I am in the throes of a few patients that are completing phase one and am trying to introduce the disk hold and Elevator Disk exercise. I wonder if you could tell me how you know whether to begin with one or more disks and how many you would go up to. I am not sure about how to determine this from patient to patient and also do not seem to have enough disks for how many I think they would eventually need. Can you give me some more information about these exercises? Thanks!
First a little history is needed. Years ago there was a similar looking exercise that targeted strengthening the lips and bilabial closure. It involved using multiple, heavy, marble-like disks. The kit contained 12 of them and patients started with one and built up to as many as they could lift. Years later, many therapists noticed that the clients who’d had any type of TMD symptoms were experiencing negative effects of that exercise. With that in mind, here is how that situation evolved to bring us the Disk Elevator materials and exercises that we use today. I searched for about a year to find the braiding and could not find anything acceptable. I wanted the material to be cotton and boilable and just the right thickness and strength. I eventually found a manufacturer to make it for my company. I wanted the disks to be extremely light weight and colorful, with the hole in the center. Again, I was fortunate enough to find a supplier for my company. The intention of this “new” exercise is not related to strengthening the lips and bilabial closure, although bilabial is a bi-product of this exercise. We actually have several others that deal more directly with bilabial closure. The Elevator Disk exercise was specifically developed to be used at the end of Phase One in most cases with the purpose of coordinating the earlier learned movements, excursions, and dissociation of tongue, lips, and mandible. Since the weight and number of disks is unrelated to these goals, one disk is sufficient to accomplish the goal of this exercises. I have on occasion added an additional disk or more, merely to act as a “reward” for work well done, but it has nothing to do with the real purpose of the exercise. That is why the package contains a dozen disks and a dozen twine lengths, essentially one disk per braiding section and enough for 12 individual clients.