Physioterapists' opinion on the Utukutu Rockerboard
Balance, coordination, strength, agility, feeling for movement… that's the Rockerboard described by the language of human motor skills.
I have known about the Rockerboard for about two years. I found the idea very interesting from the point of view of a professional physiotherapist as well as a mother of three small kids.
By coincidence I soon became an owner of a Rockerboard, which has been used permanently ever since. In our home, it never takes a break.
Our schoolgirl will lie on it, while the younger boys use it for sliding, sending cars or building obstacles by connecting two pieces of furniture high up.
In my physiotherapeutic practice I have been using the Rockerboard for group exercises with infants and toddlers as well as for individual exercises with children of various age groups and diagnostic spectrum (poor or weak posture, coordination and balance disorder, immaturity, crossed laterality, apraxia, etc.)
The greatest advantage according to me is the option to use it to stimulate gross motor skills and global motion pattern, fine motor skills and balance reactions.
Assistance is needed when using the Rockerboard as a rocking and labile tool for balance training for children with with more serious degrees of the above mentioned disorders.
I find very interesting the idea of using the Rockerboard as a tool for group exercises, when there are more boards or when every participant has their own board.
I only see positives in widespread use of this tool in pre-school and school facilities.
According to my experience, the Rockerboard is suitable for the following diagnosis: Poor or weak posture, coordination and balance disorder, child immaturity, crossed laterality, apraxia, etc.
Assistance is necessary when using the Rockerboard as a labile tool for balance training in children with higher degree of the above mentioned disorders.
Mgr. Martina Mikovičová
Balance, coordination, strength, agility, feeling for movement…that's the Rockerboard described by the language of human motor skills.
Would you like to know why this strangely beautiful thing should become a part of your household?
We live in a time and place, which provides luxurious living conditions compared to previous historical eras. We don't need to fight, protect ourselves from predators, enemies, or war, or struggle for survival. Thanks to good nutrition, safety and excellent healthcare we live much longer than our ancestors. Despite all this (and probably also because of that) our bodies are getting weaker. It has taken millions of years to develop from our animal ancestors into our present form of homo sapiens sapiens. The human body has undergone the hard trials of evolution and natural selection. It has gained excellent motor skills through this long development. It seems, however, that everything can change in a few decades of comfortable life. We are losing our physical fitness and abilities, which have been given to us.
We cease to be able to use our body.
Physiotherapy ambulances are full of not only adults, but also of children. They suffer from musculoskeletal system problems in ever younger age groups. Poor posture, weakened and shortened muscles, low physical fitness and quality of movement, such is the reflection of today´s school children and also a very “good“ basis for future problems and pains of the motion system in adulthood.
Why is it like this? What does a child really need for quality motor development? It needs exactly the same thing, which it has been given for the millions of years of evolution and which is now so desperately absent. Besides the basic life needs, these are the two crucial things: MOVEMENT AND STIMULI.
Children need a high dose of varied movement and stimuli throughout the whole day. Walking, running, squats, climbing, hanging, swinging, jumping.Varied, rugged terrain, the option to react to inequalities. The perception of the heterogenous earth surface while barefoot. Cold and warmth, water, air, rain, sun, dirt, mud, rocks. Play, work, adventure, challenge and the joy of movement! All these lead to a natural and complete motor development, gradual growth of strength and high quality movement patterns.
Physicians and physiotherapists solve medical issues and their prevention. Teacher, educators, coaches and free time specialists are trying to make children and young people move and get them into sports. Ergotherapists and home designers are looking for suitable versions of furniture and equipment.
And where exactly does the Rocker board concept fit in?
For me, it is a model of the way we need to go and the direction we need to follow. The Rockerboard is on the verge between a sports tool, a toy, a piece of furniture and a design decorative element.
When in action, it serves for development of strength, balance and feeling for movement. When not moving, it creates a comfortable and relaxing place for environment and relaxation. Rocking movement has always been the archetype of relaxation, safety, and sleep.
The Rockerboard opens a wide space to movement creativity and imagination. Children can actively add it to their games and daily life. A swing, a slide, a seat, a tunnel, a hideaway, a hill in the middle of the room…The more senses and skills the child engages during the activity, the more complex is the influence on the motion system and on the CNS control centers. This stimulation of the nervous system can lead to improvement in cognitive functions (thinking, memory, speech, learning, etc.)
You see? Motion system, motor control, cognitive functions. All these can be positively affected by such a simple thing, which we can, with a bit of exaggeration, call “a piece of bent wood“.
The Rockerboard confirms, that simple things are brilliant. For me personally it represents the direction, which we should follow and try to bring it to our lives and homes.
Mgr. Pavla Pročková
Physiotherapist, recreologist (Department of Physical Culture, Palacký University, Olomouc), enthusiastic researcher in the field of human health, natural movement, barefoot walking, running and footwear.
The founder of the Vivobarefoot Concept Store Hradec Králové and the project Žij naboso (Live Barefoot).