Over time I observed that many people who used the LiftWalker attained all the health benefits of walking; Greater muscle and bone strength. Improved digestion and circulation, etc. But relatively few were leaving the LiftWalker behind and achieving independence.
Why? Because they weren’t learning , or relearning balance. Balance is a complicated trick of the brain and body. It involves a highly complex blending of proprioception (the brain awareness of how much each muscle is flexed, leading to a constant knowledge of the body’s posture in space), and vision, and inner ear which informs of our verticality, and rotation. The brain constantly calculates and recalculates these inputs and tells each muscle what to do for us to stand up and remain firmly upright.
It used to be taught that if a child didn’t learn balance by the age of seven that they never would learn it. But I’ve learned for myself that’s not true. My balance project so far has included two subjects, Freddy from Bakersfield, and Tom from Syracuse. Freddy used to walk before his brain injury in a car accident. Tom was born with a completely atrophied cerebellum and had never walked without his LiftWalker. By intense effort both have learned balance and can walk with someone nearby for safety.
The balance project consists of techniques and gizmos which need development. These gizmos are training devices (the man gyro… I have two engineering teams this semester working on this balance assist gizmo), head balancer, standing balance prompting necklace) which we believe will aid in acquiring neuro-plastic reorganization and functional balance.