What are TheraTogs?

TogsUltra_LowEx_200_Anterior_DylanBinocsAn FDA-registered Class I medical device, TheraTogs are orthotic garment systems designed to provide gentle, prolonged muscle stretch and alignment guidance that replicates the manual positioning and supervised therapy that the rehab clinician offers in a typical session.

Or, as our pediatric clients call them: “my SuperSuit!”

The clinician uses TheraTogs to extend the benefits of this all-too-short (and probably too infrequent) rehab session into the client’s daylong activities – and the client gains thousands of additional repetitions in corrected functional alignment or postural position. That’s exactly why our well-earned tagline is Therapy You Wear™.

The biomechanical or sensorimotor principles behind a TheraTogs garment-and-strapping application are thus the same principles that supported the therapy session that preceded it. TheraTogs serves as “body training underwear” that is customized by the clinician for the wearer’s specific needs.

In short:

Therapeutic principles/protocols expressed via garments + strapping = Wearable Therapy

Available in six product configurations and sizes ranging from infants to adults, TheraTogs are worn against the skin and under the clothes – out of sight, out of mind, silently guiding the wearer to a better body. The unique, foam-lined material is comfortable and comforting; the lower extremity garment, which we call the “Hipster”, is designed with a wide opening so that wearers can toilet without removing them.

Note: As simple as they are in concept, TheraTogs are not an off-the-shelf orthopedic soft goods product that can be “figured out” and used effectively and safely by the typical layperson. Every TheraTogs package is labeled with the reminder that the system must be used under the direction of a licensed rehab professional.

TheraTogs Fact File

TheraTogs are made from a patented and proprietary technical textile with an inner foam layer that grips the skin and the underlying soft tissues, and a Velcro®-sensitive outer layer to which clinicians can affix elastic strapping.

The open-cell foam underside is soft against the skin. “Feels just like chamois,” our customers say. (We hear that a lot.) The foam itself is hypoallergenic and latex-free.

Our unique TogRite™ elastic strapping features strong stretch-and-rebound – about a “blue” on the commonly-used elastic band scale. The latex-free silicone pattern underneath grips the fabric surface and keeps the strapping from drifting out of place during movement and physical activities; it also provides the same grip-and-reposition effect on limbs when placed against the skin.

All TheraTogs systems are machine-washable, air-dry, no heat. (Full care instructions are included in each system, of course.)

TheraTogs are warranted for 6 months for any defects in material or workmanship. With an estimated maximum wear cycle of 12 hours/day, 6 days/week, this represents a ‘projected wear life’ of over 1500 hours. Of course, Your Mileage May Vary – individual wear patterns, washing practices, exercise and perspiration rates, and a number of other factors may reduce or increase that figure. Within six months of purchase, however, we guarantee TheraTogs will retain their fit and function – or we’ll replace any failed components at our cost.

TheraTogs are sometimes compared to ‘compression garments’ – body suits made of stretch material that squeeze the trunk, arms, and/or legs, and then attempt to apply biomechanical correction to the tightly-compacted soft tissues and bony structures that have now been immobilized by these very same compression forces. Their assumption is that if you squeeze the body tightly enough – hopefully without impairing circulation or organ function – you can improve posture and alignment by compression alone, and still exert beneficial force vectors on the compressed tissues.

TheraTogs don’t work that way.

Our unique (and patented) foam surface “opens up” under slight fabric stretch and grips the skin, allowing the clinician to attach an external muscle anywhere on the surface of the garment. These muscles (our TogRite™ strapping) provide gentle, continuous correction to the functional alignment of the bony structures below – which move freely, since they’re not immobilized by compression from the garment.

By comparison, which works better to open that jar of peanut butter – a silicone disc that lets you firmly grip and turn the cap, or a hefty pair of large-jaw pliers that crushes the top to crank it off?

TheraTogs are used every day by therapists without additional training. The clinician already knows what to do in session, but now she has the means to send it home. Once the clinical objectives are identified, the application process is pretty simple:

  1. Fit the garment.
  2. Align the spine.
  3. Add TogRite strapping to support the core, correct functional alignment, and provide stability for positioning and gait.

This mirrors what the clinician already does in therapy session – but now the client gets hours of repetition, and compliance is automatic.

Although certification workshops are offered, training is not required. Each system comes with a full set of illustrated instructions, and some include how-to DVDs.

Let’s put it another way: over 30,000 TheraTogs systems have been put to use by rehab clinicians worldwide in the last 11 years. We’ve trained and certified about 700 of those clinicians.

In the US, TheraTogs are purchased through a variety of channels, so the cost to the purchaser varies considerably – but the value that TheraTogs represent is pretty compelling, no matter what. Consider:

The typical TheraTogs configuration is worn under normal clothing for 2 to 12 hours per day. This represents over 1500 hours of wearable therapy during the six months’ warranty.

At an average cost of $75/hour for clinical sessions, one TheraTogs system provides the equivalent of more than $110,000 worth of rehabilitation.

Compliance is the primary challenge to the effectiveness of rehab. (There. We’ve admitted it.) TheraTogs make compliance automatic: in the time it takes to prepare a healthy breakfast, a caregiver can dress Ramon in his “super suit” and know that all day long, during everything Ramon does, his TheraTogs will be gently enforcing the therapy prescribed by his clinician.

Lastly, the body adapts to history of use. It is well established that poor posture, compromised gait patterns, and inefficient movement lead to future issues, even debilitation. (Ask anyone over 40.) The sooner you improve trunk stability, gait, and proper functional alignment, the more cumulative damage – and cost thereof – you can prevent. (Not to mention the improved quality of life along the way.) What’s the future worth?

It’s fair to say that TheraTogs add warmth to the wearer that can present a challenge in warm-weather circumstances. However open-celled the foam and breathable the fabric may be, it is, after all, an extra layer of clothing.

The good news is, that means the system is working, and the wearer is gaining the benefits intended.

A properly-fitted TheraTogs system guides the body to correct things – weak core, trunk instability, imbalanced gait, joint mobility, and poor functional alignment of all types. In doing so, TheraTogs requires the body to exert itself in new ways, flexing unused muscles, learning new movement patterns, holding better posture in alignment. That’s real work, and it generates heat.

We’re constantly looking for lighter materials and alternative grip options to reduce the warmth generated by this work. The clinician and caregiver can help, also, with a number of simple steps:

  • Reduce the wear time during warm seasons. 12 hours may be optimal, but two hours each in the cool of the morning and evening is better than no wearing at all.
  • Remove the wearer’s outer clothes when they’re not needed for modesty or fashionable appearance.
  • Trim excess overlap of the garment fabric, particularly on the torso where it generates extra heat.
  • Download these guidelines to show you how to cut holes in the TheraTogs garments to improve ventilation. The fabric won’t tear or run, and cutting holes doesn’t void your warranty. Hesitant to trim or cut your expensive “super suit”? Don’t be – by improving ventilation you’re adding value to the system, because you’ve increased the wearer’s comfort, increased the wear time, and increased the benefits gained.

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