Volume 51 Number 8, 2014
Pages 1331 — 1338
Abstract — A new balance rehabilitation and training apparatus has been developed to allow a balance-impaired person to cope with his or her fear of falling while safely and independently performing exercises necessary to improve functional balance. The apparatus consists of a stable platform where the user stands and a vertical structure that supports free-floating handles that the user holds with both hands while performing various exercises. The purpose of study 1 was to determine whether this new apparatus significantly alters the biological postural control system, and the purpose of study 2 was to document the benefits of balance training using the apparatus. Study 1 was a randomized repeated-measures design with six healthy adult subjects (mean age = 35.5 yr), and study 2 was a 4 wk intervention case study with a generally healthy 63-yr-old individual. The results suggest that postural sway characteristics and the cortical and proprioceptive feedback were not limited when using the apparatus. We also observed improvements in balance control and postural stability with 4 wk of training with the apparatus. These results support that the apparatus could be an effective tool to help individuals safely and independently perform balance exercises while potentially preventing falls and minimizing fear of falling.
Key words: aging, balance, balance impaired, cortical, fall prevention, fall risk, freesway, geriatric, postural sway, proprioceptive.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Tuesday, January 13, 2015 2:07 PM