The Universal Exercise Unit (UEU)

The Universal Exercise Unit (UEU), also known as the "cage", is used in two different ways: as the "Monkey Cage" and as the "Spider Cage".  The unit allows a variety of activities to be performed addressing areas of needed improvement while allowing the child to experience independent movement.  

The Monkey Cage:

The Monkey Cage consists of a system of pulleys, straps, weights, and splints utilized to perform exercises.  It allows the patient to perform an independent movement while gravitational forces are eliminated through the suspension of the body part that is being exercised.  This allows isolation and strengthening of weak muscles while preventing compensatory use of other muscles, which has a direct impact on the patient's functional skills.   

Goals of the Monkey Cage:  

  • Counteract (prevent) muscle atrophies
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Increase active and passive range of motion
  • Prevent joint contractures
  • Improve (normalize) muscle tone

The Spider Cage:  

The Spider Cage consists of a belt and bungee cords utilized to either assist upright positioning or to provide resistance during functional transitions.  It allows the patient to perform an independent movement while the body is supported through the dynamic system of bungee cords.   The Spider Cage allows the child to sustain postures without therapist assistance while allowing freedom of movement and facilitating balance.  It assists in learning functional transitions, weight shifting, and improves proprioception and arousal.  

Goals of the Spider Cage:  

  • Promote developmental milestones
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Improve stabilization
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Promote functional independence
  • Prevent muscle atrophies
  • Improve sensory integration

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