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Institute for Special Systemic Therapy

Highly Professional Expertise Focused on our Patients

The company philosophy of ISST is to supply patients with comprehensive, customized therapies and adapting the therapeutical possibilities through stringent quality standards to achieve the best possible treatment result: More quality of life for the patient! Patients and therapists are partners in personalized therapy.

Establishment of ISST

The Institute for Special Systemic Therapy (ISST) – International Center for Rehabilitation was founded by Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen in Unna, Germany in 1984. Since that time, they have accumulated expertise, which allows them to competently advise, diagnosis, treat and handle patients fairly. The ISST defines its purpose as a competent provider of therapies to promote and rehabilitate the health of its patients. Our institute concentrates its rehabilitation services in the areas of language, speech, motion, cognition, nerve function, pain, hearing deficits, vertigo and sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea.

The Founders of the ISST Unna

The founders of the ISST Unna, Dr. Klaus-J. Berndsen und Sabine Berndsen

Since ISST’s beginnings, the institute has been involved in intensive concerted research with universities hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and international specialists to continually develop new efficacious treatment methods and assistive technologies to aid ill and andicapped individuals. Today ISST represents an innovative team of therapists, who have a competent and modern scientific understanding of diagnosis, therapy and special individual forms of rehabilitation.

New research ideas are often realized through practical work, which Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen experience with their patients. The development of new therapy methods and assistive technologies emerge primarily through patient contact. In many cases, their developments have emerged from the critical analyses of current theories and treatment methods which required much needed revisions. Some of their methods and devices have been issued patents. Many of their developments are used currently by physicians and therapists worldwide.

Creativity and Personal Experience as Stimulation for New Developments

Philip BerndsenAt the beginning of every new development, there is always the necessity moskitoto provide specific aids for a special patient. This happened in 1991 when son of Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen was born with cerebral palsy (CP). As afflicted parents, the Berndsens wanted to do everything possible to limit the extent of the handicap. Over the years, they visited physicians and therapists in Germany and abroad, including trips that took them for weeks at a time to the Ukraine, USA, South America, Hungary, Poland and as far as China. Unfortunately, only slight improvements were seen in their son’s condition and their wish that he would be able to learn to walk did not materilize over the years.

Because both parents possessed a comprehensive therapeutic understanding and could complement this experience through the variety of international expert findings, they began to develop their own improved methods and equipment, which they applied to their patients and their own son. In fact many who were afflicted, including their son, were able to gradually improve their movements and even learn to stand and walk. All assistive techniques and equipment are continually refined and have been developed into a highly individualized treatment methods. At ISST, patients from all over the world are treated with these methods.

Self-Development of Medical Equipment

Entwicklung medizintechnischer Geräte

Generally, industry neglects products, which have minimal demand, resulting in an unprofitable product. Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen began arduously to build the urgently needed assistive devices during evenings in their own workshop. These devices were mainly built for a particular patient and were made available to the patient either free of cost or charged only for the material cost. New legal regulations bound to extensive and expensive testing procedures of the products made the creative venture increasingly more difficult to maintain. For a variety of assistive technologies, the inventors were awarded patents for their work.

Scientific Publication and Publicity

Concerning the application of their inventions, new forms of therapy, technologies and research results, Berndsen/Berndsen publish this information in books and professional journals. Television, radio and print media report repeatedly about their new therapeutic methods and technological developments.

Univesity Seminars, Professional Training for Physicians and Therapists

Besides their therapeutic work at ISST, Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen teach seminars at different universities in Germany and abroad and are active clinical work. In the framework of these responsibilities, they guide research and supervise the scientific development.

Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen regularly instruct vocational and professional trainings for physicians and therapists in their own and in differing worldwide facilities, at congresses, etc. Thereby, the focus is on scientific involvement and practical implementation of the therapeutic methods and technical applications which Berndsen/Berndsen developed at ISST in Unna.

Facilities at the Institute for Special Systemic Therapy

praxis-04-w praxis-19-w Trainingsraum praxis-10-w

The therapies at ISST are supported through modern assistive technologies. For diagnosis and treatment, rooms for single or group treatments, training and rehabiltation rooms with technical equipment, modern instrumentation, a nap room and outside therapy possibilities.

Employees at ISST

To ensure trusted, personable contact between patient and therapist, the ISST is organized in spatial, staff manageable and familial structure. The ISST therapists are required to have a university degree (Master’s) in the area of rehabilitation and thereafter to obtain technical specialization at ISST which last several years. The therapists are distinguished by their high level of technical expertise and social intelligence.

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Institute for Special Systemic Therapy

Wasserstr. 25
D-59423 Unna

Fon: +49 (0) 23 03 / 86 88 8
Fax: +49 (0) 23 03 / 89 88 6

E-Mail: info@isst-unna.de

Intensive Therapy

Intensive therapies have been given by ISST in Unna for many years. Local, national and international patients have taken advantage of this offering.

Until 2010, patients from 92 different countries have taken part or introduced themselves to the treatment opportunities at ISST.

The goal of the intensive therapies is the significant improvement of functional operation or functional compensation of inherited or acquired disabilities: Diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, diabilities due to accidents, syndroms and of disruptions in the following activities:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Swallowing
  • Motion
  • Body tension
    and balance
  • Speaking
  • Perception
    and cognition

The special therapies of ISST are well-known for their effectiveness and are supervised by experienced, long-standing academically and practically trained ISST therapists. Besides expert professionalism, an empathetic and individual conduct with the patients is furthermore an important basis for a success therapy outcome. The therapy module is designed for every individual patient.

ISST Principles

  • Supervision of individual treatment in a well-observed and familial atmosphere with specially trained rehabilitation personnel.
  • Execution of highly controlled quality standards when necessary
  • A trusting relationship between therapists and patients
  • Avoidance of site and personnel expansions at ISST
  • Limited number of intensive patients at any one time during treatment – maximum of 5 patients

Variable Intensive Therapy Time Courses

  • Compact weekly
    Duration of 1 to 12 weeks
  • Daily treatment schedule
    of 3 to 5 units
  • Daily for several hours
  •  Weekend schedule

The duration of the intensive courses are agreed between ISST and the individual patient.

Accomodation During Treatment

All intensive patients and their loved ones are accomodated outside of the ISST premises. There are hotels, private pensions or apartments near ISST available for accomodation needs. Outside the therapy schedule, nursing staff may be ordered when necessary. The costs for food, lodging, nursing care, etc. are not covered in the treatment costs.

Supplementary Services

Supplementary services are available if required:

  • Shuttle service between airport and ISST
  • Daily shuttle service to the treatment
  • Hotel or apartment booking
  • Car rental booking
  • Nursing care booking

Intensive Therapy Costs

Intensive therapies are private demands. Generally, patients are responsible for the treatment costs. If the costs are to be paid by a third party, the patient must clarify the arrangement before the start of therapy. A signed statement from the third party of compulsory payment must be presented to ISST prior services rendered.

Cardiovascular and Strength Training

Our individual cardiovascular and strength training is based on an individual medically based therapy plan, which our specialists will prepare using extensive diagnostics. The training units are carried out under professional guidance and supervision following this schedule.

Components of Cardiovascular and Strength Training

  • Single therapy
  • Customized equipment training with instruction
  • Nordic Walking with instruction
  • Customized gymnastic exercises
  • Development of a customized training program for the home
  • Controls
    • Blood pressure
    • Pulse
      Oxygen saturation
    • Nose flow
    • Lip strength


Cardiovascular Strength Training at ISST


Akupaedia with Sound

The ISST developed Akupaedia with Sound therapy (AMK, Berndsen/Berndsen) expands the reduced or blocked acoustic patterns, initiating a development pattern for a person with hearing weaknesses. Furthermore, the acoustic system broadly influences an activation process in the central nervous system (brain).

AMK-TherapieThrough AMK, objective measurable hearing improvements can be obtained. Many patients are able to discontinue their use of hearing aids after treatment. The continual need with such devices is no longer required because they find that their hearing has greatly improved or has reached an acceptable level.

In differing experiments, other positive outcomes were shown: Increased attention span, concentration and productivity of the patients. At the same time, the AMK is effective on speech development and muscle tension of handicapped children. High blood pressure and Tinnitus (concerning Tinnitus, the AMK is supported with KVT Therapy) respond positively. Autistic and hyperactive children use AMK to influence perception capability and behaviors, generating a positive total development.

Distinction to Tomatis Therapy

In the AMK Therapy, the inclusion of mothers’ voices in the sound offering is necessarily left out because during experiments in which the majority of the patients were included, there were no differences seen in the restrictive sound offering. Considering wishes of the patient, the voice of the mother can be recorded and used without problem in the sound spectrum.

Other differences to the Tomatis-Therapy are a continual adjustment to the sound spectrum, especially in frequencies of patient hearing and an offering of optimally determined and carefully chosen sound examples with minimal noise components.

Patent Grant

The creators of the AMK therapy, Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen, were granted patents for this method in conjunction with a new hearing device technology.


KVT Therapy

Sound Ventilation Tone Therapy

Three Essential Areas of Influence Characterizing the Treatment:


Influence on the peripheral and central acoustic functions as well as on persistent phantom noise (Tinnitus) through the application of sound spectra, which are matched appropriately to the individual patient hearing capacity (AMK = Akupaedie with Sounds, Berndsen/Berndsen). To stabilize the accomplished improvements or capabilities, a CD is recorded that is listened to at home during the habit-forming and facilitating phases. A common CD player and high quality closed earphones are required.


Application of a specific neurophysiological exercise program, which has influence on the functional ventilation in the middle ear and opening function of the Eustachian tubes as well as facilitating the physiological breathing, lip, tongue and soft palate activity. The goal is to improve the ventilation mechanism in the middle ear, in the sinuses and an improvement in the blood oxygen level of the total organism.


Influence on the functions of specific muscles of the body, special head-balancing muscles, the facial, swallowing and mandibular musculature, the dental occlusion and mandibular-joint function through a kinetically corrective treatment. This function sequence developed at ISST is for every patient in support of diagnostic determination of data, individualized and adapted.

Goal of the Therapy

A fundamental treatment goal is a functional rearrangement, which must be accomplished against prevailing habits and incorrect muscle use. To do this, routine corrective applications over a long time are required. Symptoms can sometimes become influenced spontaneously through use of medications. However, the cause is not treated and an unhealthy stress often reoccurs. Feelings of suffering and hopelessness in the patients increases through such negative experiences and create often psychosomatic symptoms.

The goal of the KVT Therapy is to recognize and to treat causes simultaneously. The singular disorder should be alleviated if possible or greatly improved. The incorrect functional developments have been established in the patient over many years and often since childhood. The fact that long and continually strengthened undesirable developments can never be in the short-term corrected is logical and must not be disputed. The KVT therapy needs a longer time to reach set goals, circa 3 to 12 months. This does not mean that the patient can experience improvements in this time. Most patients report after the first weeks that they have obtained positive developments. The feeling that there was a positive influence on the stressful disorder gives the afflicted motivation and strength to keep going on consequently with the treatment over several months. The daily exertion for the patients is kept at a minimum, circa 3 x daily, 7 to 10 minutes.

Inflammatory processes must be handled before KVT therapy or the appropriate medication must be prescribed for their treatment!


Combined Shockwave Therapy

Many people have persisting pain involving their joints, muscles, tissues and tendon which lasts months or even years. The result is a nonending search for effective help and the hopeful access to different types of therapy. If the pain persists, the uncertainty of effective help increases. Perhaps one makes the decision to have an operation. Unfortunately, surgery does not guarantee relief and it is not without risk.

We recommend to try out stress-free effective methods early. Treatment with schockwaves is generally regarded as harmless and free from side effects. Their efficacy has been proven over the years and has been optimized through new technology. Our additional interactive and functional movement program concentrates on a few exercises and should prevent restriction of mobility or rather prevent immobility.

Combined Shockwave Therapy

For the treatment of joint, tendon and muscle pain, we combine customized movement and position exercises with a high energy shockwave therapy. Shockwaves are acoutic pressure waves lasting for an extremely short time. Intensity and frequency are adapted to the treatment area.

The schockwave can be focussed deep within the tissue or radiated over the surface. Its energy is released in the tissue types with differing densities (i.e. bone-soft tissue; lime-soft tissue).

By ESWTfuerUser (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Punktförmig fokussierende und linear fokussierende Stoßwelle

  • Jaw pain (Arthralgia)
  • Migrains
  • Calcific tendinitis (Tendinosis calcarea)
  • Tennis elbow (Epicondylitis humeri ulnaris)
  • Heel spur (Fascilitis plantaris)
  • Golf Elbow (Tendinosis humer ulnars
  • Jumpers knee (Patellar tendinitis)
  • Movement disturbances/paralysis: i.e. cerebral palsy, stroke, accidents, etc.
  • Cellulitis
  • Bursitis i.e. of the hip (Bursitis trochanterica)
  • Inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achillodynie)
  • Shoulder tendon disease (shoulder supraspinatus syndrome)
  • Shin splints
  • Muscle tone disturbances, trigger points, myofascial pain syndrome



Weight loss with sense! Weight loss without the yoyo effect!  Weight loss without hunger! Weight loss without diets! Weight loss without having to count calories! The EatGood method of Dr. Berndsen/Berndsen is a completely new approach to weight loss. EatGood does not stand for an especially good meal, but is much more about a better quality of functional digestion through eating, drinking, swallowing, taste sensitivity, breathing, head balance, etc. The EatGood method is about a correct functioning system incorporating important pre-digestive and digestive processes and metabolism.

Ideal Weight With EatGood

How often have you already tried only to become frustrated and pigging out afterwards to satisfy that frustration? You have chosen the correct nutrition. Are you sure what that is? Most of the information we receive about nutrition seem plausible, but the fact is that the information is pure speculation. Still the only convincing method in which everyone is able to lose weight effectively, is to simply eat less over a time.

How can one understand these goals?
Why must I change tested movements and functions of eating and drinking to reach my ideal weight?

The fact that something obviously functions smoothly is never a sign that a process operates correctly without problems. This is reason why false movements of our arms, legs, hips, etc. first present health problems long after they have begun. For example, walking from A to B was always no problem then one day pain is noticeable in the hips. The reason is in most cases, is that stress had gradually induced over the years which we had not noticed. The same goes for eating and drinking. We can do so without problem. Inspite of this, those functions do not have to be correct.  In most cases, weight gain is connected with such functional disorders. Considering this fact, the EatGood method assumes that the correction of habitual false behaviors is the central premise that body weight can be reduced and maintained successfully and effortlessly. How good is it when what is normal and correct leads to success!

Countless people could reduce and maintain their weights with the EatGood method without having to fear the dreaded yoyo effect. By correcting wrong behaviors and habits, people are able to create a foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Which Skills Are Trained Primarily By the EatGood Method?

1. Excitment of Brain Nerve Functions – Sight, Smell, Taste, Swallowing

Optimization of Food Consumption

  • Danger control (temperature – hot, cold – over 43°C is painful, protein denaturation / Composition – pungent, acidic
  • Enjoyment (smell – fruity, foul, etc.)

Olfactory Perception

  • Fine taste evolves on the foundation sense of smell:
  • Oral Perception of Food (taste: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami (savory)
  • Inner Mouth Sensitivity
  • Retronasal Olfactory Perception
  • Differentiated smelling of flavors

2. Excitment and Correction of Functional Processes

  • Mastication Function / Mastication Time
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Tongue Sensitivity, Tongue Movement, Tongue Position
  • Swallowing
  • Breathing
  • Head Balance

3. General Processes

  • Motivational Training
  • Customized Movement Training
  • Customized Diet

Optional Complementary Helping Aids

  • The possibility for individually instructed equipment training
  • Individuelly guided equipment training
  • Attendance in Nordic Walking training
  • Drinking cure
  • Nutrition advice
  • Functional Measurements
    • Blood pressure
    • Pulse
    • Oxygen saturation
    • Nose flow
    • Lip strength
    • Weight

The EatGood method is instructed by well-qualified and certified therapists.et.


Persons who have motor disturbances can begin complex motor coordination through SDS, supporting their reactivation. Depending on the movement frequency, especially in the alpha wave spectrum (8-13 Hz), the condition of relaxed alertness can be manually induced, ordering concentration processes, which gradually support sensitive movement perception. In the prone position, position and motion as well as body perception over visual controls are experienced and learned.

Spinal Dynamic Surfing
SDS (Berndsen/Berndsen)

The SDS therapy functions by exposing a water-filled, motion-sensitive lying surface to ultrasound. The surface of the lying area is made of a special very thin and soft membrane. The filling of water has a constant temperature of 32°C. The complete water element lies on four large loud speakers, which are fixed to the frame, insonifying the SDS system with ultrasound. High frequency spectra are used primarily for insonification and are carried by water molecules. The specially developed sounds (AMK) are augmented with custom designed sound spectra.

The water-filled covering conforms to the contacting body parts evenly and comfortably. Body motions are matched to the relaxing water movement, which move in wave and spiral formations. Body coordination and perception are subconsciously active similar to a meditative condition. Through the improvement of body sensitivity, the ability to coordinate routine movements increases.

A further impulse is set by way of varying and custom matched sound spectra (compare “AkuPaedie with Sounds,” AMK from Berndsen/Berndsen). Because the membrane of the water element is in direct contact with the loud speaker, the ultrasound waves are directed through the water and relayed to the body. The acoustic stimuli initiate physical and psychological influences on hearing in which the skin, tissue, bones and ears receive the information. Through receptors, sensory actions, fine muscle contractions and brain activity are stimulated, improving assimilation of information.

In the second phase of the SDS therapy, a “Sensoliege” is used to place the body into a concave position. The Sensoliege is balanced, so that respiration alone causes it to move. Breathing rhythm and body movement are brought into harmony and the goal of the SDS therapy is strengthened.

„With SDS, I have again for the first time felt and seen that my whole body can move. After my accident four years ago, I could no longer feel any movement from hips to toes.”

Citation of a paralyzed young woman

Application of SDS Therapy for the Activation of the Following Functions

  • Relaxation
  • Perception
  • Training of motion skills
  • Body perception
  • Control of motion
  • Concentration
  • Brain activity
  • Balance


Tramp Trainer

Therapy-Supported Training with High-Quality Equipment

The training on the tramp coach is considerably more intense than on a hard floor panel due to an elastic, soft jumping mat. Spine and joints are spared the same time. The trainee obtains energetic charge instead of sufferring harmful mechanical shock effects.

Tramp Trainer is used in rehabilitation as well as in recreational and competitive sports. Fields of application are, inter alia, treating handicaps after injury or surgery on the ankle, knee and hip joints, in obesity or osteoporosis prevention.

Gentle Training for Spinal Column and Joints

Tramp Trainer

  • Body coordination
  • Muscle strength of legs, back and abdomen
  • Motor functions and balance
  • Pelvic floor
  • Leaded motion
  • Gentle load on joints and skeletal system
  • Strength and power
  • Cardio-Vascular Training

Numerous applicationss and indications

  • Coordination disturbances
  • Musculature dysfunction
  • Balance disturbances
  • After injuries or operations on foot, knee and hip joints
  • Physical disability
  • Paralysis
  • Osteoporosis prevention
  • Abduction or extension
  • Other disorders (please ask our specialists)


Quelle: Frei AG

Positive characteristics of Tramp Trainer application

  • Alternating tension and relaxation of the complete body musculature
  • Activation of metabolism, digestive organs, lymph system and cardiovascular system
  • Alternating between binding and stretching of the body
  • Guided motion
  • Gentle stress placed on joints and skeletal system
  • By specific placement the patient’s body weight is reduced and employed in a dose-dependent manner with the training