It started out as a way to help astronauts exercise at the Space Station. Now this NASA-inspired technology is giving some patients back their legs and their lives.


A NASA-engineered piece of equipment is giving some patients their legs, and their lives, back.

The Alter G is not your typical treadmill.

"Oh, it's wonderful because I know I can't fall. I'm supported everywhere," said Nancy Markey.

Nancy Markey, who is 74, has had several bad falls, so she was afraid to walk on her own.

"I was in really bad shape."

After her third time on the anti-gravity treadmill, she felt an improvement.

"In just three tries, yes. I can tell a difference."

NASA engineers designed the piece of equipment so astronauts could re-introduce themselves to gravity after being in outer space.

"I love it. My knees don't hurt," Markey said.

The treadmill uses differential air pressure to help hold the body up, and reduce the impact on the lower body.

"It feels like I'm young, like I could walk when I was young," Markey said.

Three cameras are placed strategically around the treadmill. Therapists can watch the patient's feet on the screen and make corrections in real time.

"It really helps me concentrate on heel first heel first," said Markey.

"It allows us to start the rehabilitation process earlier and hopefully speed it up," said therapist Tad Cranfield.

Markey said she's feeling better head to toe.

"I didn't realize how anxious I was to take a step until we came here and started working," she said.

In addition to physical therapy, the treadmill is also used to improve athletic performance.

But don't plan on buying one for home use. They cost $47,000.

For more information on locating a rehabilitation facility that offers the Alter-G, click here.

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