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  • Writer's pictureAmy McFadden

Oov: What is it and why is it so special?

What is the Oov?

The Oov is a unique device that mimics the body and creates a state of instability in order to give the user feedback and enhance their abilities to achieve more efficient movement.  It is a great tool to assess adaptive strategies or compensatory movement patterns and work on developing strategies to create stability and motor control of movement.  The beauty of the Oov is that by just laying on it and doing nothing, it would still be doing something to stimulate core muscles and balance.   Because we cannot consciously activate our deep spinal stabilizers, the Oov's 3-dimensional shape automatically provides subconscious activation of these muscles.  The advantage of using an Oov is that it is patient driven and is independent of the practitioner.   Often as patients we rely on clinicians testing skills and visual findings to diagnose or treat.  This can often be subjective.  The Oov provides black and white, pass or fail results.  The Oov will also have larger and longer standing re-strategizing effects on the body as our bodies adopt new information best when it organically reorganizes itself based on needs vs having a clinician cue you for corrections and you having to consciously think about those corrections each time you move.  The latter is often short lived.  

What will the Oov provide?

  1. Improved stability:  Stability is the ability to maintain or control a joint or body part in all directions when either static (sitting or standing) or dynamic (in movement).  It is also our ability to withstand loading during movement and to be able to move individual joints/limbs while keeping the rest of our body still.  Stability also means when you are disturbed from a condition of equilibrium you are able to develop forces/moments that restore your original condition.  Having good stability allows us to prevent injury and to transfer power thru stable joints to make task easier and more efficient.  With increased stability of the body we then provide ourselves with better balance.  

  2. Better Balance:  Balance is the basic building block of all functional movement.  It is our ability to correct or efficiently position our body and stabilize the body in a desired position.  Balance is achieved through use of our eyes, ears, and our nervous system.  The 3 systems function together to supply tons of information from our surroundings and our bodies to our brain.  Our brain then identifies which muscles and joints need to make the appropriate adjustments for proper balance.  

  3. An update to the central nervous system:  Like a computer, our brain is constantly receiving, interpreting, storing, and trying to delete unnecessary information.  As our computers need updates so do our brains.  Our central nervous system is often affected by trauma, injury, pain, chronic stress, and poor nutrition.  With this, our central nervous system can become “heightened” and make us perceive excess or more intense symptoms or make something more dramatic than what it actually may be.  When our central nervous system gets overloaded it will seek a defensive refuge; “fight or flight” response or the “freeze” response.    The oov can both calm the nervous system and upregulate (update) the nervous system to assist with symptom resolution.  

  4. Spinal elongation:  A lengthened, and well supported spine creates the safest environment for movement because it works to prevent compressive and shearing forces that can cause injury.  It also creates the optimal position for “the core” to work the most efficiently.  The oov allows us to experience the sensation of moving the spine segmentally.  This spinal elongation also allows for natural diaphragmatic breathing…    Have you ever been told to “breathe” while exercising?  Often, we “hold our breath” during exercise due to an instability in our spine and our diaphragm contracting to help stabilize it.  When given a challenge on the oov, new motor planning will occur with our deep core stabilizers so our breathing can normalize.  

  5. Improved range of motion and mobility:  With normalizing the spinal curvature and improving diaphragmatic breathing, the oov will improve joint motion and overall mobility by putting the joints in a better position.  It will also aid in retraining what is called the myofascial slings and fascial lines of the body.  Myofascial slings are the combination of muscles and fascia.  Myofascial slings help stabilize our pelvis and connect our shoulders to our opposite hip.  Fascial lines are the common force transmission pathways through the myofascia.  Activating these lines requires a stretch loading (eccentric activation) with multiple directions and load which is what the oov can provide.  

Who is the Oov good for?

The Oov is good for practically anyone.  Precautions need to be taken with pregnancy, people who suffer from frequent and uncontrolled seizures, and people who have had recent (with in 6 wks) low back surgery.  

To experience the Oov for yourself, call 563-207-8932 to schedule a private one-hour session with Amy. We also offer an Oov small group class on Fridays, 10:00-10:50am. Learn more.

~Amy McFadden, PT

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Our providers enjoy sharing articles on a wide variety of health and wellness topics.  The information in these articles is intended for general information only, and should not be used to diagnose, treat or cure any condition.  Seek the advice of your medical provider or other qualified healthcare professional for personalized care regarding your unique needs and goals.

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