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VIM Healthcare Spotlight On: REX Exoskeleton From REX Bionics

REX exoskeleton

Launched by REX Bionics, REX is a hands-free robotic device designed for the rehabilitation of people with mobility impairments, more specifically, those that are unable to stand or walk unaided.

Since our opening, we have been using this clever piece of technology at the VIM clinic with some brilliant results and are pleased to say, it’s an impressive bit of kit!

From Cinema Screens To Therapy Clinics

The story behind REX is quite an interesting one, in addition to being clinically trialled, REX Bionics created their robotic assisted therapy ‘walking suit’ with their own experience of Multiple Sclerosis. Company founders, Richard Little and Robert Irving came up with the idea of a device to help people to walk freely as both their Mums use wheelchairs, one due to MS and one, after suffering a stroke.

When Robert was himself diagnosed with MS, knowing he would eventually have to use a wheelchair, the pair set out to create their first walking suit, believe it or not, based on Sigourney Weaver’s ‘Power Loader’ exoskeleton in the movie Aliens! REX is quite literally, a sci-fi fantasy that came to life to help people with neurological injuries or conditions.  

15 years from the concept to where they are now, REX is recognised by numerous clinical trials, to be beneficial to people that have had strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and those that are living with MS.

Handsfree Therapy

It’s well established that people that use wheelchairs continually, or for long periods may start to experience secondary conditions due to the body being in a sedentary seated position, either all the time or for long periods. This includes issues with the digestive and urinary systems, loss of bone density and circulation problems.

Sophie Morgan stands supported in the Rex exoskeleton whilst using the pulley weights. Physio Tom is Stood behind her.

REX was created to enable people to leave their wheelchairs behind for therapy sessions and can stand, walk, and have complete hands-free freedom to work on their physical fitness and overall health. The mental health benefits of being able to be upright and walking can’t be excluded either.

Whilst wearing REX, users can walk forward, and backwards, traverse slopes and even climb stairs. People usually use REX during prescribed therapy sessions, working towards set health objectives although REX can be used at home, the cost of robotic assisted therapies for personal use is cost prohibitive to most people with disabilities.  

REX At VIM Healthcare

From the beginning of VIM Healthcare, our founders knew our neurological rehabilitation clinic would have a strong focus on robotic assisted therapies. Access to this type of equipment can be quite limited and we wanted to ensure that our patients had access to the very best robotics available in the UK.

We knew REX would be a key part of our equipment lineup and have been using the exoskeleton with our clients from day one.

Working with people that have spinal cord injuries and adhering to SCIRE guidelines for physical activity after injury we build up personalised therapy sessions that include the use of REX.

In the same way that physical exercise is good for the able-bodied, cardio and resistance training is also necessary for people that use wheelchairs, historically, the problem has been how do you incorporate exercise routines for people that are unable to weight bare or walk. Options were limited but by using REX, people have immediate access to a much wider range of activities.

At VIM, REX has proved to be quite popular for our personal training sessions as it enables users to be weight bearing whilst working out, this improves circulation and bone density, whilst reducing the risk of secondary complications such as pressure sores.

These sessions also reduce the risk of diseases that anybody who is sedentary for long periods is at risk of, such as diabetes and heart disease.

When in the REX users can use the battle ropes, ski-Erg, pully systems boxing and kettlebells, working on both cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. In addition, there are the mental health and wellness benefits that come with being able to exercise and spend time out of a wheelchair.

You can see some of the exercises our clients have been doing in the short demonstration video below.

VIM Healthcare

If you have had a spinal cord injury, stroke, or have MS, our neurological and musculoskeletal healthcare services could help you gain more independence, increase recovery potential, or help reduce further complications when living with a condition such as MS.

Please get in touch for further information or to book your first appointment.

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