Patients benefit from space age rehab machines

Physiotherapy patients in Northern Ireland have benefited from two new anti-gravity treadmills after fundraisers raised almost £80,000 to pay for them.


Charlene Lyness uses the anti-gravity treadmill with advanced clinical specialist physiotherapist Wendy Guy

Physiotherapists made the case for the rehab machines to the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s endowments and gifts funds, and the money was made available to buy them.

Using technology designed by NASA to help astronauts exercise in space, the anti-gravity treadmills can be used by patients with weight-bearing difficulty, neurological, cardiovascular or other long-term conditions.

Charlene Lyness from Tandragee, County Armagh, suffers from severe arthritis in her knees but is too young for replacement surgery. Having struggled with her weight she was in too much pain to exercise.

‘Along with the injections I get to manage my pain, using the anti-gravity treadmill has made such a difference to my life,’ she said.

‘I can now run comfortably for about 20 minutes, my overall health and fitness has greatly improved and having lost three stone in weight I am feeling much better in myself.’

Advanced clinical specialist physiotherapist at the trust, Wendy Guy, said: ‘For suitable patients, the new anti-gravity treadmill can make recovery much easier and quicker, allowing the patient to rehabilitate from surgery or injury with less pain and impact.’

The anti-gravity treadmills are made by American medical device company AlterG and are used by physiotherapists elsewhere in the UK.

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