Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a rehabilitation technique where stimulation (in the form of an electrical current) is applied to an individual for the purpose of enhancing his/her ability to perform functions and live independently.
The FES Bike from Restorative Therapies utilizes FES in the form of bicycle training. Hydrogel electrodes are strategically placed over affected muscle groups so that during bicycle training, these muscles are stimulated to contract and assist with leg movement.
An FES bike allows the user to tolerate cardiovascular exercise by maximizing muscle contraction and sustaining energy output over an extended period of time. Regular exercise is associated with improved fitness and function, reduced illness and complications of immobility, and overall improved health.
More specifically, FES cycling can prevent bone density loss and joint contractures, reduce the likelihood of pressure sores, improve circulation and increase muscle bulk.
FES bike training is an integral part of the Aim2Walk protocol. Regular use of the bike is able to address many physical issues that Aim2Walk clients present with. The FES bike utilized at Aim2Walk, the RTI300, has a unique option of stimulating the muscles in a “Gait Sequence”. This allows the FES cycling session to improve walking in those users who are ambulatory, and works well as an adjunct to Lokomat therapy for those who are not independently walking.
Electrical current is applied to an individual with a disability to enhance that person’s ability to function and live independently. Stimulating these nerves evokes patterned movement of the legs or the arms. This is how FES enables your muscles to perform work even though you may have has lost all or some voluntary control of the muscles.