MTB Europe is reporting about a study conducted on paraplegics using an electric muscle stimulating training system from Therapeutic Alliances Inc. out of Fairborn, Ohio, a device called ERGYS2. One of the early adopters of this system was the late Christopher Reeve.
In an exercise study completed last year, patients who were paralysed from the chest or waist down experienced an average increase in their oxygen uptake by 25% and in their heart pumping volume by fully 37% after just eight weeks of training.
Never before has so much improvement or such impressive results been documented in this patient group.
The Ergys 2 is a stationary training bicycle, where the patient’s legs and feet are strapped to a leg holder and pedals. Electrodes are then fastened to the patient’s thigh and seat muscles, and electrical impulses trigger the muscles to contract and relax.
The impulses are computer controlled to guarantee the best possible effect. Even though it may seem like artificial training, it is real enough as it’s the patient’s own muscles that are working. And it is movement that demands energy: the blood flow increases, and the pulse goes up. The exercise has an effect on muscle mass, muscle strength, oxygen uptake and the heart’s pumping volume.