sensory/motor experience. Improper sensation of the arrangement and movements of the body as a whole and each of its individual parts results in development of abnormal movement patterns. Capabilities of each body is different and these differences are reflected in the Bobath approach.


  • Quality of movement , that is why the therapy aim is to support movement and reach the pattern as close to the correct one as possible
  • Influence on muscle tone (decreasing increased and increasing decreased muscle tone)
  • Elimination of incorrect reflexive response


The therapy involves providing the patient with correct sensory and motor experience, while the therapist handles the whole body of a child, not only its individual parts. Provided help should ensure maximum and active movement of the baby and at the same time should not induce incorrect response, anxiety or pain.

The child should not cry during the therapy as it diminishes its effects. It is important that the parents or carers are present and watch the therapist work and the child react, and receive important information and answers to their questions at once.

Talking about the Bobath approach, it is noteworthy that its main goal is to provide a patient with more independence and a rehabilitation process requires an individual approach and co-operation of many therapists in different fields.

The therapy plan is adjusted to the child's needs and capabilities. It must ensure confidence, encourage to exercise and help record new skills in everyday tasks. The therapist must closely co-operate with the child's parents, teach them to exercise with the child and to provide care in a correct way so that it becomes a part of the therapy plan. As the rehabilitation progresses the exercises are modified. The therapy must follow the child's daily routines so they should be 1 hour after a meal and not at the nap time.

The Bobath approach takes time necessary to make an exercise develop into an everyday habit. This approach founds on the flexibility of the brain, which lays the foundations for and explains the effectiveness of the therapy.