With the Amazing Anti-Gravity Treadmill at the Meadows
At The Meadows, we recently experienced something extraordinary with Sarah Mueller. Sarah is a busy lady – a vibrant 27-year old who works full time, has authored a book Elf Help: Ability Therapy and works out every day. This talented lady has accomplished many things but one was still missing. She had never been able to run. That is until July 8 when she experienced the sensation of running using the breakthrough AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill at The Meadows. You can share our joy by seeing the incredible video of her run for the first time.
Sarah was born with a neural tube birth defect called spina bifida myelomeningocele. In spite of the rare sounding name, it is a common, permanent disabling birth defect that does not allow the spinal cord to fully develop. Sarah is able to get around with the aid of a cane for short distances but uses a wheelchair for longer ones. She cannot run or jump, and walking very short distances causes physical pain for her. So when Sarah was able to run without any pain on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, she declared it “a magical moment.”
The Meadows is the only skilled rehab facility in the area to have one of these revolutionary anti-gravity treadmills. After reading an article about the treadmill in a local newspaper, she decided to visit our facility and give it a try.
Here is Sarah’s story, in her own words:
“First, you put on some really silly looking shorts that are a lot like scuba diving pants. Then, you step onto the treadmill into a tiny opening. Once you’re securely in the open spot, physical therapists pull up what looks like a giant bag all around your body, up to about right under the chest line, and then proceed to zip it up all around you.
At this point this giant bag around you then fills with air until you are lifted slightly above the running strip on the treadmill. It’s like you’re floating on air! Then, the device lowers you back down until your feet are again touching it.
From this point on you get to decide how much support the machine provides you—all based upon your individual needs as it relates to your muscle mass and overall strength. Once you have that plugged in, you can begin going as fast or as slow as you would like. The goal is to feel comfortable, and to feel absolutely no pain as you get an amazing cardio workout! It also happens to have a TV screen attached to it, so you can be entertained while you work out, or even have a camera directly on your feet and legs so you can see if you are running straight, or having any difficulties you may otherwise be unable to feel. In other words, this machine is amazing.”
“I went in with some serious lower back, shoulder, clavicle and knee pain (…let’s just say that everything hurt when I went in). And afterward? I had Zero pain, soreness, aching.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
It took everything in me to keep from bawling my eyes out! There didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the room as all the physical therapists stopped what they were doing to watch me. Apparently, I was the first person to come in and ask to try the machine out, so they were mesmerized by the fact I was experiencing something so monumental –for the very first time–, in their clinic, on this machine that they were barely even used to using yet.
I managed to keep my emotions in check while there, but I’m not afraid to say once I was in the privacy of my own vehicle, I spent a good 10-15 minutes crying hysterically with joy. I have spent my entire life dreaming of what it would feel like to go for a run. To be honest, I would have happily settled for knowing what it felt like to walk more than a few minutes without feeling excruciating lower back pain. But instead of “just” one wish, today I was granted two.
As I sat in my car reflecting on what had just taken place, all I could think of were two things:
- I am filled with so much gratitude, elation and awe I think I might burst.
- I would go through every bit of physical and emotional pain in life all over again if I knew it would bring me back to this moment in time.
I just had the most spectacular, memorable day…and my soul is overflowing with gratitude and happiness! When all is said and done, I can do some very incredible things, and my life is more fulfilling than words could ever convey. In short…my life is a never ending gift, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I feel like the luckiest person on Earth.”