Frequently Asked Questions About

Upper Core Muscles


The EmBrace


• What is the upper core?

The upper core is the portion of the torso around the ribs and up to the shoulders. In contrast, the lower core is the section of the torso from the bottom of the ribs down to the pelvis. The lower core (area from below the ribs to pelvis) is the area that is referred to when you are told, "you need to strengthen your core."
• What is the upper core essential for?

Good upper core strength

is essential for:
• Posture - it allows us to sit straight and tall.
• Breathing - it enables one to take a full breath, speak louder, and say multiple sentences with one breath.
• Arms and hands movement - it provides stability for a person to have a good range-of-motion, flexibility and function of the arms and hands.
• Effective cough - minimize the risk of choking and pneumonia.
• What happens when the

upper core is weak

When the upper core is weak:
• Posture will be poor. The individual will have rounded shoulders, slouched upper back with forward head posture. Also, one may have trouble sitting independently for a period of time without support.
• Breathing and speaking will be affected. The individual will have difficulty taking full breaths and will become short of breath easily. One may have difficulty saying more than a few words on a single breath and may have difficulty speaking loud enough to be heard in general conversation or in a group conversation.
• Slouched posture will interfere with range of motion and strength of the arms and hands. One will have difficulty reaching for objects overhead and may have difficulty opening containers or carrying objects with two hands.
• A person has difficulty coughing and clearing the airway to prevent choking and aspirating.
• What are benefits of strengthening the upper core?
When the upper core is strong:
• One will have good posture, without rounded shoulders, without a slouched upper back and with good head posture. One will be able to sit for extended periods of time without needing support.
• Breathing and speaking are improved. The individual will be able to take full breaths with ease. Speech is easily understood with use of multiple word sentences and sufficient volume.
• Shoulder and arm range of motion allows one to reach for objects overhead, open containers and carrying objects without difficulty.
• A person can cough and clear the airway well to minimize choking and aspiring.
• How does
The EmBrace® Exercise Device
(Patented) work?
The EmBrace® Exercise Device (Patented) is designed by a Physical Therapist with a purpose of exercising and strengthening the upper core muscles. The upper core muscles are those that control the ribs with breathing and posture. When these muscles are strong, they help us sit straight, allow improved shoulder range of motion and stability, and aid in taking full breaths.
• Who can benefit from strengthening the upper core?
If you, your child, or a loved one have any of the struggles described above due to a weak upper core, there may be benefit from strengthening the upper core.
• Who may benefit from The EmBrace® Exercise Device?
Almost any person. This device may be appropriate for any person with any of the following conditions:

Diminished breath support

Diminished tidal volume (VT)

Decreased inspirational capacity (IC)

• Adults who have a

non-fixed thoracic kyphosis

• Adults and children who sit and stand with a

slouched posture

and/or a forward head posture
• Anyone who has had a history of

multiple pneumonias

• Poor scapular stability and poor upper extremity motor control
• Children who have had limited, or restricted, tummy time during the early stages of development
• Children who have delays in meeting developmental milestones
• Children who are unable to sit up straight by twelve months of age

Potential candidates for The EmBrace® Exercise Device may include, but are not limited to, persons with the following diagnoses:
• Low tone
• High tone
• Developmental Delay
• Cerebral Palsy
• Down's Syndrome
• Joubert Syndrome
• Pierre Robin Syndrome
• Noonan's Syndrome
• Deconditioning of the respiratory system
• Non-fixed thoracic kyphosis
• Little People (Dwarfism)
• Cystic Fibrosis
• How is the upper core strengthened?
The upper core includes twelve unique muscle groups that are between and around the ribs. These muscles are difficult to strengthen because their type and location. They do not respond to common exercises. Upper Core Technologies has created The EmBrace® Exercise Device for the purpose of strengthening this unique group of muscles.

Designed by a Physical Therapist, The EmBrace® Exercise Device provides mild resistance with each breath taken. Each breath then equals one repetition. It is the multiple repetitions of breathing while wearing The EmBrace® Exercise Device that provides strength to these upper core muscles.
• Do I need an Occupational, Physical, or Speech Therapist to use The EmBrace® Exercise Device?
No. You may choose to use it as a part of your therapy treatment program. It may be used as a personal home exercise program.
• What will my insurance company reimburse regarding The EmBrace® Exercise Device?
Medical Insurance Companies may not reimburse for the purchase of exercise devices. The EmBrace® is an exercise device.
• How long will The EmBrace® Exercise Device be used?
The EmBrace® Exercise Device is to be worn for three hours per day.

It is recommended that The EmBrace® Exercise Device be used a minimum of six months. It can be used beyond 6 months as desired.
• What does it feel like to wear the device?
The individual may experience only mild compression.
• When should The EmBrace® Exercise Device be replaced?
The EmBrace® Exercise Device is to be replaced when the device is torn or damaged.
• How do I know that The EmBrace® Exercise Device is no longer needed?
When the individual goals such as posture, shoulder function, vocal skills, and/or cough quality have improved.
• Is The EmBrace® Exercise Device registered with the FDA?
Yes, The EmBrace® Exercise Device has been registered with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2013.
• Self-management of health problems
Upper Core Technologies does not recommend the self-management of health problems. The information provided by Upper Core Technologies and its web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical advice of your provider. If a therapist or medical provider has questions regarding the treatment of a client using The EmBrace® Exercise Device, please contact us at
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