New Balance Option for People with Parkinson's Disease
By Pamela Hernandez
"Before the BalanceWear vest, I felt wobbly with my balance and the BalanceWear vest seems to stabilize that. I noticed a difference the first time I put it on. It makes me forget I have Parkinson’s disease."
That is what Elizabeth Ferguson told me when I asked her to share her experience after getting her custom-fitted BalanceWear vest. Elizabeth is one of many people I have assessed and fitted for a BalanceWear vest.
If you are not familiar with the BalanceWear vest, it was invented by physical therapist Cynthia Gibson-Horn after years of working with and observing patients with balance problems and postural instability. She developed the patented balance assessment technology protocol known as Balance-Based Torso-Weighting® (BBTW®) and the patented product known as BalanceWear. The system enables "counter-balancing" of the body to assist in improving alignment and balance. It provides important information to your sensory system and takes advantage of neuroplasticity to train your brain to balance your body better.
This is a customized process and every BalanceWear vest fitting starts with a Balanced-Based Torso Weighting assessment. As a BalanceWear trained clinician, in this assessment I will test you for three-dimensional directional instability. If postural instability is present, I will identify your personal instabilities. Then by placing very small weights strategically at one or more locations on your trunk, I will adjust the vest to enhance the stability of your trunk. With better control of the trunk, you'll achieve more stability. While it can take time, you should notice some immediate improvements in walking and balance.
After your assessment and choosing your vest style, I submit the information to Cynthia's team at Motion Therapeutics. They custom make your vest, a process that takes 3-4 weeks, and ship it directly to your home. When it arrives, you contact me to arrange for a second appointment to fit the vest and make sure that all the weights are placed appropriately.
Elizabeth is one of those patients who saw immediate improvement. As she wore her vest more and more each day (I recommend patients start slowly with about 60 minutes a day), she continued to see her balance and confidence improve.
"I am glad that I got the vest. Not only does it help me in my daily physical life, but it also helps me emotionally because I feel more normal in what I can do. I even attempted running a little (more like a trot), but I would not have even tried before."
If you're interested in finding out more about the BalanceWear vest, I encourage you to contact Sharlin Health Neuro Fitness to learn more and schedule an assessment. I am currently the only BalanceWear trained clinician in Missouri. And not only will I perform a Balance-Based Torso Weighting assessment, but I will also perform our signature Neuro Fitness assessment. The Neuro Fitness assessment looks at functional movement ability as well as neuro-specific measures like coordination, cognition, and motor control.
You can contact me, Pamela Hernandez Medical Fitness Director for Sharlin Health and Neurology, for more information and to schedule your assessment at 417-413-4540 or by email at email@example.com. I look forward to helping you balance better and move through the world with more ease.