Progress with ZeroG at Marquette Neuro Recovery Clinic

Three years ago, Jewel Currie, a Milwaukee Business owner, suffered a broken neck after falling at home.  His doctors told him he would never walk again.

Shortly after his diagnosis as a complete spinal injury, Jewel started to regain some function, and with it, the hope that he may be able to return to some of his favorite activities. This is where his therapy journey began.

Three years after starting continuous Physical and Occupational Therapy, Jewel began to see his progress slow which put his goals seemingly far out of reach. Seeing his progress plateau had a big impact on Jewel’s outlook and overall mental health. “I was getting down and depressed,” Jewel remembers as he thought he had to accept the reality that he would not get back on the golf course.

As luck would have it, a brand-new clinic was opening at Marquette University that would give Jewel one last shot at getting back on the golf course.

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit University located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Marquette’s Physical Therapy Program is ranked thirteenth nationally

The Neuro Recovery Clinic, located on campus, is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and is equipped with state-of-the art technology and experts in Neuro Rehabilitation.

The gym itself is only 1,100 square feet, which is much smaller than what you may expect when you hear of everything they offer. Kim DeChant, PT, DPT, NCS, and Clinical Coordinator of the Clinic describes the space as “small but mighty” and they have the outcomes to prove it.

Jewel enrolled in the intensive therapy program offered at the clinic based on a referral from his doctor and began immediately seeing results.

Melissa Dygulski, PT, DPT, NCS, recalls Jewel’s first evaluation day, “He walked maybe 15-20 feet tops before having to sit down because he felt his legs were going to give out.”  After a few weeks of training in Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System, Jewel was able to walk close to 800 feet total in the session, which is much beyond what he had set as his goal for the day.

Now the golf course is back in sight and Jewel has set a goal for himself that he will be back with his buddies this summer. Although for Jewel, “the score doesn’t make a difference.”  He just wants to play.

When asked to reflect on where he was before he entered Marquette’s Intensive Program and where he is today, the progress he has made, and the relationships he has developed with this therapy team, he put it simply:

“It means the world to me.”

See Jewel in Therapy Using ZeroG

For more information on the Marquette Neuro Recovery Clinic, visit:

ZeroG Helping Patients Back on their Feet Faster

Source: Ivanhoe Broadcast News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Almost 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year. More than 250,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury. Almost as many people will be diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury in 2021. What do all of these people have in common? Most of them will end up in rehab to help get their lives back to normal. Now, a new type of robot is helping people get up on their feet and walking again.

See ZeroG Video at University of Utah Health

Twenty-eight-year-old Joshua Naea was a powerhouse on the dance floor. And he kept dancing until a stroke swept him off his feet.

“My left side pretty much felt like it was sinking into the floor. Then I realized I couldn’t move it at all,” shared Naea.

Fast forward six weeks and Naea is walking! The longest ZeroG Gait and Balance System in the country is what got Naea moving. Therapists use this track to help patients who have suffered everything from spinal cord injuries to bone fractures regain mobility and learn to walk again.

Randy Carson, a physical therapist with University of Utah Health, explained, “It’s a robot that stays above you and then has a tethered line that goes down to a harness.”

Patients can re-learn how to stand, move, walk and climb stairs, all without fear of falling.

“It allows safety really for the therapist and the patient,” continued Carson.

“They put like seven straps on me. I feel pretty safe. And then they got me walking and it was awesome,” smiled Naea.

Therapists believe ZeroG helps people recover faster and gets them home several weeks sooner.

“I’ve been working in physical therapy well over 25 years and it’s the best piece of equipment I’ve ever worked with hands down,” stated Carson.

It also gave Naea the boost of confidence he needed.

“I was like, okay. You know what? I can recover!” said Naea.

And get back out bustin’ some moves.

Rehab is changing. State-of-the-art technologies like this one are incorporating physical therapy into activities such as cooking and playing sports. New research shows by improving rehab techniques, outcomes for spinal cord and head injury patients are improving, allowing many to leave the hospital by walking out the door, not in a wheelchair.

ZeroG Maximizes Patient Outcomes at Tampa General Hospital

Source: Tampa General Hospital 

Imagine you’ve had a stroke or been severely injured from a car accident.

Or you’ve developed a neurological condition that paralyzes your whole body. You can’t walk at all. Your life has suddenly turned upside down.

Paralysis affects hundreds of people in the Tampa Bay area each year; people like Steve Connors. Connors was once a paratrooper with the prestigious 82nd Airborne of the U.S. Army, based at Fort Bragg. Throughout his career, he was a medical transporter, a deputy sheriff, and currently a member of the Lakeland Fire Department. He’s always been active and lived a life of service.

But last December, Steve woke up and had tingling in his hands and feet and knew he had to get to the hospital. Even though he lived a reasonable distance away in Lakeland, he told his wife she had to transport him to Tampa General Hospital and bypass the other hospitals along the way. He knew Tampa General could provide the best care.

The sensation first manifested as an inexplicable weakness and then rapidly evolved into a life-threatening situation, eventually paralyzing his entire body. Steve was in extreme pain, unable to walk, eat, speak, and even breathe for himself.

The doctors diagnosed him with Guillain-Barré  Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks nerves. He spent months in the hospital.

But Connors is a fighter. And no stranger to hard work.  He powered through and progressed from being ventilated in the ICU to enduring daily hours of inpatient physical and occupational therapy.

When Steve came to TGH, he was a healthy, fit 202 pounds, but after months of being bed-bound, he lost his muscle mass, and his weight came down to 157 pounds. Then he entered rehabilitation. “It was painful, but I worked out hard every day,” said Connors. “When I first started in rehab, I couldn’t hold a Coke can; I was so weak.”

Thanks to a generous donation by The Hillsborough County Hospital Authority and the TGH Foundation’s Rehab Equipment and Technology Fund, a new, state of the art technology called the “ZeroG Gait and Balance System” by Aretech helped Steve regain his strength and learn to walk again.

The ZeroG protects patients from falls while providing body-weight support as patients practice walking, balance tasks, learn sit-to-stand maneuvers, and even stairs, alongside their physical therapist. Because the ZeroG harness is mounted to a wall track, the patient and the therapist have the reassurance that the patient is safe and cannot fall and injure themselves.

Manuel Garcia-Gaona, a physical therapist, and the primary TGH trainer of the ZeroG,  says it’s 100-percent secure and can hold patients up to 400 pounds. What used to take up to three physical therapists to assist the patient now only takes one.

“When a patient comes to the TGH Rehab Center, they have lost their independence, and they’re very emotional. They were living their lives but now can’t do anything for themselves,” Garcia-Gaona said. “Our goal is to increase their independence. TGH Rehab enables patients to feel secure and keep them going, not to lose hope and build a sense of safety,” he said. “Therapists like it, too, because there’s less chance of back strain.”

Steve remembers sitting and watching other rehab patients, thinking he could never achieve what they did. But then he thought about it more and decided that there will always be someone “worse than me” and said to himself, “no, I CAN do that!”

The ZeroG helped him have the confidence to push the limits.

Steve is currently in outpatient rehab twice a week at Tampa General Hospital and a big advocate of the ZeroG. Through hard work and extensive physical therapy, he has relearned how to eat and walk and is slowly rebuilding his strength to return to doing what he loves, serving as a Lakeland firefighter.

Steve Connors featured in story with fellow Lakeland firefighters


No More “Fear of Falling” with the ZeroG Gait and Balance System

Source: Spokesman-Review

After a July 23 rollover accident, Cameron Tweedy received a grim outlook on ever walking again. Along with lower body numbness, he had suffered five fractures in his spine and a crushed ankle.

“They told me I had less than 1% chance of minimal function in my legs,” said Tweedy, 21, a Spokane resident. “I had less than 1% chance of twitching my toes, essentially. I didn’t like that.”  He described surgery to repair his spine with pins, rods and a thin metal bar. With therapy, Tweedy now can walk, mostly using crutches. Since early January, he credits a much faster pace to the help of a new device at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

Called the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, the robotic body-weight support equipment helps people learn to walk again without fear of falling. The system simulates a reduced-gravity environment. The ZeroG system is expected to help about 1,000 patients a year who have spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke symptoms, multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Parkinson’s disease and lower extremity amputations, St. Luke’s said in a news release.

The device is attached to a motorized trolley along a U-shaped, ceiling-mounted track in a large therapy room. A rope suspends from the ZeroG that is hooked to a harness worn by the patient. As the ZeroG was installed in late December, Tweedy was transitioning from a walker to crutches and had reached about 400 to 600 steps per session. Within a week or two of using the ZeroG, he said it helped him exceed 1,500 steps in one session.

“It’s really hard to go from not walking, and using a walker where you can put all your weight down, to going to crutches,” he said.  “I struggled more with walking with that fear of falling, especially with not being able to feel all the lower half of my body. It built my confidence back up. When I started using the ZeroG, that’s when my progression started getting better because the fear of falling went away.”

The robotic device has a sensor as it tracks movements from above, and information is linked to a nearby computer. Therapists also can use a smartphone for monitoring, and software collects data that tracks a patient’s progress and a session’s results. Parameters are set so that the device catches a person before they fall but can allow for some range of motion such as climbing steps. As a patient’s therapy progresses, a wider range can be practiced, such as going from standing to a seated position.


Neurophysical therapist Sarah Gross and Jake Allstot, assistant manager of rehabilitation at St. Luke’s, helped Tweedy go through a recent session. Gross said Tweedy uses the ZeroG once a week in addition to swimming for outpatient therapy.

Allstot said the ZeroG is designed to eliminate the fear of falls because it prevents those from happening, but patients can still feel any loss of balance and the body adjustments needed to compensate if they sense a fall.

“Since we started using it in January, we’ve worked with 32 patients and prevented 250 falls,” Allstot said. “It allows freedom of movement, and it does that with safety at the forefront.  “This device allows a patient to really feel his own loss of balance, feel his own weight and do his own performance, but not by compromising safety.”  That takes a caregiver’s focus away from watching for falls and instead on providing better therapy treatments, Allstot said. “You can program a fall distance. You can set perhaps 4 inches of fall, or you can set it to where it’s a velocity where it will detect if a patient drops really fast,” he said. “It will stop and correct that fall.”

In earlier therapy sessions, Tweedy had used another piece of equipment at St. Luke’s, the Lokomat, that’s a robotic exoskeleton treadmill. The Lokomat helped him to walk up to nearly 400 steps per session this past fall.

For the recent session, Allstot put the ZeroG’s body harness on Tweedy. The harness attaches to a bar and a rope hovering above a patient’s shoulders. The harness also is secured around the waist, with straps down the thighs and attached around the leg above the knees. During the recent session, Tweedy practiced walking with the use of both crutches. Later, he practiced going over a step, and then walking with one crutch to prepare for eventual use of a cane.

“The way I have it set now is if he drops at certain speed, as soon as he hits that speed, it will catch him,” Allstot said. “The reason we could go over that step is he didn’t exceed a certain velocity.”  “The sensor detects how much rope is coming out and how fast. He can go all the way to the ground, and the machine will adapt for that need or for him to sit. It also counts total steps. We can change to a small movement, so if you have a small buckle, it will trigger a response to protect the patient.”

Allstot also demonstrated how the device can help patients practice adjusting their weight and balance in response to someone bumping into them. Tweedy had to shift his balance and at one point put a foot out to catch himself.   “You can do a response to simulate a forced pull on him,” Allstot said. “He has to stay balanced. It’s practical if someone in the community bumps into him, and that can happen. He’s practiced for that.”

St. Luke’s also described the ZeroG, which costs $260,000 for equipment and installation, as the only device of its kind in the Inland Northwest. Providence Health Care Foundation provided funds for the system, with major contributors including the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.


Learning to Walk again at Methodist Outpatient Rehab

Source: Meridianstar

Accustomed to running around on the softball field, Northeast Lauderdale alumna Alixus Hearn decided she wasn’t going to be sitting down for the rest of her life.

On Oct. 2, 2017, Hearn was involved in a car wreck that ejected her from her vehicle and left her paralyzed from the waist down due to her fourth and fifth thoracic vertebra being bruised and twisted. Initially, doctors told her she may never walk again, but Hearn opted for a vigorous rehab program at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

“Sitting down for a long period of time, I just wasn’t with that,” Hearn explained. “Having my mom and dad with me, they kept the positive energy around me. I just put everything in and went head first. I wasn’t sitting down until I got better.”

It began with baby steps last November, followed by using a walker to help her. Eventually, she ditched the walker for a cane, which she used from February until May. Now, Hearn no longer uses the cane to walk.

“It feels amazing,” Hearn said. “I can’t really explain it. It’s just been amazing. I don’t have to depend on anything to help me walk.”

Methodist offered Hearn rehab technology like the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, a device connected to an overhead track that harnessed Hearn upright, allowing her to do a wide range of motion activities while preventing her from falling. Originally, she went to therapy three times a week, but now her sessions have been reduced to once a week.

Having access to high-tech rehab equipment made a big difference in Hearn learning to walk again, and she said she’s grateful to live in a time where such technology is at her disposal.

“I don’t think Meridian gets that many spinal injury patients,” Hearn said. “They probably wouldn’t know what to do. I tried every piece of equipment (Methodist) had, and it helped a lot. I’m grateful for that.”

Emotional support proved just as important as physical support, and that began with Hearn’s parents, Allison Hearn and Demitrius Robinson.

“They did every single thing they could to keep me motivated and pumped,” Hearn said. “Both of them were my motivators. They did a good job with keeping my spirits up.”

That emotional support extended to her Lady Trojan teammates, who adopted the slogan “13 strong” in honor of Hearn, who wore No. 13 for Northeast Lauderdale.

“That meant everything to me,” Hearn said. “It showed me how much they cared and loved me.”

Being a softball player also helped in her rehab from a physical standpoint.

“Even my therapist said that since I played sports, I had a lot of muscle, and that was good,” Hearn explained. “In my sessions, there were some spots where I was stronger just because I played softball and had all that extra weight.”

Now a student at Meridian Community College, Hearn plans to transfer to Mississippi State and earn a degree in athletic training. Having grown up playing sports, Hearn said she would love to continue being around athletics as a trainer.

“At first, I just played for fun so I wouldn’t get bored, but as I gradually got into it, I just fell in love with the game even more, being out there and doing what I do best,” Hearn said.


Gaylord Hospital Demonstrates ZeroG

Source:  Gaylord Specialty Healthcare / Gaylord Hospital

Physical Therapists Erica Cadavid, PT, DPT and Kaitlyn Rudolph PT, DPT at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare highlight their ZeroG Gait and Balance System.

View Gaylord Hospital Video of ZeroG

ZeroG creates a safe environment so therapists can perform high level balance training and functional mobility without the risk of their patient falling.  Physical Therapists enjoy using ZeroG for stair navigation and gait training, while Occupational Therapists at Gaylord are using ZeroG for other home management tasks like reaching down to pick up an object and carrying a laundry basket.

ZeroG Gait and Balance System at Gaylord












The therapists at Gaylord have used ZeroG for all types of their patients such as pulmonary, those after a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or spinal cord injury and general medical patients.  ZeroG has helped the therapists at Gaylord by allowing them to get their patients up on their feet a lot quicker and try activities that they may not have tried previously due to safety concerns.

For more information on Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, visit:


Aretech Unveils Ovation. A Rehabilitation Technology for Adults up to 700 lbs

Source:  PRWeb

Aretech announced the release of Ovation at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting (APTA-CSM) in Washington, DC.  Ovation is the first technology in the world to offer dynamic body-weight support and fall protection for patients training on a treadmill who weigh up to 700 pounds.

See Ovation at APTA-CSM

“Ovation builds upon our 11 years of experience with robotic body-weight support systems to create the only treadmill system for gait and other functional activities designed for the widest range of individuals, including bariatric patients.  Over the past few years, therapists have been asking us to create a rehabilitation technology that can also be used by their largest patients, some nearing 700 lbs,” said Dr. Joe Hidler, CEO of Aretech.  “We’re proud to deliver on that. Ovation has the highest dynamic body-weight support capability in the world and can make an individual feel up to 350 pounds lighter. This, we hope, will encourage participation by those who find walking difficult due to weakness, load-induced pain and strain on joints.”  Dr. Hidler highlights some of the other features which are unique to Ovation,  “We’ve created an interactive experience for the patient with an infotainment display with virtual walks, photo galleries and cognitive tasks, while providing constant feedback on the heart rate, calories burned, treadmill speed, and other valuable metrics.”

At APTA-CSM, therapists had the opportunity to experience Ovation. “Therapists learned how broad the applications of Ovation could be for all of their patients.  They were excited at the prospect of using Ovation for their neurological patients for manual assisted treadmill training as well as being able to provide their bariatric patients with the same level of rehabilitative care,” said Don Gronachan, Aretech’s Director of Product Development.

About Ovation   

Ovation uses the same best-in-class robotic body-weight support technology that is used in Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System.  Ovation gives therapists the opportunity to safely treat the widest range of adults from 75 to 700 pounds with dynamic body-weight support and fall protection on a treadmill.  Ovation’s dynamic body-weight support can offload the patient’s weight between 25-350 lbs to assist even the heaviest of patients.  The system also includes Aretech’s proprietary DualArrestTM Fall Protection.  Should the patient start to fall, Ovation will prevent their fall and simultaneously stop the treadmill for ultimate safety.

Ovation was designed to be an interactive experience by encouraging participation using an infotainment display mounted in front of the treadmill.  Patients can watch their training metrics, set goals such as target heart rate or calories, all while exploring the world through virtual walks and landscapes.  A patient resting bench comes standard with Ovation.  The patient can simply sit while still connected to the robotic BWS system above to take a break before resuming their session.  Ovation captures training intervals so therapists can monitor these breaks in comparison to the level of activity.  All session data is saved to a secure database to track progress and outcomes.

“Aretech is proud to continue to advance the field of rehabilitation forward with innovative, first-to-market technologies which has never been seen before,” said Hidler.   “We have created the first technology that gives therapists the opportunity to treat the widest range of patients safely on a treadmill, including their bariatric patients.”

ZeroG Used to Push Boundaries at Special Tree NeuroCare Center

Source: WXYZ Detroit

Cutting-edge new technology making its debut in southeast Michigan could be life-changing for those with brain and spinal cord injuries.

The robotic “ZeroG” is helping patients at Special Tree in Romulus.

Sloan Hogan was driving down the street when a vehicle came out of his driveway right out into the middle of the street, hitting him. He was paralyzed from the armpits all the way to the bottom of his feet.

At Special Tree’s Neuro-rehabilitation center, he’s now doing something he couldn’t do a month ago thanks to ZeroG. He’s walking.

The ZeroG Gait and Balance System by Aretech, is a robotic body-weight support system that enables those recovering from brain injuries to engage in high-intensity rehab much sooner in the recovery process – which studies show lead to much better patient outcomes.

ZeroG gives patients like Hogan the confidence to push his boundaries without fear of falling and a feeling of independence.

Instead of their movement being corrected by a therapist, ZeroG helps patients correct themselves which speeds recovery.

View Video Here

Representative Steve Scalise Relearns to Walk with Help from ZeroG

Source:  CBS News

Months after being ambushed by a gunman, Representative Steve Scalise tells 60 Minutes how close he came to dying – and how a series of “little miracles” saved him.

The Republican lawmakers had been practicing in Virginia for a charity baseball game, when a bullet tore through his hip and across his body.  He nearly died that day and has since fought through serious infections and begun the difficult process of relearning to walk.

Scalise ZeroG Overground

Part of his therapy included using Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC.

Click here to view the 60 Minutes piece

Aretech Unveils New ZeroG Gait and Balance System

Aretech, LLC, an advanced rehabilitation technology leader, announced the release of Version 3 of the ZeroG Gait and Balance System at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting (APTA-CSM) in San Antonio, TX. The new ZeroG is the most sophisticated robotic body-weight support system in the world. The system has been redesigned with more features, more versatility, and even higher performance. With the WaveLink WiFi Guardian, ZeroG becomes the first and only completely wireless system in its class not dependent solely on Wi-Fi connectivity.

“The new ZeroG truly encompasses over a decade of experience working hand in hand with physical therapists around the world to deliver the most advanced rehabilitation technology for treating gait and balance disorders,” said Joe Hidler, CEO of Aretech and inventor of the ZeroG Gait and Balance System. “Our commitment to patient safety is reflected in numerous new safety features, including the WaveLink communication protocol. This provides therapists an alternate method of controlling ZeroG independent of a Wi-Fi signal.” Dr. Hidler also believes the new features of ZeroG will help deliver a premium rehabilitation experience. “One of the new features we are most excited about is the new dynamic fall recovery with ActiveAssist, which intelligently adapts the dynamic body-weight support after a fall to aid those patients who may need assistance regaining control.”

At APTA-CSM, therapists had the opportunity to try the new ZeroG. “Therapists really appreciated our new fall cushioning technology. This softens the impact for the patient when ZeroG catches a fall, making for a much more comfortable experience,” said Don Gronachan, Aretech’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Aretech Social ZeroG Release

ZeroG Version 3 Release at APTA-CSM 2017

The Most Sophisticated ZeroG Ever

Originally launched in 2008, ZeroG gives therapists the opportunity to safely treat a broad range of patient populations with dynamic body-weight support in functional activities such as overground walking, sit-to-stand, getting off the floor and stairs. Building upon innovations pioneered by Aretech, ZeroG Version 3 represents the biggest redesign in years. The system now has the capacity to support up to a 450-pound patient. Because ZeroG may be used to raise a patient to standing, one therapist can train heavy patients without the risk of falling.

The dynamic body-weight support of ZeroG is the fastest and most precise available, accurately tracking vertical movements at over 26 inches per second, which is twice as fast as similar systems on the market. This provides patients a stable environment with constant body-weight support even when getting to standing from a chair or the floor. Using ZeroG Kinetics, therapists can choose from various balance training programs using real-time biofeedback to treat their patients in anticipatory balance activities. And for those who have two ZeroG robotic trolleys on the same track, ZeroG has the new Stealth Detection feature, which acts as invisible bumpers to propel the second robot out of the way when not in use for a truly infinite track.

“Aretech is proud to continue to advance the field of rehabilitation forward with innovative, first-to-market features which have never been seen before,” said Hidler. “We’ve been able to take our experience and create the most sophisticated rehabilitation system on the market that gives therapists and patients the best opportunity to improve outcomes.”

About Aretech
Aretech (, headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, is a world leader in developing advanced rehabilitation technologies for improving function and independence. The company has a strong commitment to quality, innovation, and developing technology based on evidence-based research.