Cycling Therapy for Strokes
and the Pedal Wheelchair
The Pedal Wheelchair (PWC) is a unique new product that creates a new dimension in ambulation, therapy, and exercise. It redefines mobility for the many patients that use power mobility devices, manual wheelchairs, and those that have limited mobility or are very unstable using a walker. Using the PWC helps to maintain fitness levels for these groups that otherwise get little exercise in their daily routine and can provide therapy during therapy sessions and throughout the day.
This discussion is focused on stroke rehabilitation which was the original objective for creating the Pedal Wheelchair. Dr. Yasunobu Handa, the inventor of the chair was involved in research for stroke rehabilitation at the Tohoku University in Japan. He as well as many others have shown the benefits of cycling therapy in stroke patients and cycling therapy has been a key rehabilitation activity for nearly all stroke victims. You can view Dr. Handa’s story on the YouTube video on our website at www.pedalwheelchair.com. Cycling therapy has been regularly used for stroke rehabilitation to stimulate neuro pathways in the affected limb as well as increasing leg strength and blood circulation to the affected leg.
Restoring the ability to walk is the desired goal after a stroke however a great many patients will not be able to restore their walking ability to a level they can safely ambulate on their own or can ambulate only short distances. These patients are placed in wheelchairs, typically a hemi style (low seat) chair and ambulate using a one arm and one leg action. This process of ambulation is very slow and doesn’t allow many patients the ability to move greater distances to participate in activities within a facility or later in home or community activities. This process also provides no exercise or stimulation of the affected limb which allows the limb weaken and may produce stiffened joints and contractures. The ambulation alternative is power mobility which reduces exercise and will only hasten muscle atrophy in the lower limbs. The lack of exercise will also contribute to weight gain and the progression of other degenerative diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and circulatory diseases.
In addition to the specific cycling therapy benefits the Pedal Wheelchair is much more motivational for patients over stationary equipment. Being able to move throughout a facility, home and outdoors to enjoy fresh air provides greater motivation to exercise.
Therapy sessions are limited to once or twice a day during rehabilitation stays however there may be no therapy when a client leaves the rehabilitation area or when therapy is no longer covered by insurance. The Pedal Wheelchair provides therapy throughout the day during rehabilitation stays and continues once therapy is ended.