1929 Main Street #103 Irvine CA 92614 ph: 949-797-9007 fx: 949-797-9234 email: skypediatric@yahoo.com

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Antigravity Treadmill Training Program using the AlterG

What is the AlterG?

The AlterG uses technology developed at NASA to apply a comfortable and uniform lifting force to the body. Integrated into a high tech treadmill. AlterG's technology offers precise body weight reduction using air pressure as the lifting force. Essentially, the individual is "walking on air" so their limbs feel lighter, moving with greater ease. As a result, they are able to sustain walking or running for longer periods, allowing the opportunity to exercise without the stress imposed by gravity. The AlterG incorporates video monitoring with a 3-camera placement so immediate feedback is given to the user to make self-correction.

Who Can Benefit:

  • Motor control problems, cerebral palsy, brain injury, genetic disorders resulting in ambulation disorders
  • Sensory processing deficits- toe walking, inability to progress to run
  • Obesity and deconditioning
  • Gait deviations, running and walking mechanical problems
  • Post orthopedic surgery including hip, knee and foot surgery
  • Pain- rehab and train without pain
  • Athletic training: post injury of the young athlete
  • Suited for children 5 years or older or 40 inches tall
  • Lift Access- Attached to the back end of the unit, a lift can be used for those who are unable or have difficulty standing to aid in accessing the AlterG from a wheelchair

How Does This Type of Rehab/Technology Help?

Gravity is a significant barrier to exercise for children with neurological, orthopedic, and some genetic movement impairments, especially with somatic growth. Aging for these children can often result in regression of walking and transfer skills due to heavier forces stressing their joints. Exercising becomes increasingly difficult, especially at the level necessary to not only maintain their present level of function, but also obtain cardiovascular fitness. Anti-gravity rehabilitation allows therapists the opportunity to defy gravity and attempt to prevent a decline in functional skills as well as promote continued cardiovascular health. Anti-gravity treadmill training has bridged the gap from childhood to preteen and beyond by lifting the barrier of fear, frustration, and excessive fatigue that our more physically challenged children experience with walking, especially with age. With the lift access, we can now safely use the anti-gravity treadmill with children with spastic quadriplegia. Anti-gravity rehab by using the AlterG provides a way to address life care management concerns of maintaining cardiovascular health without compromising skeletal integrity.

By reducing the impact of gravity, children with a variety of diagnoses have the opportunity to practice motor patterns for walking with greater ease. They are now able to make self-corrections and further practice improved patterns repetitively for motor learning and neuroplastic changes in the brain to occur. This type of mass practice is difficult to achieve on a traditional treadmill as the children become frustrated and often are physically unable to consistently maintain the intense level of focused walking that we are asking of them. Overall, anti-gravity treadmill training helps to improve endurance, build strength, improve motor control, gait biomechanics, increased body awareness, and increase overall levels of fitness. Physical improvements have correlated with improved self-esteem and confidence.

Antigravity Training for Sensory Processing Deficits:

Many children with sensory processing deficits such as those seen with autism/ ASD have poor gait and running mechanics. The compression shorts provide a calming sensory input in conjunction with the stabilizing effects of the air pressure. The air pressure encompasses the trunk and pelvis providing a safe environment to run. Research supports the positive effects of aerobic exercise for children with autism. For children with autism to maintain the level of running necessary for benefit aerobically, traditional treadmill training often presents barriers. Safety, proper motor control, and endurance all can be compromised when using traditional treadmills with this population. We also have noticed a positive effect to their proprioceptive systems as the children with autism practice "weightless" walking and then return to full body weight with an improved sense of where their limbs are in space. Anti-gravity treadmill training can allow therapists to apply sensory integration techniques while promoting good body mechanics and working on aerobic capacity.

Antigravity Training for Neuromotor Deficits:

For children with neurological movement disorders, anti-gravity treadmill training has been the key to providing adequate comfortable body unweighting. This reduces the impact of gravity on their spasticity and matches their strength level, enabling them to work on their endurance. The video feedback monitor allows the therapist to teach the child how to self-correct their walking mechanics. Research in neuroplasticity is supporting the practice of allowing the self-correction process to occur to achieve neuroplastic changes in the brain. The use of hands on facilitation usually used in NDT techniques is now complemented by the ability to bring into the therapy setting deliberate and focused ambulation practice. It is impossible for the therapist to perform, as well as for a child to maintain in one treatment session on a traditional treadmill the amount of mass practice at a frequency the research is now suggesting to be effective. Anti-gravity rehabilitation provides a solution to this. Our protocols at SKY Pediatric Therapy include both traditional treadmill training with hands on facilitation, and anti-gravity training with video feedback for self-correction.

Programs: The use of the AlterG is incorporated at SKY in the following ways:
  1. As part of the physical therapy intensive programs
  2. Included as part of individual PT services
  3. Fitness program*

    *Note: Fitness program membership requires scheduling with the front office, purchase of AlterG exercise shorts, and requires initial assessment for appropriateness, to set goals, and training of caretaker/parent.


Please call with questions or to make an appointment: (949) 797-9007

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