By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Although anti-gravity treadmill machines were introduced to the market a few years ago, they are not yet commonplace—and they’re an opportunity for differentiation in physical therapy marketing (for facilities that have one).
At the Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital (Indianapolis), according to an IndyStar news item, the treadmill, by AlterG, is helping some patients recover more quickly. The device—reportedly the only one in the state—offers benefits to patients, and draws a news media spotlight to the facility.
The concept is to allow physical therapy patients to reduce the effect of gravity and to walk or run during their recovery period without pain. Indiana Orthopaedic offers the treadmill to patients with bone or joint injuries as well as pregnant women, seniors and overweight individuals when exercise is difficult. Patients wear special shorts connected to the treadmill at the waist; the device calibrates the weight, and pressurizes a support mechanism to mimic reduced gravity.
“The AlterG treadmill was spun off from NASA technology designed to counteract the weightlessness that astronauts experience while in space,” according to the IndyStar report.
“Professional athletes were the first to use the new treadmill, priced at $75,000, as a performance enhancement tool to allow them to run faster. More recently, the company released a $29,900 version designed for rehab.”
A few hundred devices can be found around the nation at medical and hospital facilities, physical therapy clinics and departments, sports medicine, conditioning and rehabilitation locations, chiropractic practices, upscale fitness centers, and at least one YMCA. Some facilities offer a free initial trial, but there’s a fee for use in regular sessions.
Read more on this story at IndyStar.