Quadriciser Appears in Farragut Life Magazine
New Device at HealthPlus Improves Mobility
Former Auburn Defensive Coordinator Frank Orgel uses the Quadriciser
Frank Orgel, defensive coordinator under Pat Dye, was skeptical when an old friend first told him about a machine called a Quadriciser. “I had tried a lot of things to help with my ALS, and nothing seemed to make much of a difference,” Orgel says. “But after getting on the machine two days in a row, I couldn’t believe the difference it made.”
The Quadriciser is a machine that patients sit in as it stimulates blood flow throughout the body. After the patient sits in the chair of the machine, their feet are strapped into boots that are attached to cables. If they are able, they can grip the hanging handles with each hand. If not, their hands are strapped in as well. The machine gently guides the limbs in a forward or reverse motion that mimics walking or crawling.
Orgel was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, about five years ago. Orgel remembers hearing about the Quadriciser from a friend who traveled with him to a nursing home in Mississippi to try the machine out. “I got on the machine for about an hour the first time,” the coach remembers. “I couldn’t tell any difference that night. But, when I went back the next day to try it again, I couldn’t believe the improvements I saw. After the second session ended, the man showing me how the machine worked asked me to touch my nose with my bad hand. I knew I couldn’t do that, but he asked me to try, and sure enough I touched my finger to my nose. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t been able to lift that hand in a long time.”
Orgel’s wife, Sarah, remembers being skeptical at first too. “It sounded like a gimmick to me,” Sarah remembers. “I was tired of trying so many different doctors and treatments with nothing really helping, but after I saw Frank’s improvement for myself, I became a believer, too.”
The Orgels believed that because of the improvements that Frank had achieved, others in the community could benefit from the machine as well, and together they presented the idea to EAMC. Then, in November 2015, the Quadriciser was installed at HealthPlus Fitness Center in Auburn, and now others have also been able to benefit from the machine as well.
“It’s not something that will heal you, especially with a disease like ALS,” Orgel explains. “But with consistent use it can help you maintain a better quality of life, and with anyone who suffers from ALS or other neurological diseases, that is a game changer.”
Sarah and Frank agree that as part of their personal fight against ALS, they want to promote the Quadriciser because of what it has the possibility of achieving. “We feel like it changed Frank’s quality of life, and to anyone out there who has suffered from a stroke, brain damage or even someone who is recovering after a surgery, why not try it, and see if it could improve your quality of life as well.”
Another Auburn legend, former Athletic Director David Housel, has also benefited from the use of the Quadriciser. Housel, who has been working with HealthPlus personal trainer Robert Reams for almost 14 years, uses the Quadriciser to help stimulate blood flow to his feet after loss of sensation due to neuropathy.
“I didn’t want to try the machine at first,” Housel says, “But once I started using it I have enjoyed it.” Housel explains that he is one of many who have benefited from the services of HealthPlus and EAMC throughout the years. “Robert’s not only my trainer, he’s a good friend. That’s one of the things I like about HealthPlus, they’re not just professionals, they’re your friends, too. It’s enjoyable to come here.
Housel uses the Quadriciser twice a week for an hour, and has been using it for almost three months. “The Quadriciser is a machine and nothing more,” Housel says. “But the fact that this machine is here, to me, is symbolic of EAMC’s commitment to good health and quality of life for the whole community. I think it makes a difference in my health and I have benefitted from it.”
Housel’s trainer, Robert Reams, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist at HealthPlus, and he, along with Liz Handler, another certified personal trainer at HealthPlus, are responsible for training anyone who is interested in trying the Quadriciser. “The machine does the work for the patient,” Reams explains. “It’s unlike a stationary bike or a treadmill. The patient can relax and the machine stimulates blood flow and neurological responses. It’s a good option for patients who have had brain injuries, stroke, ALS or other neurological diseases. We recommend that patients use the Quadriciser a minimum of twice a week for treatment, and according to physician and therapist recommendations. Unfortunately, the Quadriciser is not covered by insurance at this time, but it is open to use for anyone, including individuals who are not members of HealthPlus.
“The whole reason behind EAMC providing this machine and service, is to provide individuals a better quality of life,” Reams says. “When you have limitations because of stroke, ALS or a brain injury, you are very limited in what you can do, but something like this machine can really improve quality of life and allow clients to feel better.”
For more information about the Quadriciser, contact HealthPlus Fitness Center at 334-887-5666, or visit their website at www.healthplusfitness.com. You can also learn more about the Quadriciser at http://quadriciser.com.
Former Auburn Defensive Coordinator Frank Orgel uses the Quadriciser to help increase the blood flow in his limbs and improve mobility.
David Housel works with HealthPlus trainer Robert Reams on the Quadriciser.
“It sounded like a gimmick to me, “I was tired of trying so many different doctors and treatments with nothing really helping, but after I saw Frank’s improvement for myself, I became a believer, too.”
Ruth Myers, 80, left, uses the Quadriciser as physical therapist Kate Green watches her progress. In the background, Brandi Chavis, 29, uses another Quadriciser as Shelly Garber coaches her. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun)
Westminster gym for the disabled specializes in small miracle
At TheraFit, exercise helps members move againRuth Myers, 80, left, uses the Quadriciser as physical therapist… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)April 05, 2013|By Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore SunIt's a sunny morning in Westminster, and the pulleys are squeaking, the weights clinking as a half-dozen members of a small gym give the equipment a workout.
Bouncy music comes though a stereo's speakers. A trainer encourages a client on a treadmill. A large banner on the wall reads, "Believe In Miracles!"
Gina Gilligan-Della said she has seen more than her share of those.
Gilligan-Della, 48, is the founding president of TheraFit Gym, a fitness center designed to serve individuals with severe physical disabilities from spinal-cord injury to the after-effects of stroke.
It's one of the few such facilities in the nation that offer specialized equipment for clients to use long-term and on an outpatient basis. And despite that it's based on a theory of rehabilitation medical science only began exploring about a decade ago, the membership rolls are full, the staff of four certified therapists is busy and members' loved ones are singing thankful praises.
"[My daughter] was never able to move her legs on her own," said Vicki Pickett of Mount Airy, of Dana Pickett, 32, who was born with cerebral palsy and started her program at TheraFit in 2007. "It didn't happen overnight, but thanks to TheraFit, and Gina, Dana can now [maneuver] around in a walker. I've shed a lot of happy tears at that gym."
With its mirrored walls and side-by-side exercise stations, TheraFit looks at first glance like any small suburban gym. What sets it apart is a relatively new theory — that regular, repeated exercise is good for those who can't move on their own, and in fact can help restore the power to move — and a $16,000 piece of equipment, the QuadriCiser, that helps put that idea into effect.
With its seat for the user, grips for lifting with the hands and pedals for the feet, the QuadriCiser looks like a Nautilus machine, but aides or loved ones can strap the user in, fastening his or her hands to the grips and feet to the pedals.
A motor then operates the system, recreating, for example, the process of walking. As a member's muscles develop over time, he or she learns to supply some of the force independently.
As recently as 2002, Gilligan-Della, a computer technician by trade, never imagined she'd need such a machine.
One evening that January, a pair of police officers appeared at her Westminster home with terrible news: Her youngest brother, Richard Ayres, had been in a head-on auto accident in Washington, D.C., and was expected not to survive.
The wreck left Ayres paralyzed, comatose and in a vegetative state. Doctors told family members he would never improve. But they decided to help Rich, whatever the cost.
What happened next will sound familiar to many family members of disabled individuals. Ayres spent the next several months living in hospitals, receiving acute care to keep him alive. At the end of a year, he was still in a comatose state, his muscles were badly atrophied, and his insurance ran out.
Something told Gilligan-Della that regular exercise would help her brother. No matter how hard she looked, though, she could find no facility where he could get long-term access to specialized fitness equipment. An Internet search led her to the website of QuadriCiser Inc., a company based in Knoxville, Tennessee.
She joined with her mother to buy one and put it in her basement. She got certified as a fitness therapist. And she went to work with Rich.
Within a few months, Gilligan-Della said, she felt movement in Ayres' left foot, then elsewhere. He later emerged, slowly, from his coma. At 42, he is still wheelchair bound, but he can move all four limbs, stand, walk several stairs at a time, do 100 situps and initiate conversations with his 12-year-old son.
"We've seen triumph out of this tragedy," Gilligan-Della said.
She founded TheraFit in 2006, saw her client base expand from three to more than 25, and moved to the current 2,000-square-foot site in December. Today the gym boasts four QuadriCisers, two supported walkers and an elliptical machine adapted for people with disabilities.
Most insurance policies cover the first phase of training, a regimen of specialized physical therapy. Coverage continues as long as therapists can document improvement. Clients may then use the equipment as part of a long-term fitness program, usually paying out of pocket, though they're also eligible for state grants and the support of private donors.
About the same time Gilligan-Della was beginning her second career, a few medical institutions were also exploring what is now called activity-based restorative therapy.
At one such place, the seven-year-old International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy-Krieger in Baltimore, five physicians and 45 therapists now see about 50 patients a day, and others can train at a wellness center not unlike TheraFit.
"Even 10 or 15 years ago, people thought recovery happened only in the first six months or a year, then stopped," said Rebecca Martin, manager of clinical training at ICSCI. "We now know movement can be recovered long after an injury. But that recovery is activity-dependent."
For patients in both places, progress comes in small stages.
Take Jared Lutz of Eldersburg. He was paralyzed and brain-damaged in a pole-vaulting accident in 2008. When he began at TheraFit, he lacked the power even to hold the handles.
Therapists took to attaching his hands to the QuadriCiser as it ran. One day about three months later, Gilligan-Della suggested removing the straps.
Jared gripped the handles throughout a 45-minute workout, and everyone in the place burst into tears.
"That might sound like a small thing, but for us, tiny things can be huge," said his father, Brandon Lutz. "Gina teaches the art of the possible."
Brad Behnke, associate professor of exercise physiology at Kansas State University, and collaborators have shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis may enhance tumor oxygenation and improve treatments in cancer patients.
Moderate exercise may make cancer treatments more effective, kinesiologist finds
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University kinesiology research offers encouraging information for cancer patients: A brisk walk or a slow jog on a regular basis may be the key to improved cancer treatments.
Brad Behnke, associate professor of exercise physiology, and collaborators have shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis enhances tumor oxygenation, which may improve treatments in cancer patients. Now Behnke is using a $750,000 American Cancer Society grant to study moderate exercise as a way to make radiation treatments more effective, especially for difficult-to-treat tumors.
"If we can increase the efficacy of radiation treatment, then the patient's prognosis is enhanced," Behnke said. "An intervention like exercise has almost universally positive side effects versus other treatments that can have deleterious side effects. Exercise is a type of therapy that benefits multiple systems in the body, and may permanently alter the environment within the tumor."
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health recommends exercise for cancer patients and cancer survivors, but little research shows what happens within the tumors during such exercise. That prompted Behnke to combine his expertise in integrative physiology with cancer research. He also has received support from the university's Johnson Cancer Research Center.
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Help Purchase Quadriciser Through GoFundMe.com for Individuals
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After using it Ryan's arms and legs are noticeably more relaxed and daily use of it has allowed him not to be in a constant state of excessive tone.
A Message from Lindy at Ryan's Reach
I've talked about the Quadriciser on some of the updates I've written on this website but it dawned on me that I've never included a picture of it or a link to it's website. So here is a picture of Ryan in the Quadriciser in a lowered position which allows us to move Ryan's body in a straighter line than sitting up which may feel more like walking than riding a bike. The man with us is Larry Bohannan, the designer of the Quadriciser.
I believe that the fact that Ryan has been able to use a Quadriciser almost everyday for the last few years has contributed to his circulation and relaxation of his spasticity. I wonder if we would have been able to wean Ryan off of his baclofen medication without the movement made possible by this machine. After using it Ryan?s arms and legs are noticeably more relaxed and daily use of it has allowed him not to be in a constant state of excessive tone.
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