What is Bobath?

Bobath is a type of physiotherapy treatment which aims to improve movement and mobility in patients with damage to their central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Many physiotherapists use Bobath in the rehabilitation of patients with neurological conditions to promote the sensory and motor pathways and facilitate normal movement and motor control.
The Bobath concept is also known as ‘neuro-developmental treatment’ (NDT).


  • It is an approach/concept, not a method
  • It recognises that all clients with neurodisability have the potential for enhanced function
  • It recognises the need for thorough analysis of each patient’s functional skills
  • need for the person’s own activity
  • It is based on the brain’s ability to reorganise


The Bobath approach rests on a number of principles that include:

  • Encouragement of normal movement patterns
  • Focusing on quality of movement
  • Normalisation of tone to facilitate active movement
  • Positioning and posture in lying, sitting and standing
  • Discouragement of compensatory movements
  • Discouragement of muscle strength training
  • Promotion of maximum functional recovery to improve quality of independence





  • Normalise tone
  • Regain motor control
  • Make movements easier to achieve that are precise and goal directed
  • Improve posture
  • Lengthen tight muscles to help decrease spasticity and reduce contractures
  • Improve ability with everyday activities
  • Increase independence
  • Achieve maximum potential


In the Bobath Concept, postural control is the foundation on which patients begin to develop their skills. Patients undergoing this treatment typically learn how to control postures and movements and then progress to more difficult ones. Therapists analyze postures and movements and look for any abnormalities that may be present when asked to perform them.

Activities assigned by a Physiotherapist to an individual who has suffered from a stroke are selected based on functional relevance and are varied in terms of difficulty and the environment in which they are performed. The use of the individual’s less involved segments, also known as compensatory training strategies, are avoided. Carryover of functional activities in the home and community setting is largely attributed to patient, family and caregiver education.

Bobath is currently used to treat neurological conditions including:

  • Head Injury
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Parkinson’s disease

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