Vestibular Rehabilitation, which is a form of Balance Retraining Therapy, has emerged over the past several years as an alternative treatment for patients with chronic non-resolved motion intolerance, visual sensitivity, and imbalance problems. Patients get better and return to normal lives because of this treatment. The history and how of vestibular rehabilitation are important keys to knowing why therapy works and what therapy type will be most successful.
Although Vestibular Rehabilitation has only recently gained international acceptance, the concept of coordinated head, body, and eye exercises as a treatment for vestibular disorders is actually over 60 years old. As far back as the mid-1940's, an English Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor, Dr. Cawthorne, observed that some dizzy patients did better or recovered sooner when performing rapid head movements. In cooperation with a physiotherapist, Cooksey, they developed a regimen of exercises which are still used today, with some modification. Also, in the late 1960's, the discovery of particles in the inner ear lead to the development of the Brandt-Daroff Activity in the 1980's and in the early 90's with the Parnes, Semont, and Epley leading the way to repositioning maneuvers.
Since the resurgence of interest and research in vestibular/balance rehabilitation in the mid-1980's, hundreds of articles have been published in otolaryngology, neurology, and physical therapy journals. The overwhelming conclusion of these research studies has documented the benefits of this management strategy for patients with vestibular dysfunction as well as other disorders of the balance system.