Kathy Tooman & Jozie Weiler are licensed physical therapists at West Michigan Physical Therapy. Together they have more than 40 years of experience with diverse backgrounds and specializations, along with great energy and passion. Listen to their "Miraculous" experiences with the NewGait.
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KATHY: I'm Kathy Tooman. I'm a graduate of the University of Michigan, and we both work in an outpatient private practice clinic in Ludington, Michigan. I've been working for over 30 years. And my specialization, is probably manual therapy and analysis emotion. I also work at the local gymnastic center. So that's a real prime interest of mine.
JOZIE: I'm Jozie Weiler. I graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Washington State. I've been practicing with Kathy at this clinic for a year now in August. I'm a new graduate, so I guess I'm specialized in generalization. But I really enjoy working with athletes. I have a passion for oncology, so I want to play with that in the future too.
JOZIE: At first I was like, “Oh, I don't know what this is, but, yeah we'll try it. Why not, you know?" So they strapped me in and then I walked and Kathy was like, “Whoa, she's walking way better!” I didn't know I was walking wrong in the first place, but I actually felt like I had more rotation, more movement, and it felt easier and more free. I took it off and it kind of stayed with me for a little while and then eventually wore off. We played with it in the clinic too, demonstrating for our colleagues here about how to strap it in and all that stuff. I did a single leg lateral step down, and I've had knee pain for a long time now, and I actually could do that without pain. That was even more intriguing. This actually does something, I don't know what yet, but we played with it and firsthand I experienced how it can help movement.
KATHY: I've had a chronic recurring hip pain since I was 29. I actually have instability in the left hip. No matter what I do, I cannot get it stronger, I cannot be pain free. We put the NewGait on me, and much to my surprise, I felt like I was loading in my left leg. I hadn't been aware that I don't walk with my left leg and it wasn't connected. I had a sense of “whoa, I have two legs here.” The chronic pain that I had in my hip and SI joint went away after that little trial and it lasted for 10 days! We brought it home and had so much fun with it. We're kind of thrilled that there's not a lot of research. We're kind of glad that we are the people helping to provide the data and coming up with the protocols. So we're glad to be part of this. We first did the trial offer, I actually called a lot of patients that I thought it might help. And I just said, “We've got this new toy I want you to try.” Every single one of them, every single one of them, when I put it on them, felt dramatic change. One person I did videos before and after, and then they came back the next time, their gait pattern had changed 360. That was cool. And then one person I know is totally unstable. I don't think she has any proprioception in any of her joints. She put it on and she literally started to cry. Because she said, “Now I feel my body,” and she didn't want to take it off. And I think down the road, we'll just order her one for home. She feels absolutely high in it. But the real best one, I've got two case studies on these two clients. Both of them I've known since they were in early elementary school, and now they are seniors in high school. Both of them had no functional neurological ability to push off their feet. One was a gymnast, so through the years, we've been able to retrain her to use her body but she can't move her ankles. She had faulty range of motion and no ability to jump even when she was 10. The other gal was a runner, who I've also seen off and on since she was a young girl. And this kid had the most horrible posture. Her head was forward, back is rounded like this, no matter what we did we could not change it. Both of those girls, six months later now, are jumping as high as they've ever jumped in their life. They've had to retrain their whole loading and running techniques because they are so fast and they're pushing off so high. Miraculous! For 30 days we tried all these people and had positive results on everybody. So we bought the NewGait and now we use it clinically.
KATHY: We are trying to work on a theory for that. But all of us know that it is adding more proprioception and compression through the joints. Muscles move in functional patterns, they don't move alone. We know that from earliest development, we have to have a core established before we can use our extremities. We also know if one part of the body is injured, the whole body gets screwed up. And the other thing we know, and have fought with as physical therapists, is that movement is not cognitive. You cannot think yourself to move. And although we're all incredibly good therapists, find ourselves saying, “Shift your weight like this, do it like this.” And these intelligent athletes try to do it, they try to think how to change their running. As soon as they go out into their sports, they can't do it. Now when you're getting all of this compression, all this proprioceptive feedback into your joints, something else is happening too. I think maybe what's happening is that we are giving an environment for the neuromuscular system to reboot itself internally. And we're ending all that external cortical confusion. So the body has a chance to go, “Oh, yeah, I get this.” I think that might be what we see. It's like the antidote for movement gone astray.
JOZIE: I thought about having a shoulder pain patient try it, and just see what happens. It's not necessarily for shoulders, it's more for lower extremity and posture. But you know what the heck, why not? So we tried it and this lady loved it, she's like, “I feel taller. I don't feel so warped.” She's really enjoyed it she wants to keep using it and coming back.
KATHY: I have a friend who is six-foot-eight and he actually had what I thought was stroke like symptoms. He couldn't get in to see a doctor so I virtually appointed him. I said, you know, there's this thing called NewGait that we work with. Then he ordered the NewGait just for the leg that was weak, he retrained himself to walk just through me virtually seeing him in a matter of three weeks. And speaking again about athletes and their techniques, it's mind blowing. Because once they've been hardwired into a certain technique, it's hard to break through. But the NewGait does! Kind of like I said, “It reboots them and they can learn. They can learn whole new techniques.”
JOZIE: Our colleague had a young kid, he was like 15, and he had several knee dislocations. He ended up having a revision surgery to his entire system, and he was so afraid to walk. Stiff-legged, limping, he was terrified. Which, he should be, this was the third time he had dislocated his knee, and he finally got this massive surgery. The NewGait helped him not be fearful of movement. He's still using it, and now he's walking so much better. And we've also used it on a chronic stroke patient too. We see him walking around all the time, and it's crazy.
KATHY: I really want to use it on gymnasts. That group as a population usually have no sense of where their joints are in space. You can spend hour after hour after hour trying to place your hands on them to show them how to feel it, but they don't know what you mean. You have to keep doing it. And then you have to keep spotting. So it's labor intensive and frustrating for the gymnast and the coaches and the parents. I was thinking we could set up NewGait on them so that we can get the flexed knees so they don't hyperextend them and keep the thoracic spines back and their core in. So I'm very excited to try it. I think it's a huge population to make a big difference.
KATHY & JOZIE: Thank you guys for developing it. It's been really fun and we found a lot of usefulness out of it and our patients really do enjoy it.
"The chronic pain that I had in my hip and SI joint went away after that little trial and it lasted for 10 days!"
"Miraculous! For 30 days we tried all these people and had positive results on everybody. So we bought the NewGait and now we use it clinically."
"I think maybe what's happening is that we are giving an environment for the neuromuscular system to reboot itself internally. And we're ending all that external cortical confusion. So the body has a chance to go, 'Oh, yeah, I get this.' I think that might be what we see. It's like the antidote for movement gone astray."
San Diego, CA