What is Body Weight Support?
In the event of an illness, stroke, surgery, or other circumstances, it may be necessary for a patient to relearn how to walk. Mobility re-education starts in a rehabilitation setting. During rehabilitation therapy, therapists sometimes use a body weight support device. It’s a harness structure designed providing support to the patient during treatment and eliminate the risk of falling. By doing so, it allows the patient the opportunity to relearn walking skills and permits the therapist to assist and correct the patient’s motions during walking.
The value of body weight support is that it increases the speed with which a patient can learn to walk again, and does so without the development of undesirable gait habits. Some machines are designed to measure and report gait patterns, allowing the user to self-correct. The patient can then correct their gait right away. Since therapy sessions create body memories, the patient will learn and have the body memory in place before they reclaim their body weight.
Because of the structure of a body weight support device, a patient is protected from falling during therapy. This support creates the freedom to learn and use a full range of motion. When a patient learns how to move without the haze caused by underlying anxiety, they regain motor control at a much faster pace.
The fatigue of body weight during therapy can sometimes cut a session short, which isn’t fair to a patient who is entitled to receiving the maximum potential from each session. During the teaching phase of therapy, a patient who has use of a body weight support device will be able to maximize their learning before fatigue occurs.
Technology and the future
As the population of Japan ages, Honda has taken a particular interest in creating mobility for those in advancing years. As a result, they are in the process of developing devices which assist in leg strength and mobility.
Their ‘next-generation mobility products’ are designed to ‘expand the joy and fun of mobility.’ Their attitude is probably exactly what is needed to further the technology of body weight support products in a variety of applications. Here is a demonstration of Honda’s cyborg legs, which aren’t currently on the market, but who knows what the future technology of body weight support could be?
If you are looking for occupational or physical therapy, vestibular rehab, wheelchair training, learning to walk, unweighting, or other services in the Phoenix area, please call Touchstone Rehabilitation at 602-277-1073.