AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill
Body Weight Support Gait
Some physical therapy patients, whether recovering from surgery or injury, suffering an illness that affects mobility or simply experiencing the effects of aging, need a lower-impact rehabilitation program. For such candidates, Brooks Rehabilitation provides access to the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, an advanced therapeutic device that takes some or all of the patient’s body weight off of their legs as they train and recover.
The AlterG Treadmill employs differential air pressure technology developed by NASA to provide a painless and low-impact workout for those in need of it for neurological physical therapy, orthopedic physical therapy, sports injury recovery or other treatment.
What Is the Purpose of the AlterG?
Just like pool therapy, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill provides support to allow patients to exercise and recover without hurting their joints. It also lets physiotherapists train patients on gait and ambulation, in addition to programs to maintain general health.
Robert Whalen, father to AlterG’s inventor Sean Whalen, originally worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center. He and his team were working to help astronauts exercise naturally in zero-gravity environments using a pressure chamber to simulate gravity.
Before long, Robert realized that the opposite effect could be highly beneficial. Robert and his son Sean, who at the time was a Stanford engineering student, worked in their garage to create the prototype of the AlterG.
They designed the AlterG to help patients in rehabilitation and undergoing therapy learn to stand, walk, and run again using a treadmill, but much more safely and comfortably.
The AlterG provides buoyancy and support to a patient while they use the treadmill to exercise. Under the guidance of a trainer or physiotherapist, the patient implements progressive loading ranging from 20% of body weight to 100%, helping the body in recovery and training.
How the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill Works
Apart from its normal treadmill functions, the AlterG also has a precision pressure-controlled chamber that gently lifts the patient by degrees, taking weight off of their joints.
With the AlterG treadmill, precise calibration is possible that allows the patient to increase or reduce body weight by increments of 1%. No other form of body-supported therapy has as much precision or versatility, including pool therapy.
With the AlterG, patients and their therapists can directly target goals such as walking, running, gait mechanics, weight loss, cardiovascular conditioning, running injury recovery, sports injury recovery, and others.
Thanks to its powerful support, the AlterG also helps pediatric and geriatric patients develop confidence and balance. It virtually eliminates any possibility of a fall, and comes with plenty of support surfaces.
How to Use the AlterG Treadmill
Despite its advanced technology, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is surprisingly easy to use. It doesn’t incorporate cumbersome harnesses, instead only requiring patients to wear a special pair of shorts that zip into the machine’s pressure chamber.
From there, patients can use the AlterG like any other treadmill, except that they can increase or decrease the percentage of their body weight the machine is supporting. Watch this video on getting started with the AlterG treadmill.
The body-weight percentage setting allows clinicians to set what percentage of the patient’s weight the machine is supporting. It starts off at 100%, and can be brought down as low as 20%, depending on the patient’s needs.
The treadmill’s forward speed can be adjusted from 0.1–12 mph, and reverse speed from 0.1–3 mph. The incline can also be adjusted from 0–15% to suit training needs.
The information display cycles to show information such as the total distance walked, total time, current incline level, total calories burned, pace, and heart rate if you’re wearing a heart-rate monitor.
AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill Applications
Weight-bearing exercises stress the knees, hips, legs, ankles, and feet. The AlterG lifts the patient and reduces this stress, and its impact on the legs, to an acceptable level, which is why patients with pain, weakness, or imbalance can use it for low-impact exercises.
The AlterG is ideal for patients suffering from sports, neurologic, and orthopedic injuries of all kinds. It even has transparent sides and in-device cameras that allow medical professionals to observe stride and gait patterns for correction.
Sports Injury Therapy
Athletes recovering from an injury or surgery can get back to training sooner and faster using the AlterG Anti-Gravity. This allows them to recover more quickly and get back into shape.
Some of the most common sports injuries that require low-impact exercise include running injuries, ACL tendon tears, microfractures, and Achilles tendon injuries.
You can use the AlterG in post-fracture and post-operative sports rehabilitation programs for faster recovery and conditioning with less risk. Even common running injuries will benefit from the AlterG by reducing joint loading during recovery.
Under the care of expert physiotherapists, you can start your rehabilitation early in the recovery process to improve mobility, gait patterns, and sports performance.
Neurological Physical Therapy
People suffering from neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, or spinal cord injuries can benefit from therapy that includes the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
Physical therapy is critical for patients with neurological conditions to help them gain mobility, learning, speech, breathing, and other basic functions. With the right training, these patients can become independent and greatly improve their quality of life.
AlterG’s advanced technology makes it so much easier for patients to perform their exercises in a safe and comfortable environment. When patients can walk, run, and perform various other exercises painlessly, the chances of recovery are much higher.
Patients can slowly regain control of different muscle groups, especially under the guidance of experienced physiotherapists.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Patients who have orthopedic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis can also benefit from AlterG’s anti-gravity rehabilitation therapy. The unweighting technology relieves pain and stress in bones, helping the patients train and strengthen their lower extremities safely.
Additionally, patients who have had surgeries such as hip and knee replacement, as well as corrective surgeries in their lower extremities, may benefit from anti-gravity training. The AlterG will help them regain full range of motion, strength, and reduce pain.
Seniors also require strengthening and conditioning therapy to improve their health. The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is also perfect for obese patients who want to lose weight and regain range of motion.
AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill Qualifications
Any patient who needs body-assisted support rehabilitation can benefit from using the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. That includes patients suffering from fractures, knee or hip surgery replacement, and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or cerebral palsy.
Children, adults, and seniors can use the AlterG treadmill for training and recovery. So can athletes of all ages, especially those in a sports rehabilitation program.
In addition, obese patients can benefit from using the AlterG treadmill to get their progressive weight-loss program started. Even though alternative measures such as pool therapy might also work, AlterG offers patients a unique opportunity to perform normal walking and running mechanics safely and painlessly on land.
The AlterG treadmill is available for use by any patient that requires zero-gravity or body-supported rehabilitation. Candidates don’t even need a doctor’s referral or prescription, especially if they’re using the machine for weight loss, sports performance training, and other non-medical uses.
However, when using the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill for medical therapy, you will need a trained and certified physical therapist present. Not only do they determine what exercises are safe for you, they also monitor progress, offer feedback, and guide you toward your goals.
For the best results, therapists and trainers also need special training in using AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill systems for sports injury recovery, orthopedic physical therapy, neurological physical therapy, active aging, and weight-loss applications.
Upon completing clinical training, these therapists will offer much more value in each area of application. They will also get official certification in recognition of this achievement.
Walk, Run and Train on the AlterG at Brooks Rehabilitation
Those who suffer from all sorts of injuries or illnesses requiring a low-impact physical therapy rehabilitation program can benefit from training that incorporates the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
Brooks currently offers the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill at the Center for Sports Therapy located within the Brooks Family YMCA on Centurion Parkway. We service orthopedic and sports injury patients at this location.
Contact Brooks Rehabilitation today to learn more about the AlterG and other therapeutic technologies we offer at our many locations.