The Mollii Suit is a new assistive device developed by Inerventions, a Swedish company, that can “relax spastic, tense, and aching muscles.” The company was started by Mollii inventor Fredrik Lundqvist in 2009. According to their website, Mollii is currently being used by people with cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, acquired brain damage, and neurodegenerative conditions. Inerventions mission is, “creating opportunities for active movement and functional improvements, and providing everybody with the chance to live a dignified and active life.”
Read the PMD Foundation newsletter (page 4) to learn more about how the suit is helping 4 year old Valentin who was diagnosed with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD): an X-linked disorder of myelin classically characterized by nystagmus, spastic quadriparesis, ataxia and cognitive delay in early childhood. The newsletter (page 4) includes an interview with Marianne Bal and Fredrik Lundqvist.
What is the Mollii Suit?
Molli is a functional garment that consists of a pair of trousers, a jacket and a detachable control unit which sends electrical signals to the user via electrodes on the inside of the garment. Mollii is an assistive device that people with muscle stiffness (spasticity) or other forms of motor disability can use in their home environment. It can help to reduce undesired reflexes and stiffness, thus enabling an improved posture, range of motion and functional ability. It can also reduce certain types of pain and improve sleep patterns.
How does it work?
The suit has 58 electrodes which can be combined in various ways. Mollii has a control unit which is individually programmed for each user. The person prescribing Mollii uses a computer program to adapt the active electrodes and the intensity (which muscles are to be activated by means of current). The settings are then saved in the Mollii control unit, making it simple for the device to be used at home.
Mollii uses low level electric current to produce basic tension in the musculature. The current stimulates the antagonist to the spastic muscle. If, for example, the biceps is spastic, the triceps is stimulated which in turn makes the biceps relax. Relaxing the muscle enables active movement and a gradual improvement in function. The physiological mechanism is called reciprocal inhibition.
Who can benefit?
Mollii can be used by adults and children with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, acquired brain damage, spinal cord injury and stroke. Mollii (formerly Elektrodress) provides tailored rehabilitation in the form of a garment with electrotherapy programmed according to the individual’s requirements.
A useful tool in neurological rehab, it has shown good results in the following:
- Improvements in efficiency of mobility with a reduction in effort required
- Improvements in upper limb function with a reduction in effort required
- Improvements in postural control
- Improvements in balance
- Reduction in muscle fatigue
- Reduction in pain
Mollii is a safe treatment, very similar to TENS, which is used widely for pain relief. The suit however should not be used if you have an implanted electronic device, epilepsy or are pregnant.
Is it for use in clinic only?
No, once you have had your assessment and trial, you will have the settings set up and ready to go and you will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to get the very best results from your suit as an ongoing home treatment.
A Clinical Trial can last approximately 2.5 hours involving a pre treatment assessment, 1 hour treatment and post treatment assessment. The cost of the clinical session is £100.00, during which formal therapy outcome measures will be used to evidence any benefits you may experience as a result of the treatment.
In addition to its role as a home treatment, Mollii can be used immediately prior to your physiotherapy treatment to prepare the nervous system for the physiotherapy session.
Guidelines and Research