Victims of spinal-cord injuries may benefit with the use of an underwater treadmill, a new research has shown.
Physical therapist Sandra Stevens turned to the machine inside a fiberglass tank that holds 270 gallons of water for her doctoral research at Middle Tennessee State University.
Stevens said: "After watching the kids with cerebral palsy, I thought there were a lot of other populations that could benefit from this kind of therapy."
She continued: "I looked at leg strength, balance, daily walking behavior, walking speed and endurance. Some of these folks could only walk for a minute then they would have to sit. When they started walking in the tank, the minimum time I set was five minutes of walking. They all were able to do that."
Stevens added: "They experience a real psychological boost. At first they feel like they're in the way. After trying initially [to walk], they say, 'What's the point-I won't be able to walk anyway.'"
But she noted: "So they've gone from four or five minutes of walking to 32 or 34 minutes. That's a big improvement."
Dr. Don Morgan, MTSU health and human performance professor, said: "It's relatively new technology. It's been used by athletic teams and for older folks with arthritis."