The very nature of a health care professional is already rendered heroic by the community and patients they serve. The San Francisco Business Times wants to make sure “the true heroes in the health care profession” don’t go unnoticed by publishing their annual list of finalists for their Health Care Heroes Awards. This year, physical therapist, Cindy Gibson-Horn, creator of BalanceWear, has been named to the list. Gibson-Horn’s discovery nearly a decade ago of Balance-Based Torso-Weighting (BBTW) led to the creation of BalanceWear, a semi-custom made orthotic that has helped dramatically improve stability in patients with MS, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, TBI, ataxia and other Sensory Based Motor Disorders (SBMD).
“The San Francisco Business Times’ award brings attention to the health care profession and the numerous advances for patients that are suffering with debilitating illnesses”
Steve Cookston, CEO of Motion Therapeutics, the company that manufactures and markets BalanceWear, has worked with Gibson-Horn the past several years to bring the BalanceWear product line to fruition and credits Gibson-Horn’s passion for her patients’ well-being as a major reason for the product’s success.
“Cindy is committed to giving her patients freedom,” says Cookston. “Balance and mobility are keys to independence as well as being vital to rehabilitation. Having worked with many medical devices and products, BalanceWear is the most inspiring, often taking a patient from being dependent on others to complete liberation.”
“If someone had told me they were going all the way to California from the east coast to see if a vest would help with balance, I probably would have told them they were crazy. But I saw and now I believe! BalanceWear has been a miracle for my mother and our family. Even though she will be 79 on June 25, we have our mother back the way she wants to be and the way we want her to be,” said Kevin Eck.
“I have MS and have used the BalanceWear vest for the last four months. It has made a tremendous difference in my life as I can now walk without my cane. I am walking more than I had using my cane and so am increasing strength and decreasing my possibility for Osteoporosis. I am going places I haven’t in a long time and my mood has improved,” said Lisa Cohen.
“I have used BalanceWear on at least ten individuals with ages ranging from 2 years old to 32 years old. I find that there are immediate positive changes in my patient’s ability to improve static and dynamic balance, improve functional mobility, such as walking up and down stairs without holding onto the railing; the ability to take independent steps without use of an assistive device or help; the ability to run in a straight line with reciprocal arm swing; and the ability to go from sit to stand without losing their balance,” said Elaine Westlake, MA, PT.
Physical Therapist, Cynthia Gibson-Horn, discovered that strategically placed small amounts of weight could counter-balance directional losses and dramatically improve stability in patients with MS, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, TBI, ataxia and other Sensory Based Motor Disorders (SBMD) during clinical applications. This discovery led to the development of the patented BBTW method and BalanceWear, which has now helped hundreds of patients.
Recently, a National Institutes of Health Recovery Grant of just under $400,000 was awarded to Samuel Merritt University (SMU) Physical Therapy Professor Dr. Gail Widener, PT, and Dr. Diane Allen at San Francisco State University to continue research into Balance-Based Torso Weighting (BBTW) and its effects on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) mobility challenges. The first phase of the study validates previous research funded by the National MS Society. The research is currently in its second phase and has led to documented evidence of the efficacy of prior clinical observations.
“The San Francisco Business Times award brings attention to the health care profession and the numerous advances for patients that are suffering with debilitating illnesses,” says Gibson-Horn. “I am so honored to be among the finalists, but I see heroes in my patients who wake up every day with balance and walking challenges that I can only witness. Perhaps it sounds cliché, but this honor is shared between me and my patients. We’re in the healing process together.”