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The Next Evolutionary Phase in Unweighted Rehab - Alter G

Unweighted rehab has traditionally been accomplished through aquatic therapy (pool time) or harness systems. Unweighting can be useful in the rehabilitation of various mala- dies. The technique allows earlier and more intensive active exercise therapy before patients are ready for full weightbearing.

For instance, research finds that unweighted rehab improves outcomes after orthopaedic surgery.In the rehabilitation of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and stroke, research suggests that rehabilitation with aquatic unweighting likely produces faster and more significant results in terms of balance, gait, and falls.2-9 Unweighted therapy has also been found effective in non-specific low back pain, making it a useful alternative for the subset of patients who cannot tolerate rehabilitation at full weight-bearing.10-17

A 21st-century technology offers new advantages in unweighted rehabilitation. Engineers originally developed the technology to train astronauts for microgravity environments.18 In elite sports training and clinical applications, professionals refer to the technology as “lower body positive pressure” (LBPP). LBPP allows the patient to exercise on a treadmill with reduced body- weight through the uplifting pressure of large airbags. Compared to aquatic therapy, LBPP offers the simple logistical advantage of no change of clothes and not getting wet.

More importantly, compared to aquatic therapy and harness-based unweighting 

systems, high-end LBPP such as that in use at

A study out of Northern Arizona university demonstrates the technical accuracy as it allows clinicians to modulate unweighting one percentage point at a time. The precision enables physiotherapists to set exact maximum weight-bearing for pain-free exercise and enables more precise progression of intensity.

Additionally, the system in use at Advanced Physiotherapy provides instantaneous feedback on left-right weight distribution, cadence, left-right stride length, etc. This both informs clinicians for better coaching and empowers patients in self-correction.

Clinical research demonstrates LBPP's effectiveness in rehabilitation for knee surgery and knee osteoarthritis.19,20 At Advanced Physiotherapy we can use this equipment to enhance rehabilitation for knee replacements, foot and ankle surgery, ACL surgery, stress fractures, obesity and hip pain.

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