Theory of CIMT
Constraint induced movement therapy (“CI therapy” or “CIMT”) is a form of rehabilitation for the upper limb with evidence based links to theories of neuroplasticity and cortical reorganisation.
Constraint induced movement therapy was developed by Dr Edward Taub and his team in the USA. They worked with adults recovering from stroke with hemiplegia, who had limited use of their affected side in activities of daily living. Dr Taub’s team found that by restraining the stronger side and using the weaker side as much as possible alongside specific intensive exercises, they could make significant improvements in the amount and quality of movement of the upper limb over a short period of time. These results have been repeated in numerous studies including large multi-site randomised controlled trials, and similar results have since been demonstrated for children and adults with other neurological conditions with a hemiplegic presentation. See evidence base for more information on clinical trials.
The two theories underpinning constraint induced movement therapy are learned non-use and cortical reorganisation.