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Fireside chat with Laura Guse, Physical therapist & Autumn Nugent, ROWHEELS User

Last week we shared videos of user Autumn Nugent and physical therapist Laura Guse talking about their own experiences with ROWHEELS. In this fireside chat, Laura and Autumn talk more about the benefits of ROWHEELS pulling motion and how ROWHEELS’ therapeutic technology has helped Autumn to improve her posture and reduce shoulder and back pain.

Autumn has been using ROWHEELS since the beginning of April, and initially she heard about them from a physical therapist who gave her the opportunity to try out a chair with ROWHEELS wheels in a PT setting. Autumn said that the initial trial didn’t click with her as she was in a different chair that wasn’t her own, but as soon as she had the ROWHEELS wheels on her own chair, they’ve been there ever since.

For Autumn, the hardest learning curve was wheeling straight – Laura explained that in the brain there is a neuroplasticity that means the brain is programmed to push the body forward, so the effort is as much mental as physical to overcome that. Now that Autumn has got the hang of ROWHEELS, she explains that her shoulder pain has decreased and her posture is noticeably better – so much so that other people have noticed.

My posture is better, my shoulders don’t hurt, my back doesn’t hurt. I feel as if I’m reinforcing all of the posture – I feel stronger.

By using the rowing motion, Autumn uses muscle groups making her feel stronger, but she also finds it improves other activities such as simply sitting in a chair that is not her own, for example a friend’s kitchen chair, her back doesn’t hurt as she has strengthened muscles in her back and abs – whereas previously sitting in another chair may have given her some discomfort. Laura explained that this is because the rowing motion utilizes larger muscles in the back which stabilize the scapula and pull the shoulders back. She also highlighted that having a strong core is beneficial.

Autumn’s advice to anyone considering ROWHEELS is to go for it – but try it for more than just an hour with a PT. Taking the time to feel the positive, pain-reducing affects of ROWHEELS’ therapeutic technology far outweighs the initial effort of retraining the brain to pull the wheels instead of pushing.

I have to tell people that while my arms are strong, my shoulders are not hips; my biceps are not quads; my triceps are not hamstrings; my arms are not built to do all the things that legs are built to do. So we put a lot more stress onto our shoulders, and to have something eliminating all of that stress is actually one more frustration that you are removing from your life.”

Laura and Autumn discussed the benefits of using ROWHEELS as a first chair – removing the need to ‘unlearn’ the pushing motion that traditional wheelchairs require. Autumn talked about how children who have their whole lives ahead of them in a chair could grow up with terrible and painful posture from using traditional chairs, whereas using ROWHEELS therapeutic technology would mean avoiding that outcome.

They went on to discuss wheeling uphill, down a ramp, pulling wheelies, and mounting curbs, and Laura clarified with a member of the team that ROWHEELS can be fitted to sports chairs with a higher camber. Autumn explained that she had the ROWHEELS wheelset attached to her own chair, but there are many options including ROWHEELS’ own wheelchair – ROWHEELS Revolution 1.0, and now ROWHEELS has partnered with leading lightweight wheelchair manufacturers KiMobility and Motion Composites to bring a new range of chairs prefitted with any ROWHEELS wheelset.

For more videos, visit our YouTube channel.