Defying gravity can remove obstacles to exercise
Many patients face barriers to exercise, including pain and being overweight. The AlterG Treadmill helps remove these barriers by providing an experience that’s the equivalent of being in water without the resistivity of water or having to wear a bathing suit. Similar in many ways to aquatic therapy, the low impact of an AlterG session allows patients to achieve movements unattainable on dry land.
In fact, some say it’s the same weightlessness that one would experience on the moon!
While the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill might at first look like any other treadmill, its differences quickly become apparent. Once the device is turned on, its casing gradually fills with air, creating a waist-high bubble around the treadmill and the patient’s legs. As the user begins walking, their legs begin to feel lighter, with noticeably less pressure on the joints and less effort for each step. Walking feels almost weightless, even with increased speed and incline. Even those who dislike exercise due to fatigue or mobility issues find working out on the AlterG to be a pleasant experience — many even begin looking forward to it.
What Is the AlterG Treadmill?
Nearly 25 years ago, Robert Whalen, a biomechanics researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center, invented and patented a treadmill that would allow astronauts to run in a more natural way. The original design enclosed the astronaut’s upper body in an airtight chamber where the air pressure was raised, pushing the astronaut down and simulating gravity. Whalen’s treadmill never really caught on at NASA, but once the downward pressure device was created, it was not long before he realized the potential of one that could do the opposite.
In 2005, Whalen’s 23-year-old son, Sean Whalen, a Stanford engineering student, decided to resurrect his father’s prototype treadmill, then collecting dust in the family’s garage. His idea was to use the reduced-gravity simulator — the AlterG — to help rehab patients learn to stand, walk, and even run again.
The Benefits of the AlterG Treadmill
The ability to continue training despite stress-related injuries such as runner’s knee or stress fractures means you can train harder and smarter in a safe environment.
The benefits of using the AlterG at CORA Physical Therapy include:
- Lightened load. Using “unweighting technology” to reduce a patient’s body weight by up to 80 percent, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill helps rehab patients, athletes, seniors, and even those suffering from traumatic brain injury to exercise safely.
- Safe and comfortable therapy. The AlterG meets all safety requirements and delivers a comfortable experience, but’s that’s just the beginning. Unlike some gyms and fitness centers, CORA Physical Therapy clinics are welcoming, judgment-free zones. In our facilities, patients exercise with like-minded individuals, all of whom appreciate our non-intimidating, friendly environment with certified physical therapists always on hand.
- Earlier return to activity. The AlterG Treadmill provides patients with a painless, controlled, low-weight bearing form of exercise early in their recovery. Studies have shown that returning to activity as early as possible with the AlterG helps prevent muscle atrophy, decreases swelling, and improves patient outcomes.
What Types of Injuries Can the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill Help?
Some of the injuries and conditions that can be successfully treated through the use of the AlterG include:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Balance/proprioceptive issues
- Early weight-bearing for surgical recovery
- General deconditioning
- Foot pain
- Low back pain
- Obesity and weight loss
- Plantar fasciitis
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)/Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Shin splints
- Spine fusions
- Stress fractures
- Total knee or hip arthroplasty
Recover as Soon as Physically Possible
At CORA, nothing is run-of-the-mill. Not even our treadmills. Just ask us about our AlterG’s if you want to get back on your feet fast. These treadmills are only available at select locations, so be sure to contact a CORA Physical Therapy clinic in your area to learn more. We can help you understand the benefits of physical therapy and the services that our clinics offer, including access to the AlterG Treadmill.