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  • Physical Therapy Gets Low (Tech)

    There's a place for virtual reality treadmills, robotic exoskeletons, and motion-capture sensors—just not in Eva Norman's car trunk.

    Eva Norman, PT, DPT, president of a mobile wellness practice in Minnesota, is one of the physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapy device industry professionals who share their thoughts on "unplugged" equipment for "In Praise of Low-Tech Tools," an article in the August edition of PT in Motion magazine.

    Norman's business model, which brings providers including PTs to patients and clients, includes the use of what she calls a provider "toolbox," aka a car trunk. That toolbox contains items such as ankle weights, foam pads, resistance bands, and foam rollers—the "evergreen" tools of the rehab trade, according to Norman. She emphasizes that "all of the tools we use must be practical for our purposes—portable, easy to use, durable, and low-cost for people to purchase for themselves."

    Author and PT in Motion Associate Editor Eric Ries explores how PTs are using low-tech tools, and conveys manufacturers' views on the staying power of stability balls, hand exercisers, yoga mats, and the like. Bottom line: They aren’t going away anytime soon.

    A big reason for the enduring popularity of low-tech tools is that they work, of course. But Ryan Bussman, marketing director of Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products, tells PT in Motion that there's another reason: They allow PTs to do what they truly love.

    "Physical therapists always will prioritize putting their hands on patients, and the sorts of tactile tools that go along with that," Bussman says in the article. "Will they still have uses for the 'sexy' stuff? Absolutely. Those things have their time and place. But the simple stuff will always be around."

    "In Praise of Low-Tech Tools," featured in the August issue of PT in Motion magazine, is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Also open to all: "Greetings From PTs and PTAs Who Travel," an article on the life of the travel PT and PTA, and "Recruiting Tomorrow's PTs and PTAs," a look at the ways PTs, PTAs, students, and educators work to bring newcomers into the profession.

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