Electrical stimulation uses the same technique of pads on the skin above a muscle to help with exercising a weak or paralysed muscle. This could be useful for exercising and strengthening weak or paralysed muscles in the hand, arm or leg. It can be useful for reducing shoulder subluxation and the associated pain. It can also be helpful to acclimatise a client to the stimulation sensation prior to using FES in suitable candidates.
Assessment for electrical stimulation can be provided and treatment programmes can be designed for use as part of rehabilitation programmes.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
Functional electrical stimulation involves putting on electrical pads to the skin above a muscle group and activating the muscles by electrical current. FES produces contractions in paralysed muscles by the application of small pulses of electrical stimulation to nerves that supply the weak or paralysed muscle. This causes movement which can be used functionally to assist with walking.
It has been found to be useful for some clients with reducing the effort needed to re-learn to walk, reduce dependence on walking aids and helpers and can assist when becoming fatigued to get the most out of physiotherapy sessions and daily life.
RT-200 FES Rehabilitation Therapy System
The RT200 is the only system which provides simultaneous FES arm and leg therapy, which is called "hybrid" therapy. You use the RT200 while sitting in the dedicated seat secured by a three point harness. Your feet are secured in the footplates while your hands grip the hand grips - a position that allows you to obtain hybrid therapy. Hybrid therapy is often sought after because of the possibility of higher cardiovascular demands compared to leg or arm therapy alone.
Electrodes are placed on up to 10 of your muscle groups - on one or both legs and one or both arms. The muscles to be stimulated will be selected by your clinician based on an initial assessment. Typically you would build up to daily 1 hour sessions, but not more than once per day. Your clinician will prescribe the usage that is appropriate for you for home and clinic use.
If you have sufficient strength and movement in your arms, your therapist may focus the FES on your lower extremities. In this case you could move your arms while the FES evoked strong muscles contractions in your legs. If you have reduced strength and movement in your arms, your therapist may distribute the FES across both your arms and legs so that you can gain the benefits of FES in all the major muscle groups.
RT-300 - Leg Rehabilitation System
The RT-300 offers a leg and/or arm cycle option. This machine allows you to cycle whilst positioned in your wheelchair or seated in a strong framed, well padded chair without wheels.
This machine delivers functional electrical stimulation during the active cycling part of the programme for either the arms and or legs. Alternatively electrical stimulation could be set up for one or both legs and trunk.
The programme duration can be varied and set according to your presentation, tolerance and ability. Typically you would build up to daily 1 hour sessions, but not more than once per day. We would recommend that you start with 3 sessions weekly and build up to 5 sessions per week where applicable. Your clinician will prescribe the usage that is appropriate for you for home and clinic use. The different muscles groups chosen for stimulation will vary dependent on your physical presentation. This machine also offers interval training modes that can be used to maximise your muscle strengthening and cardiovascular fitness.
RT-600 Step & Stand Rehabilitation System
The aim of the RT 600 Standing and stepping programmes is to increase the percentage weight bearing capacity of your body through your legs with the use of electrical stimulation delivered to your leg muscles.
Functional electrical stimulation is delivered in a standing position through the use of a hoist and a reciprocal step and stand action is achieved. Electrical stimulation is delivered to the selected lower leg muscle groups.
You step or stand in the RT600 while secured in a comfortable supportive harness from the electrically powered lift with your feet are secured into the RT600's footplates using velcro straps. This arrangement allows you to support an adjustable amount of your body weight. This is called partial body weight supported stepping (or standing).
Typically you would build up to 1 hour sessions at least three times per week, but not more than once per day. Your clinician will prescribe the usage that is appropriate for you.