Colorado hospital installs NASA-inspired machine to aid in patients' recoveries

Sterling (Colo.) Regional MedCenter's rehabilitation department recently acquired a gravity-altering machine, developed by a NASA engineer, that can help an array of patients in their recovery processes, according to the South Platte Sentinel.

Here are five things to know:

1. The Alter G via400 Anti-Gravity Treadmill was initially developed for astronauts to add weight while exercising. However, the machine's creator reversed this mechanism to instead limit weight for individuals recovering from injuries.  

2. The treadmill can aid in the recovery process for patients with foot conditions, lower back problems, orthopedic conditions or neurologic conditions like multiple sclerosis. Patients recovering from a surgery may also find the treadmill beneficial.

"The beauty of [the machine] is really the breadth of patients we can use it with," Nicholas Moore, Senior Rehab Manager at Sterling Regional MedCenter told the South Platte Sentinel.

3. The treadmill supports anyone weighing 85 to 400 pounds. The machine's unweighing technology can take a patient down to 20 percent of their body weight on the lower half of their body.

4. The machine helps orthopedic patients increase mobility soon after surgery, which helps promote healing and "normal movement patterns," Mr. Moore told South Platte Sentinel. For neurologic patients, the machine offers a safe exercise environment and can help their neuro-muscular system work better. Patients also receive video feedback to help control their feet movements via a video camera built into the machine.

5. Sterling Regional MedCenter was the last Phoenix-based Banner Health facility in Colorado to install the treadmill. Mr. Moore said he worked with hospital leadership to make a case for why they needed the machine for their patient population.

"They really want to help us acquire tools that help us serve a larger population," Mr. Moore told South Platte Sentinel. "Not only will this help improve our outcomes, but it also helps us reach a larger group of people for whom exercise is a barrier."

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