Physiotherapy based on the Bobath concept for adults with post-stroke hemiplegia: a review of effectiveness studies

J Rehabil Med. 2003 Jan;35(1):2-7. doi: 10.1080/16501970306106.


The Bobath concept, also known as neurodevelopmental treatment, is a widely used approach in the rehabilitation of hemiparetic subjects in many countries. Despite 50 years of clinical use its effectiveness is questionable. This paper aims to examine whether there is evidence to accept neurodevelopmental treatment as an effective approach. A systematic literature search was undertaken. Fifteen trials have been selected and classified according to a 5-level hierarchic scale of evidence for clinical interventions. Results show no evidence proving the effectiveness of neurodevelopmental treatment or supporting neurodevelopmental treatment as the optimal type of treatment, but neither do methodological limitations allow for conclusions of non-efficacy. Methodological aspects of selected studies are discussed and requirements for further research are suggested.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Hemiplegia / etiology
  • Hemiplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Hemiplegia / therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / methods*
  • Stroke / complications
  • Treatment Outcome