What is suspension therapy – types, uses, equipments

What is suspension therapy - types, uses, equipments
What is suspension therapy - types, uses, equipments

What is suspension therapy ?

What is suspension therapy - types, uses, equipments

Suspension therapy is a form of therapeutic exercise in which a portion or all of the body is suspended in the air by ropes and slings attached to a fixed point above. This therapy is given to patients to improve muscle strength, increase muscle power, and for supporting body parts by using ropes and slings.

Who invented suspension therapy ?

Suspension therapy apparatus was invented by Guthrie Smith.

Types of suspension therapy

There are mainly three types of suspension therapy, i.e.

  • Axial suspension
  • Vertical suspension
  • Pendular suspension

Axial suspension therapy

The axis of suspension is fixed just above the joint with the use of the rope, clip and hook. The body part which is being treated moves parallel to the ground.

  • Axis of joint is taken as the point of the suspension.
  • body part moves parallel to the floor.
  • Limb moves both directions, when movement started.
  • Body part supported by the slings above the axis of the joint.

Uses of axial suspension therapy

The uses of suspension therapy are:

  • Relaxation of body part
  • Maintain properties of muscle
  • Increase in blood circulation
  • Increases the venous and lymphatic drainage

Vertical suspension therapy

The point of suspension is center of gravity of body or body part which is being treated. Generally centre of gravity is found at upper one third or two third.

Uses of vertical suspension

  • It is used to support the body part
  • It is used to reduce pressure sore

Pendular suspension therapy

In this type of suspension therapy the point of suspension shifted away from joint axis and the movement takes place against the gravity. There is resistance in muscles when the axis is shifted to opposite side to the movement.

Uses of pendular suspension

  • It is used to extend the muscles
  • Used to increase the muscles power
  • It is used to increase the endurance and power

Benefits of suspension therapy

Suspension therapy provide relief from many types of health conditions, here we are going to discuss about some types of health conditions.

Back pain

Suspension therapy is very helpful for you, if you are suffering from back pain. It is a protocol that uses an anti gravity suspension system. It helps to strengthen your stabilizer muscles and core to decrease your back pain. Also it is helpful after back injuries for healing process.

for back pain electrotherapy is also very helpful technique.

Neck pain

For neck pain suspension therapy is very beneficial and most commonly used technique with other physical therapy methods. This therapy stretches and strengthen the neck muscles.

Whiplash injury

Whiplash injury is a type of neck injury that can occur when the head suddenly moves backward and then forward.This type of injury can occur, generally while rode accidents. This therapy gives relief, manage pain and reactivates your neuromuscular system. It also helps to increase stability and strengthen your neck muscles.

After joint replacement surgery

After joint replacement surgery, your doctor suggest you for physical therapy because it helps you to recover as soon as possible after the surgery and restores joint motion. Suspension therapy is one of the best therapy after surgery for best results.

Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis

Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis are the conditions that effect the neuromuscular system and mobility of body. This therapy improves the neuromuscular system and mobility and depending on the progression of the disease, your options for physical therapy could be limited.


  • It helps to lift the limb up
  • It decreases the load of therapist
  • With less friction active movements can be performed


  • This therapy is little difficult to use
  • Equipments are quite costly
  • large room or area is required for use of therapy
  • Many types of apparatus are required for this therapy

Equipments for suspension therapy

  • Suspension frame
  • Pulleys
  • Slings
  • Supporting ropes
  • Clips: S-hook and dog clip
  • wooden cleat
What is suspension therapy - types, uses, equipments

Suspension frame – Suspension frame is made up of plastic coated or stainless steel

Pulleys – Pulley is a wheel used to support the movement and helps in changing the direction of force, between shaft and belt. It has a dog clip attached at one end of the rope, which then passes over the wheel of a pulley.

Slings – Sling is used for supporting body part, Slings can be utilized for the majority various injuries. They are most frequently utilized when you have a wrecked (cracked) or separated arm, elbow, or shoulder.

Types of slings:

  • Single sling
  • Double sling
  • Three-ring sling
  • Head sling

Supporting ropes – there are three types of supporting ropes:

  • Single rope
  • Double rope
  • Pulley rope

Clips – It is of two types S hook and dog clip, used to attach supporting rope with sling.

Wooden cleat

Wooden cleat is made up of wood used for altering the rope, it has 2 or 3 holes for passage of rope.

Principles of suspension therapy

Friction – It happens when a surface moves on another. Smooth and easy movement can be achieved in suspension.

Pendulum – To and fro movement occurs when force is applied to the pendulum.The human body has pendular motion in the shoulder and hip joints.

Elemination of gravity movement – If the person has power grade 2, they can go for suspension therapy. It is difficult to perform the therapy exercise by the patient if the muscle power is less than 2. The patient should have minimal muscle contraction power for suspension therapy exercises. The patients can go for the gravity exercise if the muscles power is over 3.


We hopes that you find all the answers of your questions that, what is suspension therapy, its types, uses, equipments, benefits, advanced and disadvantage of suspension therapy. If you still have doubt in any topic then please feel free to contact us. If you are interested in this field or want to know more about Physiotherapy then please read all our physiotherapy related articles, we mention almost everything related to physical therapy.



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