The fountain of health lies in belonging to a group. At least that’s what the research reveals. In the last sixty years there have been numerous studies that show that either loneliness or isolation or the combination of both, have a significant impact on an individual’s health, especially in the elderly.
Putting weight onto a ‘bum’ knee, forcing heaviness onto a diminished joint or placing a load onto an inflamed nerve, can be problematic and painful for many people. But what if you could avoid Earth’s gravitational field? A trip to the moon, which has just 20 percent of our planet’s gravity, would be a therapeutic game-changer. An individual weighing 200 pounds would be the equivalent of 40 pounds in space making load and force less of a burden.
Obviously, it’s not possible to fly to the moon for therapy. But it’s possible to unload body weight here and now on Earth. It’s done in water or in the chamber of an anti-gravity treadmill. Getting into a therapeutic pool past shoulder height can unload as much as 90 percent of weight. And with the latest treadmill technology from NASA, you can decrease 80 percent of load and force.
Unloading body weight opens the doors for positive improvement and walking. Some people think it’s their torn knee cartilage, worn joint surfaces, an impinged nerve or a host of other maladies that keep them from comfortable and safe movement.
Medical experts know the real culprit is mostly weight and gravity. “The field of biomechanics (the relationship between forces and motion in the body) gives us some interesting information about loads that our weight bearing joints undergo. In the hip and the knee, two joints that are commonly affected by arthritis, joint forces are approximately 1.5 times body weight when walking on level ground. This means that when a person weighing 200 pounds is walking along a level sidewalk, the forces on the joint are the same as for a 300-pound person standing still. Other activities place even greater forces on the joints. Getting up out of a chair increases the force to approximately 2 to 3 times body weight. The same is true of going up and down stairs. With more vigorous activities, such as running or jumping, the forces on the joints can approach 4 to 5 times body weight,” noted online by Dr. Carlton Savory from Hughston Health Clinic in Columbus, Georgia.
“Patients don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch their strength, endurance and function decline – there are positive choices to getting them back to reduced pain and their prior level of fitness,” says Mindy McCleery, DPT and director of rehabilitation for Orchard Park Rehabilitation Center.
“Many people will opt for surgery to correct what weight and force have done to joints,” she says, but most lower extremity post-surgery protocols come with doctors’ orders for partial weight bearing or weight bearing as tolerated. Recovery is again delayed because most regimens require a healing time period before weight-bearing exercises can comfortably begin,” says McCleery.
Gravity can be an enemy and many people don’t know what kind of force they can safely lean onto their limbs. McCleery says the newer technologies and the therapies that can unload weight takes the guesswork out of each step. “Now we rely on science, not luck, to determine comfortable exercise,” she says.
How the New Technology Works
The latest treadmills operate with differential air pressure (DAP). It’s patented gravity know-how that’s rooted in science. Robert Whalen, a NASA researcher, is founder of the concept using advanced DAP machinery for weight support and the biomechanics of exercise in space.
Whalen’s antigravity field made science fiction more of a reality for the legs of real world users. For patients, it means they can start post-surgical lower extremity therapy earlier than expected because of the ability to offset weight.
Using the new treadmill takes a few steps. Patients don a pair of therapy provided neoprene shorts and step into a flexible air chamber. Being encircled waist high, they are zipped into the pressure tank to create an airtight seal. The machine is than calibrated by a therapist in order to give the appropriate levitation. The chamber inflates and the air pressure inside creates upward lift, floating patients up and off of gravity.
Elements of Anti-Gravity - Aquatic Therapy
Patients who find weight bearing on land difficult due to surgery, pain, loss of balance or a neurological condition will be surrounded by elements of buoyancy and resistance. Submersion in water supports weak muscles and provides resistance to strong muscles. Water is unique in the fact that it’s buoyant but can also provide 600 times more resistance than air. And resistance is multi-directional, which allows balance and strength to improve in all directions.
McCleery reports a breakdown of the latest hydrotherapy benefits new to this area that includes resistance jets used in conjunction with underwater treadmills created by HydroWorx®.
She says the pool is equipped with an underwater video camera and pool deck monitors that allow therapists to instantly give cues to improve gait normalcy. Patients can see each step via the monitor and then practice walking and moving against resistance, while at the same time minimizing the effects of gravity and weight bearing.
Research indicates that warm water coupled with exercise can mitigate the effects of arthritis. Hydrotherapy is an effective way to perform aerobic exercise while not placing too much stress on affected joints. Reports also show that warm water relaxes muscles, improves blood flow to the injured area and leads to an improvement in range of motion.
The increase in stretching ability also comes from the direct water pressure on the extremities to decrease joint swelling and pain. In addition to decreasing pain, the flowing resistance of water has been reported to also increase extremity sensation ability on land.
Orchard Park Rehabilitation Center experts claim that one of the biggest benefits for patients undergoing anti-gravity therapy is the decrease of body weight on joints. Exercising in this way provides a manageable alternative and progresses patients to better movement on land.
The anti-gravity - aquatic therapy difference
“People get a more-comprehensive workout, often strengthening muscles they’d never even have dared to with land exercises,” says McCleery and reports that gravity-defying therapy is geared for the following conditions:
Many individuals dealing with a serious medical condition take comfort in discussing successful symptom management and treatment plans with others living with the same illness. Advances in internet technology and mobile phone applications now allow patients to access information and share knowledge from personal experiences 24/7 by interacting with the company PatientsLikeMe.
In the fifth decade of a woman's life, the woman's body changes. Though it can be a dramatic change, it's also graceful, as the body begins retiring the ovarian function. While many hormones will continue to be made in the adrenals, a general decline in hormonal activity is the hallmark of this phase of life. These changes can be accompanied by profound symptoms or virtually none.
Even in the midst of adversity, is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and adaptation for hardship— that make for a long life?
I am interrupting my series on workout styles this month.The beginning of a new year is often accompanied by New Year’s wishes or resolutions. I have plenty to wish for but I have one wish that trumps all other wishes. This month I want to share my New Year’s wish for America with you.
New Years Eve will be here before you know it. Instead of making a new resolution, commit to a healthy way of life. Here is a story about a local woman who committed, like so many others, and saw how healthy really can be more than just a seasonal triumph.
Last month’s column was about changing your body. This month, the subject is how to make changes in other areas of your life. Over the last half a century, I have learned that big changes in life often are the result of a series of smaller changes, which collectively will add up to the big changes people are looking for (or try to avoid.) Whether the changes are physical, mental, economical or emotional, change can be very scary.
Burnout is becoming rampant. Whether we work inside or outside of the home, many of us are familiar with the feeling that we are carrying the burden of the world on our shoulders.
Alcohol has its place in society but not behind the wheel -- and not at all if you're the designated driver, responsible adults agree. For university students and baby boomers alike, just one drink of alcohol can impair the senses to a degree, and just one seems to lead too easily to another.
Millions of women around the country live with cardiovascular disease and may not know it. The consequences of being uninformed can be fatal.
Fatigue, from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, has many different causes. The remedy will be different depending upon the type of fatigue it is. If you experience fatigue, here are tips that lead to vibrant energy.
By general standards, a person over 35 is called obese when their BMI (Body Mass Index) is higher than 30. The current U.S. numbers are staggering with 2/3 of American adults qualifying as overweight or obese. Obesity is linked to many health problems. It is related to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and sleep apnea to name a few. Studies have also shown that obesity decreases self esteem and a person’s overall mood.
When historians study the Great American Empire, ridiculous government spending may prove to be our lasting legacy. According to Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., last year our government spent $120 million for federal retirement benefits to retirees who were dead.
Over the last several years, homeowners have increasingly emphasized clean air in their homes. The growing popularity of home air purifiers suggests today's homeowners want to make certain the environment inside their home is as healthy as possible.
New research suggests women looking to prevent breast cancer after menopause may want to consider dietary changes, including adopting Mediterranean eating habits, to reduce their risk.
When you got out of bed this morning, did you have pain in your hips, knees, back, or another area in your body? Did you think it is no big deal, it has been going on for so long; or, it is just what happens after you have too many birthdays? Did you automatically reach for the bottle of Tylenol or Advil? Are you able to enjoy the same activities you did when you were younger?
Red meats, hydrogenated oils -- these are the foods we associate with heart disease and high cholesterol. But a few other things many people eat rather frequently could be contributing to future heart problems.
People experiencing the blues, feelings of depression and other mood disorders might be able to use vitamin D to alleviate symptoms of depression. New studies point to low blood levels of vitamin D as a culprit in depression. Simply increasing these levels offers marked improvement.
Many people are apprehensive about getting older because of the fear of losing their faculties. Individuals may worry that dementia could rob them of precious memories and make daily living more difficult.
Hot tea may taste good and be soothing on a cool day, but there are also many medical benefits to this drink.
We all know April showers bring May flowers, but the month is also dedicated to raising awareness about rosacea.
These three terms conjure up a myriad of reactions and ideas among the patients that I see. When asked, many of them have tried a variety of cleansing techniques, some of them were on the right track, but many turned to techniques that were poorly contrived and in some instances, downright unhealthy and contrary to the end goal of increasing the health and vitality of their bodies.
Do you want more energy? Lose weight faster? Clear skin? There is a common answer to so many health related problems—sleep! Our body and brain need sleep to rest and renew to keep us healthy. And it seems that everywhere you turn, you find another health article that lists “getting more sleep” as one cure to whatever ails you.
Health experts have long been professing the "back is best"mantra to new parents. As it turns out, the back may also be best for adults.
If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Actually, 90 percent of Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
Brush aside the notion that massages are solely a decadent luxury service for those who love to be pampered. Apart from relaxation, massage therapy has many health benefits in addition to being a terrific stress-reducer.
Many people struggle with these common skin conditions. When it comes to acne, psoriasis and eczema, as a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist, I often see that underlying imbalances in the body contribute to skin issues. Frequently I find that skin complaints are related to the body’s impaired detoxification ability, hormonal imbalances, inappropriate immune responses or digestive disorders.
"Uh-oh." "We all need to get back down on our knees," preacher Raleigh implores the congregation as a chorus of ‘Amens' arises from the dutiful. He had been illustrating the self-induced problems that we as a collective body, as a nation, and as individuals had made since getting up off our knees in a fever of adolescent obstinacy. In delirium we decided that we could follow the sweet things of the world, the pretty and shiny and comfortable words and feelings; no need for humility because we knew all the answers. They tickled our taste buds and had us coming back for more.
Regardless of what season it is, skin seems to bear the brunt of weather's wrath. Whether it's the sun beating down in the dog days of summer or the wind whipping around and causing skin to crack when the weather starts to turn cold, skin is never fully safe from the elements.
Increasing daily energy levels is a goal for many men and women. Many adults are increasingly looking to energy drinks or highly caffeinated beverages like coffee to get the job done, while others are fearful that such beverages, though effective at improving energy levels, could have an adverse effect on their overall health.
My grandfather hated to paint walls. He felt the whole process was too labor intensive and boring. So when he designed and built his house, he created it with only a few walls that needed to be painted. The rest were exposed brick and the ever-popular wood paneling. (Now don't hold the wood paneling against him. It was the late 1960's and wood paneling was the craze). And it suited him perfectly.
We are a group of helping professionals from a variety of disciplines here to share with you! We want to help you have a more healthy, positive, and productive life by addressing a variety of issues and presenting helpful ideas and solutions. Our areas of expertise include mental health counseling, homeopathy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, myofascial release, speech therapy, and a specialty in learning.
These days, more and more people are finding themselves stretched pretty thin. With commitments to work and family requiring more time than ever before, it's no surprise the average man or woman's stress level is on the rise.
As prevalent as prescription medications are, all-natural remedies for common illnesses and conditions are still a viable alternative to prescription medications for many people. But are these all-natural options safe?
Stress has become a daily part of people's lives. Despite its detriments to health and well-being, stress seems to be something most people can't shake. Increasing the number of relaxation tools around the house may prove effective at reducing stress.
ColoradoHealth, a part of the ourColoradonews.com family, was developed to offer comprehensive health advice and education for the whole Front Range family from those who know you best - local health experts.
Articles designated with this are written by staff reporters with Colorado Community Media. Disclaimer: the opinions presented in all other columns are the authors’ own and should not be considered the official opinion of CCM.