Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme

Where medical meets magical

The Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Foundation programme is a clinically effective, fun and engaging approach to therapy. It’s designed to help young people with hemiplegia, a weakness or paralysis affecting one side of the body caused by an injury to the brain.

Grounded in world-class medical research, this award-winning approach gives young people access to 78 hours of intensive therapy AND transforms them into young magicians! Specialist occupational therapists work alongside Magic Circle magicians to teach magic tricks designed to develop hand and arm function, cognitive abilities, self-confidence and independence.

See the magic in action below.


Approximately 1 in 1300 young people have hemiplegia. At least 65% of them (in the 7-19 age bracket the programme is designed for) could benefit from intensive motor therapy. For 60% of those it also affects their psychosocial development.

As yet, young people with hemiplegia have no access to intensive bimanual (two-handed) therapies in the UK despite this approach receiving a ‘Green Light’ in a recent systematic review (Novak et al., 2013) and being supported by NICE guidelines (CG145, 2012).

Depending on initial abilities, between 75% and 92% of children have clinically significant improvements in hand function after the Breathe Magic camp.

I have had dozens of young magicians through our clinic over the past few years. From an evidence base, what is obvious are the real and sustained benefits in two-hand function. But just as important is seeing the fun the young people have had and the genuine leap in their self-esteem and confidence.

Dr Charlie Fairhurst, Consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability, Evelina London Children’s Hospital


  • Our research shows that participants had clinically significant improvements in bimanual (two-handed) motor skills and independence. These were well maintained at the 6 month follow-up assessments.
  • Reported improvements in psychological wellbeing and parent-child relationships.
  • Reported reductions in hours of care and support from parents following the young person’s participation in the programme, due to their newfound independence. Our preliminary research suggests a reduction of up to 4 hours per day in care and support needed per young person between their two primary carers.
  • More cost-effective than standard care (a mixture of individual occupational therapy interventions and BoTXN) with additional psychosocial benefits reported.
  • Gives the young person and their family the opportunity to create peer support networks.

Her confidence has grown tremendously and the use of her hand is absolutely amazing. She is now trying everything with both hands.

Susan, mother of Louise-Anne (11)


  • 10-day intervention over two consecutive weeks, followed by 3 bi-monthly full day Breathe Magic Clubs over the following six months, taking place on a Saturday. A total of 78 hours of intensive therapy is delivered over the course of the programme.
  • 1-to-1 therapy in a group setting, delivering interventions tailored to suit each young person’s particular needs.

Still looking for more? Check out stories of past people who have attended camp on our Testimonials page.

We are delighted to select Breathe Magic for the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Rehabilitation. They make a real difference to the lives of the young people they treat. This award will help Breathe expand its services to benefit more young people throughout the UK, and we look forward to helping them with this.

Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Director for Innovation, NHS England


The following are our main eligibility criteria for young people attending the Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme. Please be assured that a ‘no’ to any criterion doesn’t necessarily mean your child is ineligible as each young person will undergo an assessment with one of our Clinical Lead Occupational Therapists before being accepted on to the programme.

  • Aged 7 to 18 years at time of the camp
  • In mainstream education
  • Keen to learn magic
  • Able to follow multi-step instructions
  • Able to work as part of a group

To register your interest or discuss a young person’s suitability for the programme, please contact us here. Alternatively, you can express your interest by filling in our referral form on the link below.

In magic camp everybody believes in me, I’m not the only one with hemiplegia now. I feel much happier.

Alfie, 12


Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we have had to cancel our 2020/21 Breathe Magic Camps. We are hopeful to run our next foundation programme camp in London, Summer 2022.

If you would like to register your interest in the 2022 programme now you can do so by completing the form on the link below. Following this our team will be in touch to discuss whether the programme is a suitable option for your child.

(Green, D., Schertz, M., Gordon, A. M., Moore, A., Schejter Margalit, T., Farquharson, Y., Fattal-Valevski, A. (2013). A multi-site study of functional outcomes following a themed approach to hand–arm bimanual intensive therapy for children with hemiplegia. Developmental Medicine ; Child Neurology, 55(6), 527–533)

(Fancourt, D., Wee, J. and Lorencatto, F. (2020). Identifying mechanisms of change in a magic-themed hand-arm bimanual intensive therapy programme for children with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy: a qualitative study using behaviour change theory. BMC Pediatrics, 20 (1), 363)