Toronto Physiotherapy introduces NASA AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill in Toronto

March 29, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
"I can't believe I'm walking!" laughed Amy as she increased her speed on the AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill, a new rehabilitation tool at Toronto Physiotherapy that allowed Amy to walk for the first time since undergoing microfracture knee surgery.

Amy's operation meant that she was unable to stand on her leg for 6 weeks. But with the help of technology developed by NASA to simulate reduced gravity environments, Amy can now walk easily on the AlterG. By walking on the AlterG before being able to stand on her own, Amy's physiotherapist hopes she will have a faster and more complete recovery.

The AlterG is used by professional sports teams throughout North America for advanced training and rehabilitation, but is only now beginning to make its way into the rehabilitation clinic setting.

The first AlterG treadmill in Toronto was installed in February at Toronto Physiotherapy, a leading physical therapy and rehabilitation clinic in Toronto. "The AlterG can help a wide variety of patients, from patients with sprained ankles, stress fractures or ACL reconstruction surgery, to joint replacement patients or neurological patients including stroke or Parkinson's", says Toronto Physiotherapy Clinic Director Lindsay Davey, "our therapists love it".

So how does it work? The AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill uses differential air-pressure to decrease the body weight of the user while they run or walk on the treadmill. To accomplish this, the user wears specialized shorts and zips their lower body into an inflatable sac. Air pressure in the sac is precisely controlled so that users can decrease their body weight down to 20%.

Walking or running in a bubble allows users to experience the powerful benefits of reduced gravity training, while maintaining normal walking and running body mechanics. In contrast to pool based rehabilitation, a common alternative, the AlterG enables true 'functional rehabilitation' by allowing patients to use walking or running to help rehabilitate an injury that would otherwise prevent it.

"We keep coming up with new uses for the AlterG", says Lindsay, "It's a very powerful rehabilitation tool". According to the Toronto Physiotherapy website, such uses range from orthopedic physiotherapy and neurological rehabilitation to fitness training for recreational and competitive athletes alike. Technology once reserved for astronauts and professional athletes has made its way into the clinic at Toronto Physiotherapy.

Toronto Physiotherapy is a leading Toronto-based provider of health care services.