Patients’ Experiences of Self-Administered Electrotherapy for Spasticity in Stroke and Cerebral Palsy: A Qualitative Study


  • Lise-Lotte Jonasson Department of Nursing, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Sweden
  • Ann Sörbo
  • Per Ertzgaard
  • Leif Sandsjö



patients’ experiences, self-administered, electrotherapy, spasticity, Mollii Suit®, qualitative study


Objective: To explore patients’ experiences of a self-administered electrotherapy treatment for muscle spasticity in cerebral palsy and stroke; the Exopulse Mollii Suit®.
Design: Qualitative design with an inductive approach
Subjects: Fifteen patients with spasticity due to stroke or cerebral palsy, participating in a previous randomized controlled trial evaluating the treatment concept.
Methods: Information letters were sent to all potential participants (n = 27) in the previous study. Semi-structured interviews (21–57 min) were carried out with all subjects who volunteered (n = 15), administered by an experienced interviewer who was not involved in the previous study. Transcribed interviews were subject to content analysis.
Results: The 5 categories that emerged from the content analysis were “New method gives hope”, experiences related to “Using the assistive technology”, “Outcome from training with the assistive technology”, “The assistive technology” and “Taking part in the study”. Respondents felt hopeful when included in the previous study, motivated when experiencing a treatment effect, and disappointed when not.
Conclusion: The qualitative approach used in this study elicited complementary information that was not evident from the previous randomized controlled trial. This included statements regarding increased mobility, reduced spasticity, reduced use of medication, and problems related to using the treatment concept.

Fifteen patients who had tried the assistive technology Exopulse Mollii Suit®, an electrotherapy concept against muscle spasticity housed in a tight-fitting suit, were interviewed about their experiences. Increased mobility, reduced spasticity, and a reduction in the use of medication for spasticity-related symptoms were positive outcomes described by participants, although this was not experienced by everyone. Interest in continuing using the treatment for home-based training after the study was based on each individual’s experience of whether the treatment was effective, the (initial) motivation, and determination to try the new concept, the support from relatives or home service personnel to use the treatment and overcome difficulties that might appear, and the overall usability of the electrotherapy suit. The participants’ interest in using the training concept thus depended on the outcome from using the suit, motivation to use the suit, the usability of the suit, and available support when using the suit.


Download data is not yet available.


Lundstrom E, Terent A, Borg J. Prevalence of disabling spasticity 1 year after first-ever stroke. Eur J Neurol 2008; 15: 533-539. DOI:

Shevell MI, Dagenais L, Hall N, Repacq C. The relationship of cerebral palsy subtype and functional motor impairment: a population-based study. Dev Med Child Neurol 2009; 51: 872-877. DOI:

Palmcrantz S, Pennati GV, Bergling H, Borg J. Feasibility and potential effects of using the electro-dress Mollii on spasticity and functioning in chronic stroke. J NeuroEngineering Rehabil 2020; 17: 109. DOI:

Flodström C, Viklund Axelsson S-A, Nordström B. A pilot study of the impact of the electro-suit Mollii® on body functions, activity, and participation in children with cerebral palsy, Assist Technol 2021. DOI:

Hedin H, Wong C, Sjödén A. The effects of using an electrodress (Mollii®) to reduce spasticity and enhance functioning in children with cerebral palsy: a pilot study. Eur J Physiother 2020. DOI:

Ertzgaard P, Alwin J, Sörbo A, Lindgren M, Sandsjö L. Evaluation of a self-administered transcutaneous electrical stimulation concept for the treatment of spasticity: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2018; 54: 507-517. DOI:

Kvale S, Brinkmann S. Interviews learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. 3rd edn. London: Sage; 2015.

Dahlberg K, Dahlberg H, Nyström M. Reflective lifeworld research. Lund: Studentlitteratur; 2008.

Graneheim UH, Lundman B. Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Educ Today 2004; 24: 105-112. DOI:

Doan VQ, Brascher A, Gillard JP, Varon SF, Vandenburgh AM, Turkel CC, et al. Relationship between disability and health-related quality of life and caregiver burden in patients with upper limb poststroke spasticity. Am Acad Phys Med Rehabil 2012; 481: 4-10. DOI:

Pradines M, Ghedira M, Portero R, Masson I, Marciniak C, Hicklin D, et al. Ultrasound structural changes in triceps surae after a 1-year daily self-stretch program: a prospective randomized controlled trial in chronic hemiparesis. Neurorehabil Neural Repair 2019; 33: 245-259. DOI:

Sandström K, Samuelsson K, Öberg B. Prerequisites for carrying out physiotherapy and physical activity - experiences from adults with cerebral palsy. Disabil Rehabil 2009; 31: 161-169. DOI:

Jahnsen R, Villien L, Egeland T, Stanghelle JK, Holm I. Locomotion skills in adults with cerebral palsy. Clin Rehabil 2004; 18: 309-316. DOI:

Montané E, Vallano A, Laporte J. R. Oral antispastic drugs in nonprogressive neurologic diseases. A systematic review. Neurology 2004; 63: 1357-1363. DOI:

Paasche Orlow M, Wolf M. The causal pathways linking health literacy to health outcomes. Am J Health Behav 2007; 31: 19-26. DOI:

BH Marcus,VC Selby, RS Niaura, JS Rossi. Self-efficacy and stages of motion behavior change. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 2013; 60-66. DOI:

van Diemen T, Craig A, van Nes IJW, SELF-SCI Group. Enhancing our conceptual understanding of state and trait self-efficacy by correlational analysis of four self-efficacy scales in people with spinal cord injury. BMC Psychol 2020; 8: 108. DOI:

Kvale S, Brinkmann S. Den kvalitativa forskningsintervjun. [The qualitative research interview]. Lund: Studentlitteratur; 2014 (in Swedish).



How to Cite

Jonasson, L.-L., Sörbo, A., Ertzgaard, P., & Sandsjö, L. (2022). Patients’ Experiences of Self-Administered Electrotherapy for Spasticity in Stroke and Cerebral Palsy: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 54, jrm00263.



Original Report