The first focus. Using sea mud for treatment nowadays requires a more research-based approach as well as the development of new uses. The equipment and technology used for extracting mud and storage conditions are outdated. Similarly, it is necessary to renew the equipment used for studying the working mechanisms of mud treatment in order to enable entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions. Entrepreneurs of the region have developed a clear interest in studying curative mud as a mineral and in identifying new fields of use as well as new technologies both in medicine and domestic use. So far curative mud has mainly been used to ease rheumatic complaints and problems with peripheral nervous system. There exists a long-term competence in treating these diseases in Haapsalu in the form of a neurological rehabilitation centre.
The task of the competence centre is to adapt the study of the working mechanisms of mud treatment to modern conditions. Among other things it is necessary:
* to identify the situation of curative mud deposits in Estonia and to chart possible new deposits;
* to assess the bio-geochemical composition of the mud of different curative mud deposits and identify their healing properties;
* to develop conditions for using the mud of small lakes and peat muds in treatment with the aim of using non-contaminated older sediments;
* to modernize and adapt mud treatment to a well-grounded use of short and long term mud treatment;
* to modernize instructions for using general and local mud treatment;
* to develop instructions for using mud treatment in different complex treatments (for example in combination with movement therapy, laser treatment, etc.);
* to develop instructions for using mud treatment in treating neurological diseases (spinal traumas, radiculopathies, etc.);
* to develop instructions for using mud treatment in the field of occupational health, both in preventative treatment (in case of pre-disease conditions of the neuromuscular apparatus, caused by working in forced positions, etc.) and in case of different occupational damage;
* to study the possibilities of using curative mud for improving the functional condition of muscles in case of movement therapy, by using modern research options (electroneuromyography, etc.).
* It is important to find new applications for mud treatment in health promotion and rehabilitation of the working population, including occupational health (occupational pathologies). The task of the competence centre is to find new target groups in applying mud treatment and to make the use of curative mud more accessible to a wider consumer base, in the framework of which developing new products constitutes an important goal. In connection with developing new applications of mud treatment, there will arise a need for new solutions in transportation and packaging which will create an opportunity for growth in export turnover of existing companies as well as for the emergence of new jobs and enterprises.
* In addition, one aim of the competence centre is to develop into an international authority who issues certificates that confirm the curative effect of curative mud.
The second focus is on assessment of the population’s mobility and physical activity, prevention and rehabilitation, based on the long-term experience of Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre in using rehabilitation methods (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychotherapy, social work) for the treatment of different neurological diseases. The rehabilitation centre works with assessing mobility and physical activity, prevention and rehabilitation, focusing on the treatment of children and adults with neurological damage. In 2009 a modern clinical motion and gait analysis laboratory was created in the rehabilitation centre, which makes it possible to assess the effect of different modern and traditional treatment methods (including mud treatment) on a person’s quality of life and coping.
The objective of the competence centre is to develop and apply rehabilitation techniques and methodologies of the population’s mobility and physical activity and to shape modern prevention strategies.
It is the task of the competence centre to select aiding devices for disabled people, assess the suitability of these devices and adjust them if necessary. The objective of the competence centre is to connect the competences of Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre to entrepreneurship (e.g. production companies, sports clubs, spa companies, tourist farms). The competence centre provides an input to entrepreneurship for developing, designing, producing, applying aiding devices (prostheses, orthoses, ergonomic solutions, vibro-acoustic products) to help with and improve mobility and physical activity. The centre supports the export growth of products and services.
At the present time there is little production of aiding devices that ensure the population’s mobility and physical activity (prostheses, orthoses, special needs furniture, vibroacoustic products, etc.), despite the existence of high-level knowledge of developing and using aiding devices in Estonia (UT Orthopaedics Clinic, East Tallinn Central Hospital Clinic of Medical Rehabilitation, etc.). In Läänemaa, Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre conducts three-dimensional movement tests to assess the need for and suitability of aiding devices. The rehabilitation centre has cooperation experience with several manufacturers of aiding devices (Gadox AS, Ortopeediakeskus OÜ, Invaru OÜ, Itak OÜ). Also, local entrepreneurs in Läänemaa have made products for people with special needs (e.g. furniture made in Hapval AS). According to 2009 information from the Business Register, there are about 90 manufacturing industry enterprises in Läänemaa, including 15 textile and clothing enterprises, 26 woodworking enterprises, among them 4 furniture producers, 5 enterprises that produce rubber, plastic, glass, and 11 metal-producing enterprises.
An important application, study and product development direction of the Health Design Centre of Tallinn University Institute of Fine Arts is the vibroacoustic method known as receptive music therapy (a method of therapy that is based on the combined effect of music and low-frequency sounds). Studies have looked at the influence of vibroacoustic stimulation and music on muscles, blood pressure, heart rate, feeling, the influence of natural sound backgrounds on feeling and applying vibroacoustic therapy in combination with art-based
therapy techniques. In the field of vibroacoustics there is cooperation with Jyväskyla University (known as physioacoustic method in Finland) and the method’s author Olav Skille (MultiVib). As a result of product development three models of vibroacoustic therapy equipment have been developed in 20 years with participation from Tallinn University scientists. These models are used in several places in Estonia.
The competence centre brings together the high-level knowledge of Estonia and involves foreign experts in order to create new, high-quality solutions to boost the production of aiding devices in Estonia and Läänemaa.