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New Biodex Rehabilitation Technology at Alaris Health at Saint Mary’s Enhances Gait & Balance for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

(Orange,October 2013) Physical therapists at Alaris Health at St. Mary’s strive to find new technologies to assist in the recovery of patients.   Now a new rehabilitation technology, called the Biodex mobility machine, is the first designed specifically to improve balance and coordination in Parkinson’s patients.  The new treatment provides enjoyable exercises while greatly improving balance in these patients, as well as those recovering from transient ischemic attacks and strokes.

“The patients love using it and the system assists them in regaining balance and coordination. It is also a good tool in fall risk assessment and fall prevention.  In the past, this group of patients mainly improved through manual exercises and walking.  Now they can use the machine and complete many levels of activities.  It is not just a therapy; it is an enjoyable activity that does not feel like a treatment,” says Paul Martinez, Lead Physical Therapist at Alaris Health at St. Mary’s.

The machine has a unique curved platform and a screen like a video game machine with a large “heads-up” LCD.  It gives both audio and visual real-time biofeedback to prompt patients into correct gait pattern, which includes taking larger steps. The workouts change by the person’s age, with younger patients working out for 10 to 15 minute intervals and senior patients exercising for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

This level of exercise is to help Parkinson’s patients step more regularly, break their tendency to shuffle and extend their upper and lower limbs.  The machine also improves the stiffness that occurs when they walk, and addresses Bradykinesia, slowness of movement, and Hypokinesia, decreased muscular movement, which are main symptoms of the disease.

“The more exercise these patients do, the more improvement they will see in their condition.  Our patients are very excited to come down and use this equipment, and that helps them to increase their exercise time,” adds Mr. Martinez.

For more information about Alaris Health at St. Mary’s, please call (973) 266-3001.


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