Sometimes when I was watching astronauts walking on the moon, I imagined in my mind what would weightless movement feel like in my body. I got some sense of it last week when I tested unweighted walking on the AlterG treadmill.
AlterG treadmill is originally designed for NASA astronauts to exercise in space. Lack of body exercise in the zero gravity environment caused weight loss, muscle atrophy, and decreased bone density. Alter G’s operation is based on overpressure, which can be used to change the human body weight.
We ordinary people living under the law of gravity benefit from that, while the body weight can be reduced by up to 80%. When weight does not burden one’s joints and muscles, it makes pain-free walking and exercise possible. This helps to recover neural pathways and maintain health.
It is said that as a result of a stroke, impulses from the brain do not pass through neural pathways as they should. In addition, brain regions do not co-operate in the normal way due to changes in brain chemistry. Some doctors say that as a result, the brain has a chronic inflammatory condition. According to my experience this is a good term to describe spastic paralysis that does not follow any logic. Exercise may have a completely different effect than one would expect, while rest and relaxation increase overall fitness.
In addition to the symptoms associated with nervous system, bad posture caused by one-sided paralysis induce pain. In the early stages of my disability, walking was not painful, but over the years it has become more and more difficult. After walking on a regular treadmill about five minutes, the whole body is painful. I thought that the AlterG device would help this problem.
In Finland the AlterG Treadmill can be tested for free for 30 minutes in Espoo Leppävaara Liikuntafysio physiotherapy. When I got training pants on and placed myself in a suitable place on the treadmill, the overpressure frame was raised and my training pants were attached to the tank with a zipper. Thanks to this, there is no fear of falling or knees collapsing.
My weight was lightened by 52%, which did not really feel like anything, as my feet were firmly on the mat. As more body weight was reduced, my heels began to rise from the mat to the air, as it happens when I walk in the water. However, the aim was that the feet are on the ground and the feeling of walking is as normal as possible.
We adjusted the treadmill speed to minimum, which enabled a measured stepping. While walking my problem is the paralyzed leg’s ankle, which wants to bend inward when the leg is lifted. However, on AlterG I was able to control my feet in a different way than when walking on a regular treadmill, when spasticity stiffens the ankle so that it does not obey impulses from the brain. Better control meant that I could consciously strengthen neural pathways of the paralyzed ankle.
I walked on the treadmill a while and when my left ankle began to feel tired we stopped the test. My back and middle body section did not feel the slightest pain. Only the arms were put under heavy strain during the exercise when I had to use them to support my posture. However, I believe that the exercise strengthens the back and hip muscles so that I can later maintain my posture without the support of arms.
When I finished testing the overpressure tank was emptied, the zipper was opened, and the frame of the tank dropped down. Only then did I notice the effect of reduced body weight: It felt the same as rising quickly from a swimming pool, which makes the body feel very heavy for a moment.
This is my new project. AlterG device makes longer walking exercises possible. The device should be available to me every day. Not that I must travel over ten miles to walk. However, there are unfortunately only few devices in use, as the basic model M320 for therapy and rehabilitation costs € 50,000 without tax and with accessories a little more. One can attach e.g. a monitor to AlterG to control pacing and correct any wrong moving habits, if necessary. For athletes there is the P200 model, which gives the possibility to observe and analyze the training in great detail.
It is also possible to purchase the AlterG device by making a leasing contract. Then a monthly rate e.g for a 5-year contract can be around 1000 €. Prices are indicative, because interest rates i.a. are changing all the time.
€ 50,000 is a big sum of money, but the amount of money can be seen in a different perspective, when we think that the national health care and social security institution (Kela) in our country pays the same amount and more for a three-week rehabilitation period at a rehabilitation facility for five-persons without any guarantee of the results during the years of its operation, the AlterG device is a joy to innumerable people, and its sporting effects are unparalleled. In my opinion, all fitness and rehabilitation service providers should provide their customers with the opportunity for unweighing exercise, which will make the pleasure hormones circulate also in bodies that experience exercise as a painful effort.
Videos:An Introduction to the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill®
AlterG – Advanced Rehabilitation Technology AlterG experience for Stroke Survivors
AlterG Anti Gravity Treadmill Stroke Survivor
I received a standing wheelchair for my use approximately a year ago. I wrote a short introduction about it after my first impressions. On the anniversary of my wheelchair I thought to expand the introduction, because when I have used the wheelchair I have noticed that its designers have thought (almost) about everything. I also wish that this article gives for designers, salespersons and users of wheelchairs something to think about.
The length of Levo C3 when footrests are flipped up is 100 cm (about 39 inches). It means that the wheelchairs turns a full 360° round in a circle with diameter of 100 cm. Although the wheelchair looks massive it is very agile.
When using Levo C3 I noticed another very positive thing: The wheelchair does not have hard protruding corners, which would grind doorjambs. But Levo C3 can damage surface of paint while turning.
Because it is lacking protruding corners I do not have to be afraid that while turning I would break the glass doors of my closet, like happened some years ago, when the protruding safety wheels on the back of my chair punched the door.
When Levo C3 is in its normal sitting position, its back wheels give a tangible feeling of the length of the wheelchair. But the back wheels are the weakest link of Levo C3. Over the past years I have several times got in trouble, when for example a bag strap or electric cord has intertwined around an axle of a wheel.
A few months ago the wire of a charger for a tablet computer entwined around the back wheel, even though I particularly tried to avoid that happening. The tablet fell down to the floor. Luckily it survived undamaged that plunge and with some considered moves I was able to free the wire from the wheel. Just two days ago the cord of my winch modelled laundry drying rack entwined around the axle of the back wheel of my chair. Luckily I had scissors at hand and I could free myself by cutting the cord. What if I would not have had scissors? To whom I could have called in the middle of the night to ask to free me from that jam? My phone was in another room and it does not have remote control.
It would be great help, if the wheelchair would have reverse camera, which would enable the observation of the back wheels.
Levo C3 has another hidden danger in the knee support, which is attached between knees. In front of the knee support there is a bar that is open on both ends, which downright calls for different kind of cords to entangle to itself. Several years ago my wheelchair pulled a coffee machine from the table, when its electric cable entangled to a hole in the wheelchair. Fortunately the coffee pot was empty. There would have been big mess, if hot coffee would have splattered around the room.
To compensate these “holes” that make life difficult, Levo has a rail underneath the armrests to which one can mount various kind of aids that make life a bit easier. For the first time my wheelchair has a helping hand, on which I can attach my phone or tablet computer. On the rail one can also attach a handbag, toolbox or extra table, if needed.
The control unit in Levo wheelchair can be turned aside, which makes it possible to drive as near as needed to a table. At home this is no problem, because my tables are electrically adjustable, but when I go outside the adjustable control unit is a great feature. In some situations it is easier to work when the control unit is moved aside.
I received my first standing wheelchair in 2000. It was first generation standing wheelchairs. Compared to Levo C3 it was fragile and broke often and it did not give the feeling that standing is my most natural position.
But the reason for that can also be that my physical condition was bad and I was mentally differently tuned to everything. In any case, the sturdy frame and flexible functions of Levo C3 gives completely different feeling also in sitting position compared to regular wheelchair. One can drive the chair also in a standing position. Standing or half sitting position in the wheelchair feels more natural than regular sitting position.
Our success depends on how quickly we are able to adapt to new situations. Standing up forced me to look at my situation from a completely different angle. I have over-active bladder that has neurological causes. This problem has started to bother me over the last few years. When urologist examined that a few years ago in hospital, I kept diary about my liquid circulation for a week. In worst situation I went to toilet 13 times a day when I drank one cup (2 dl) of water every hour.
Even though I received medication to my bladder problems, which greatly improved my situation, going to the toilet with standing wheelchair did not feel natural. Standing requires knee support and other adjustments, but despite the simplicity of everything, it felt pointless crank just for emptying the bladder.
Women Stand to Pee
I had to find out a way to pee while standing, so that I could stand whole day and get most benefit out of it. After pondering the issue for a few days I woke up in one morning with the clear idea that I need to get a urine gutter. I immediately called to my friend, who is a carpenter and has made me several aids and instalments. After explaining my idea he told that he believes that aid like this is already invented. He recommended me to make a Google search. About search words he was not able to say anything.
I wrote to Google search “pee while standing” and several solutions popped up. In an hour I had found several alternatives (gogirl, Sheewee, pStyle, Pibella) and watched videos about women peeing while standing.
It felt as if I was watching the world from a completely new angle. It came to my mind, how this simple aid would have eased my life considerably, especially when I was studying in China.
But when considering the standing wheelchair all these aids were too short. However, I decided to try the pStyle “gutter” that could easily be extended.
We tightened to the end of it an 19 mm hose with cable tie and it worked perfectly. After trying the aid for a while I noticed that it works well in situations when bladder and continence were normal. Otherwise emptying of bladder causes unnecessary stress.
So I had to find some other solution. And actually that ‘other solution’ was already in my use. Earlier I purchased for night time use Uribag – urine bottles made of soft latex. I thought that maybe I could use the same bottles during the daytime also.
We sew a terry cloth bag for the bottles and they turned out to be a useful mobile toilet for me. Initially when I purchased the bottles I was sceptical because of the simple-looking cap, but in use it turned out to be very tight. After careful closing of the bottle it does not leak at all.
The capacity of the Uribag collection bag is 1,1 liters (about 4 cups), but when women use it in lying position, one can fill only half of it. For that reason it is good to have several of them, if you use them in lying position. I clean them by soaking them every now and then in white vinegar. Occasionally I clean the opening with disinfectant.
Standers New Outfit
After discovering the mobile toilet it also required handy clothing, which covers the urine bag. For this problem, help was provided by Super-Goofy, whose outfit, adult romper, suits perfectly for my need. A loose romper is warm and comfortable to wear. Its front part has two way zipper, which works as fly. On the back it has easy-to-open ‘ash dump cover’ for actual visits to the toilet.
Video:Stand up and pee with the pStyle
At the end of May I received a fabulous standing wheelchair, which enables me to work in an upright position beside my electrical adjustable working table. Most often I stand in half-standing/half-sitting position, which eases the circulation of body fluids remarkably and relaxes my feet.
Before I got the standing wheelchair I was not able to predict how much the change in perspective would require adjustments in my living space. When I arrived home with the new wheelchair I noticed that my apartment needed new arrangements.
My sitting height now is about 26 inches (65 cm) from the floor. With my old wheelchair I had to fit all my stuff to lower shelves of cupboards, but bending down to reach the lowest shelves is most inconvenient now. From middle shelf upwards all cupboard space is now accessible for me. What I saw earlier as high is middle level now, and what I considered as middle level earlier, is lower level now.
If I want to pick up something from the floor, or if I want to fill up the washing machine, I can tilt the wheelchair so that my distance from the floor is about 18 inches (45 cm). When I stand up from the wheelchair I tilt my chair so that my legs reach the floor and then I raise the chair to half-sitting position which makes standing up much easier.
Sometimes my feet become so swollen that just standing on them is painful. At those times my wheelchair tilts to lounge chair. When the wheelchair is in resting position it is easy to lift feet up, massage them or just meditate.
When I obtained my first electrical wheelchair in 1988 it was not meant to be my primary mobility aid. In that time I was walking with a crutch. My walking speed was about 0,6 miles (1 km) per hour, and it was the longest distance that I could walk without pause.
The main reason for purchasing a wheelchair was that I was accepted to the university and I had to be able to move quicker from place A to place B. Because the left side of my body is paralysed and I cannot carry anything when walking, the wheelchair increased my independence, because it carried everything I needed.
In 1988 the first criterion for my wheelchair was that it should not become a mobility hindrance by itself. The wheelchair had to be so lightweight and flexible that it did not need any special transportation. Until now all my electrical wheelchairs could easily be disassembled in a way that they could be transported in a passenger car. 1999 I graduated from a German university as a translator for German and Chinese. Wheelchair did it´s job and promoted vocational rehabilitation.
Now my situation is completely different. My challenge is physical rehabilitation and recovering of muscle strength. In my opinion possibilities are limitless, even though much time has passed since I became disabled.
When driving it feels like sliding on caterpillar tracks. After I had used my new wheelchair for a few days, I felt as if I was swinging on the top of a wobbling tree. Apparently my sense of balance was trying to adjust to my new body positions.
After two weeks I was so tired that after 6 pm I did not have energy to focus on any demanding task. Probably my body needs several months to adapt to its new conditions. The best possible outcome would be that the new chair would trigger constant change in my body, activating muscles and expanding my horizon.
My horizon expanded first when I arrived home with my new chair and I was able to see to the street while standing in front of a window.
Ten years ago I spent one year in a rehabilitation centre in China. There was a man, who was paralysed from the neck down, sitting in a wheelchair, his wife pushing it. It seemed to me that speaking was the only thing he could do in average Joe’s manner.
I had been in rehab for several months when I saw five therapists supporting him on a mat table as he was standing on his knees. His face was telling it was an extreme effort for him.
I often saw him several times a day doing exercises with his physio- and occupational therapist.
The exercise room was available for us from 8 am to 5 pm daily. Every guest had a personal assistant, who helped him to carry out his fitness program.
The facility was very simple and apart from one exercise bike, there was no fitness equipment. Nevertheless the impact of the exercise was so big that I begun to walk with a rollator after several months of whole day exercise.
As I left the rehabilitation centre the man, who ten months earlier was totally paralysed, sitting in a wheelchair, was standing on his own feet beside the mat table without any support.
It means that a totally paralysed person can rehabilitate. In our system these people are planted in a wheelchair and are sent to live on pension. The society pays them tens of thousands of Euros year after year, although it would be possible to recover their motility. If this is not a crime against humanity what is?
I recall this thing now when I am trying to find for me a mobile standing aid. It should be so robust that one can even dance on it.
I found one mobile standing device on the market, which has so much fine technique and single components, so that it doesn’t fit for my purpose. That’s why I thought, I could use a robust, manual standing frame and let someone do a suitable vehicle out of it. It would only need the installation of an electrical steering unit on the standing frame.
When I asked about it in the medical supply store, who sells the standing frame I was told that the installation of an electrical operating system on the standing frame would be ‘too complicated’ and they have no experience of it. The seller explained their negative answer also with responsibility issues. In my ear this sounded simply like this: The company don’t want to accept the responsibility that I would get a vehicle that suits my needs.
Today people make prosthesis that can be steered by the power of thoughts. In contrast to this background it is absolutely inapt to say that the installation of an electrical steering system is too complicated.
Also in this matter the question is surely only about money when own profit is more important than promotion of creative work.
With regard to the functioning of a society this kind of thinking is very harmful, as it nullifies the rehabilitation efforts in general.
When I returned home from China ten years ago after one year rehabilitation my physical condition had improved immensely. At first I had to make a new rehabilitation plan for the authorities and respective application for further rehabilitation.
Two months passed by and because my matter did not proceed, I asked what is wrong. I found out that my papers had not proceeded one step from the rehabilitation unit due to thoughtlessness of the rehabilitation planner.
For this reason almost one year went by before I could start with my rehabilitation. The results I had attained in China were erased with the bureaucratic procedure and I had to start my rehabilitation from scratch again. But that was not the first time.
I have a feeling that in the past 35 years my motility would have recovered long time ago, if I would have had the necessary resources, and would have been able to follow freely the path that my inner navigator shows me.
Rehabilitation units should have no single bureaucrat, who evade own responsibilities and who think that serving clients is too complicated, when one should find individual solutions to enhance the personal power of the rehabilitees. Gorgeous rehabilitation centres, fitness equipment and countless therapy options are useless, if the regulations and norms – and especially the mastery of money – in societies nullify every good effort.
The economic crisis in the world is not caused by money or the lack of it. The reason is, because money is in the first place not the currency that makes everything happen. Yet people treat and worship it, as if it were a living organism.
In regard to the coexistence of people on this planet it causes huge damage that there is large groups of people, who think that money makes the world go round.
In Finnish there is an idiom, which is directly translated into English: ‘to climb up a tree bottom first’. It is used to depict a situation, when someone is doing something without common sense, or in false order, or unnecessary complicated.
People are acting just like this – climbing up a tree bottom first – when they let material things lead their lives. Money is a good servant but a bad master. Because money is our master, life on the Earth is like the struggle of Sisyphus.
I wrote this article to dismantle my frustration from having no control over this thing and being too dependent on the decisions of others. Now I am grateful that the medical supply store didn’t immediately begin to realise my thoughts. I was forced to search for other solutions for my mobility needs.
As I was browsing the web the solution – Smove – was suddenly right before my eyes. It is just that what I have thought about. I believe that God means it good with us, although the life often looks like the struggle of Sisyphus.
See also:Smove – stand and move
Videos:Smove – stand and move demo
I enjoy very much when I can immerse myself into my thoughts and feel connected to the consciousness of the Universe. Two weeks ago I had spent four days and nights this way as I wrote one text. When it was time to do something else, I couldn’t get rid of my thoughts.
Some time earlier I had found some Youtube binaural beats music videos, and I thought to myself that maybe meditation and listening to music will help me overcome the problem.
I was so abound with my thoughts that I only wanted to become the music energy and feel its vibrations in my body. When I had listened to a video for about 20 minutes my genitals suddenly begun to have involuntary muscle contractions, like in orgasm. “Ooh … ooh …”, I heard myself sound.
I was feeling horny. This was not a completely new experience for me, because I had felt that by meditation earlier. Not so strong, however.
‘How is this possible?’ I asked myself. How is it that I can orgasm without having sex?
At that moment I recalled an article I read 15 years ago. It was an introduction to a sound-therapy that a Swedish doctor used to treat his patients with. He calls it Music Acupuncture.
The treatment is based on a theory that every organ in our body and its function operates in its own frequency. The organs can be treated by listening to music that resonates to the particular frequency of that organ.
I have not delved deeper into this subject, but I was sure that this is the same thing. Although, at first hand, I would say that the music I was listening to (Advanced Nerve and Cell Regeneration) had nothing to do with sexuality or genitals.
I listened to the program till the end and my feelings calmed down.
I am surely not the only one, who has sexual experiences during meditation or by listening binaural beats, so I begun to search information about it. What search results gives Youtube for sex binaural beats? First my eye caught videos called Hands-free Orgasm, boost sex drive, sexual stimulation, sexual healing, genital recovery and repair, genital repair and fertility. Obviously the phenomenon is very ordinary in certain circles.
But it is not so easy to find discussion or experiences about it on the Internet. People are not willing to share such intimate experiences, I guess. Anyway, I found some websites (links underneath), which give some view, what kind of potential is involved in this matter.
There are binaural beats to synchronize the brain hemispheres, to support the lymph function, for nerve regeneration, to balance the functions of inner organs etc. I am not familiar with the theory of vibrations and frequencies, and I have only a layman’s knowledge and feeling towards music. But people, who are familiar with these things tell that the original tones, which we know today as Solfeggio-frequencies have the healing effect. Over the centuries the methods to make music have varied very much and the original, healing frequencies were forgotten.
The Ancient Solfeggio Scale
The Solfeggio-frequencies are defined with the old solmization (solfège) scale: do, re, mi, fa,sol, la, (ti, do). Solmization don’t define the pitch of tones, only their relation to each other. The pitch makes the frequency of a tone and their relation to each other makes the difference. In the best case they have a healing effect in people’s anatomy.
We have read articles that listening to classical music enhances intelligence. Plants are growing better when people play classical music to them and cows produce more milk. When we are sad we listen to low frequencies. They have pain releasing effect and influence the energy body. They liberate people from guilt and fear. So, they turn grief to joy.
In the 1600s Isaac Newton defined frequencies of colors as he made prisma research. Colors are light vibrating in different frequencies. In that way people were able to define a particular color for each Solfeggio frequency.
There are six original Solfeggio frequencies beginning with 396 Hz and ending with 852 Hz. In the chart underneath I have marked with grey color the frequencies (174, 285 ja 963 Hz) that have been added later to the original Solfeggio scale. In the chart I have also compiled the colors related to each frequency and their effects in the physical and spiritual being of humans.
The reason why I begun to listen to the binaural beats in the first place was that I wanted to get rid of my thoughts that seemed to be too deep-rooted in me. I had spent four days totally immersed in my writings, but when the day turned to evening, I felt that my writing work was very far in the past.
MusicAcupuncture.com: What is Music Acupuncture
AttunedVibrations.com: What are the Solfeggio frequencies?
Binauralbeatsmeditation.com: Have You Ever Tried a Binaural Beats Meditation Orgasm?
Videos:Wholetones (Michael Tyrrell): The Frequencies
Gregg Braden: Vibration Advanced Nerve and Cell Regeneration with Binaural Beats
Wholetones Healing Frequency Music 396Hz, 417Hz, 444Hz, 528Hz, 639Hz, 741Hz & 852Hz samples
396 Hz ‘Solfeggio’ by Free Spirit®
Solfeggio 528 Hz — Transformation and Miracles (DNA Repair)
Pineal Gland Activation
Solfeggio Mirror – 147Hz Sublimation
This is my new website. I am very happy with the result, which was developed completely without programming skills and clear understanding about how everything works. Thanks to Google, Youtube and to the developers of the excellent Striking theme and their support, who made this possible.
Similarly as Windows operating system made it possible for Joe Average to run computers, which led to spreading of PC-computers to private people, WordPress themes, which make web publishing most simple will be most successful.
The Internet is one of the best inventions in the new world. In the Web the mankind has a real opportunity to work as a single organism. During the last decades the developers of IT-applications have spent much time and energy fixing information security holes and protecting intellectual property rights. It is OK. But I hope that instead of trying to control the internet the decision-makers would focus in the future on finding ways how the internet can serve people in the best way possible.
Nowadays people often complain that young people have bad future perspectives, because older generations have eaten their inheritance and have left the debts for future generations to pay. I think that young people have never in history had such a good starting point for self-realization as they have in the new media age. All information is practically at our fingertips. It depends on each individual how we take advantage of own opportunities or if we have the courage to grab them at all.
Some years ago I laughed when I read about news about a research, which showed that young people have the burning desire to become famous. Reality TV -shows, Facebook and so on are seen to be as a part of this froth culture – if one wants to see it that way. The desire to become famous in an indication of an attitude: It tells that young people enjoy being at the center of events and they want actively contribute to what is happening. It is more typical for older generations that people want to stay in the background. I also begun this blog anonymously.
Internet lifts people above time and space and all over the world they can in real time influence the course of events. We see Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others as social media, but in fact the whole Internet is social media. People have unlimited possibilities to share their thoughts and experiences and when they do so, it is always first-hand information.
(Young) people have a boundless tool, the keyboard of a computer, through which one can become a celebrity overnight before you even realize it yourself. A real example of this is i.a. Sara (Smoukahontas) Forsberg, who a year ago uploaded her video ‘What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners’ to Youtube and which was viewed 9 million times in less than two weeks. The fame helped Sara in a flash from her cashier job of that time to Los Angeles, where she carries out her dream in music and entertainment business.
Older generations have considered the virtual world on the Internet as less important and we think that the physical world we are living in is most important. However, the relationships we build on the Internet can be even more sustainable than the connections we build in the outside world. The emotional experiences that the virtual world creates in us have direct impact in our physical body, which concretely shape the physical world around us. It is important in every aspect.
Internet is a real labour market and powerful grapevine, where people can without middleman improve the well-being of others. Power of money would decrease when people would listen to their inner being, be honest with themselves and would manifest their true self. It would put companies and people in real competitive position, where the driving force is co-operation.
The image I have placed above this article is not my (artistic) view of the mirror of our collective mind. It is a model (Mandelbrot fractal) of the chaos in nature, the consciousness of the Universe generated by the language of mathematics. To me it looks more like a symphony.
Maybe the science is able to create a map of the Internet in the future like medicine has by means of Mandelbrot set been able to generate a map of vascular system or like engineers have used it to develop the littlest of antenna we have in our cellular phones. Time will tell.
Videos:Saara Forsberg: What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners
Saara Forsberg: Girl Speaks 20 Languages Benoit Mandelbrot: Hunting the Hidden Dimension
The Amazing Mandelbrot Set tutorial
Dr. Jason Lisle: The Secret Code of Creation
Cross trainer (cross-country skiing simulation)
Eight years ago in a rehab centre I got to know cross trainer, which became my oldest fitness equipment. Gym instructors didn’t even recommend it to me, because they saw me in a wheelchair that doesn’t make really motoric impression. But when I saw the equipment in function I thought that it is just what I need. My assistant helped me get aboard and after I had pedalled it one minute I decided to have one to use at home.
The decision was easier to do than carry out. All the cross trainers in the market were designed for fitness centres. The length was at least 63 inches. They were too big for the single room flat I had in that time. My cross trainer should be at most 53 inches long, I thought. After I had browsed the selection in the Internet for some time my mail order service offered me a 53 inches long apparatus in loyalty price.
In my article ‘Living a balanced life on own conditions’ I write about my view that although the starting point 35 years ago seemed hopeless I felt that I myself had to search the challenges that could bring my life forward. A child develops by his own enthusiasm, but also because he constantly faces new challenges.
When I had the cross trainer in front of me I had a new challenge. My first challenge was what was the easiest way to get aboard. The answer was nearer than I thought:
I sit on a high bar stool in the back of the appliance and my therapist helps me stand up.
But before standing up he puts an ankle support on my left foot and binds the foot on the pedal with velcro tape so that it doesn’t fall down. In addition there is an anti slip mat under the foot.
At first I could exercise with the machine only for two minutes, but when I got used to it I could easily have a 5 – 10 minutes warm-up with it in the beginning of each physiotherapy treatment.
After my therapist helped me to take a few steps on the treadmill I was feeling as if I had made a long run. But it felt good.
We found a good place for the machine and mounted a foldable seat on the wall just behind the treadmill.
Walking on the treadmill is a new walking experience for me – or rather a reminder of natural walking. The treadmill is manual, so I have to push with the ball of the foot against the conveyor belt to make it move. The foot sole has to have direct contact with the belt. The first steps were a big exertion. I was feeling that impulses were going through my body.
Walking is not simply moving legs before one another, what I was doing when I used a walking stick. The foot sole is a part of a complex control mechanism. For the first time I happened to think, what is meant when one says that someone’s step has a good drive: the point is how much power the person can load to the ball of foot.
I understood why I have never been fond of wearing shoes, especially after I got this physical disability. I feel as if my eyes were covered when I put shoes on. In 1980s as walking was my only means to move from place A to place B, I always felt that when I felt the ground under my feet walking was easier.
Research tells us that the foot sole has 200 000 nerve endings and 70 % of the information the brain gets about our movement, position and balance comes from those nerve endings. When this sensory feedback becomes extinct, our brain has less information to control body’s movement and maintain equilibrium.
I have used the treadmill for four years until now. In the beginning we had to make own adjustments on the equipment, because I had to take a support grip on higher level, which straightened my body and made walking easier.
After two years walking exercise I had the feeling that my condition allowed me to walk on the treadmill as much as I like to, but the false posture of my body while I was walking made my body ache so much that it was unbearable.
Last year we introduced to my body a transfer belt, which allows my therapist to prevent my body from twisting into false position. We also made a leg brace for the paralysed side of the body to correct the posture. With regard to the leg brace the treadmill (conveyor belt) is too narrow. The conveyor belt under the feet is only 1,11 ft and I have to pay attention that my feet step on the belt.
I wish that the designers and producers of fitness equipment make them various needs of consumers in mind and don’t produce only standard equipment for so called normal users. So also people with reduced mobility who don’t comply with the needs of the equipment, but urgently need the motoric effects of them could have the most benefit of the equipment.
In principle fitness equipment could from the very beginning be designed like eg. electrical wheelchairs, which have a standard vehicle and accessories that the consumer can purchase according to own personal needs.
The body bow, which serves me when stretching and relaxing back, hip and belly muscles and when opening the thorax is an indispensable aid.
It trains also the lumbar region and backside of the thighs.
I have a spastic paralysis, but the spasticity in my body is nothing compared with a situation when the spasticity stiffens the whole body in a way that it is hard even for another person to straighten the limbs. In a rehabilitation centre I have often noticed how challenging this can be for therapists. My therapist should also have had at least three arms while we were doing stretching exercises. But this has changed.
Last year I purchased a tool that in addition to its mobility enhancing functions works very well when one wants to stretch spastic limbs.
After I sit down on the seat we put a big therapy roll between my legs to release spasticity. Therapist binds my left hand with a velcro tape on the handle of the equipment. After that we can do easily also diagonal stretches backwards.
We learnt also another way to release spasticity and train the body:
As I bend down to the paralysed left side and try to straighten my body it is difficult, because the left side of my body stiffens. The arm twists in a spastic position.
After the therapist has bend the thumb outward and straightened my fingers as my body is bent down, and keeps the fingers straightened when I straighten myself the spasticity doesn’t affect my body. This has allowed us to exercise my body in a new way.
This works for me. Every spastic case is different though and finding solutions for these problems depends on how we listen to our inner being. In my case the idea to straighten the fingers initially came from my therapist.
Wall Bars for One-Leg-Standing
The exercise doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it is much harder than one would imagine. The effect is completely different than when one stands on two legs when the weight is balanced on both sides of the body and muscles are relaxed. When one stands on one leg the centre of mass of the body changes and muscles work hard to maintain the balance.
As I started the exercises I felt a burning pressure in my thorax and I couldn’t be in the position longer than five minutes. After continual exercises my endurance improved and I could stand even twenty minutes balancing sequentially on left and right leg for five minutes.
Wall bars I purchased years ago are a good aid in this exercise. My friend made me a step on which I put the resting leg. He also made a holder to fix on the wall bar to prevent the knee of the paralysed leg from turning inside.
If you have a feeling that you fall down as soon as you raise your leg on the step you can start the exercise by standing steadily on both legs. Therapist (or your assistant) can wake up the muscles in your body when he/she stand behind you and pushes your body to the left or to the right or forward or pulls it backwards so that you resist the movement with your body and keep your body straightened. Only a couple of resisting movements make the muscles in my body awake so that I can begin with the actual exercise.
One-leg standing is an exercise which promotes walking ability and ability to climb stairs while it improves body control.
As I stayed in the rehabilitation centre in China I started after couple of months to walk with a rollator as I did in the beginning when I became disabled. However, it demanded full-time exercise to reach those results. In the Chinese rehabilitation centre I had excellent opportunity for that. After I returned home my chances were totally different and my condition reverted to the state what it was before I went to China.
It is too bad that despite of our gorgeous rehabilitation centres, fitness equipment and countless options the regulations and norms – and especially the mastery of money – in western societies hamstring the real work in a way that we can accomplish only minimal part of what our capacity would allow us. And yet: The requirement for the realisation and fulfillment of ourselves would only be that we have free hands to do that what is dearest to us.
I have been wondering why are waterbeds marketed basically for wealthy people as an ego flattering place to sleep in. According to adverts waterbeds are good for two things and the other is sleeping.
I bought my first waterbed in the beginning of the 1980s, as they came to Finland. The reason was very simple: one morning I could hardly get out of bed, because my back hurt so bad. I thought that I have to find me a better mattress so that my back would hold me up as it did before.
I went to a furniture store and tried a water mattress. I heard that it effects the body like when we are swimming: the body feels lighter than on terra firma, because the body weight reduces in certain relation to how much it pushes water aside. Pregnant women can sleep on a water mattress on their stomach.
I didn’t understand much of this theory, but the rest of the day I was feeling as if I was floating in seventh heaven. I was grateful and deeply satisfied. I couldn’t really understand for what reason.
Following day I went back to the shop and made a payment plan for the mattress, although it took ten times my monthly income.
After I had slept one week on the water mattress the back pains were just a memory.
Before I got the water mattress I was never hungry. I tried to remember to eat one proper meal per day, because people theoretically need food to stay alive. Sometimes however, I was on the way all day long, busy settling my affairs and when I returned home in the evening it occurred to me that in addition to breakfast I hadn’t eaten anything during the whole day.
In the first week as I was adapting myself to the water mattress I drank plenty of water. In the evenings, before going to sleep I placed a water jug on the night table just beside me. After one week my back pain was gone, but the appetite came back. Food had a delicious taste in my mouth and I began to enjoy eating.
When I had menstrual pain I fell into my mattress and relaxed. As I was lying on the bed I didn’t feel alone. When I wanted to sleep I fell asleep, although I was not feeling tired.
Before I got to know water mattresses I couldn’t speak so clearly that I could have managed my things by telephone. This was originally the reason for my back pains. In the beginning of the 1980s I didn’t have a wheelchair. The only way for me to have understandable communication with people was to write everything on a paper. So with the help of a crutch I went to see officers and employees in diverse bureaus, companies and service points. After I had slept one year on a water mattress my articulation suddenly clarified so much that I could settle my matters on the phone.
I saw the benefits of a water mattress very clearly and I find it weird that it doesn’t belong to the most common medical appliances.
Someone told me in the 1980s that water mattress was originally developed to treat patients with skin burns. I can imagine that the cool vinyl bed is ideal for this purpose, but a water mattress has obviously other medical effects as well. I believe that doctors know this.
Water mattress for therapy useIn the 1990s I studied in Germany. At that time my occupational therapist, who treated physically disabled children bought my first mattress. She said that water mattresses are often used in Germany as rehabilitation aid.
When I search water mattresses for therapy use on the Internet now I cannot find anything that would directly refer to therapy use.
For children, however, a water mattress is a playground comparable to a trampoline. A Chinese manufacturer of water mattresses developed for this purpose markets them by emphasizing the training of muscle coordination and body balance.
One website gives instructions for a home made giant water mattress for children’s garden plays . If I would have a garden or a wide passageway at home I would buy second hand water mattresses to form a walking platform. Of course only, if the structures of my house bear it.
A Youtube-video introduces a different alternative for a water mattress:
Walking on water
Waterbed for Cows
(Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds)Another Youtube-video introduces waterbeds for cows. The video is saying that thanks to the water mattresses the milk production increases and its quality improves. Cows sleeping on waterbeds sleep longer and have fewer knee and leg injuries. The amount of white blood cells reduces, which tells that the cows are healthier.
DoggybedMy friend has a dog who has an innate hip dysplasia. As I was searching relief for his pains I ended up on a German website introducing orthopedic mattresses for the treatment of dogs who are suffering from various kinds of pains. The water mattresses developed for this purpose are recommended by veterinarians. According to the website the pains often disappear only after short-term use and the dog can sleep relaxed.
So, water mattresses are recommended for animals and their medical effects seem to be widely known. Despite of that we hardly ever hear a doctor recommend a water mattress to patients who have joint pains and other problems.
Global Animal: Dairy Farm’s Waterbeds Improve Milk Quality And Cow Health