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Get patients outdoors again with the Activator Poles

in All Physio Blogs, Clinical Physio
26 Feb 2018  |  0 Comments

Mandy Shintani is considered to be one of the leading experts on the use of Nordic walking for rehabilitation and fitness.  12 year ago, as an OT, she developed the Activator Poles (patent pending) specifically for rehabilitation to improve balance, posture, core strength and normalize gait patterns which are the focus of 8 current studies in Canada and the UK. 

Today, Activator Poles are prescribed extensively by physiotherapists as part of best practices across Canada and are also used as a more effective device compared to other traditional passive devices such as canes and to reduce the use of walker/crutches.  3,500+ therapists and fitness instructors  have completed the courses she developed on the use of walking poles for fitness and rehabilitation. 

She is an international speaker including; 200 years of Parkinson’s Disease Conference in Australia and the National Fall Prevention conference in Canada.  

Mandy was a finalist in the prestigious YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. 


Activator Poles A more natural walking aid… walking poles+

A review by Wendy Walker - reproduced with kind permission

I have trialled Activator walking poles with several patients, and the results are pleasing. They are a logical progression for someone who is ready to reduce weight-bearing on upper limbs (eg. coming from elbow crutches or sticks) yet still needs some support when walking distances.

The most dramatic success was with a mature gentleman with a mild stroke, who had progressed to walking unaided indoors, but still relied on his tripod when walking outdoors as he struggled to maintain balance on uneven ground. Once he tried the Activator poles his gait improved enormously, with a more even stride cadence and length. The result was instant – he marched out of the door to try them out in his garden, and announced that he felt much more confident and better balanced. So we were both happy: he felt he had regained his independence when outside, and I was pleased with the marked improvement in gait.

The way walking poles promote a natural reciprocal gait is useful for many patients, and I can see how they could be of use in patients with Parkinson’s Disease and MS; indeed, there are are several studies on the use of poles in Parkinson’s from Ebersach et al, Reuter et al and van Eijkeren et al.

The Activator poles have a unique hand-grip which enables the user to stabalise their arm through the lateral border of the hand, thus providing a little more stability than standard walking poles as well as promoting a more neutral wrist posture.

In the world of musculo-skeletal physiotherapy, there are many obvious applications for walking poles, and several studies which demonstrate their benefits in conditions such as OA knee and intermittent claudication as well as a Hungarian study showing improvements in balance, functional mobility, muscle strength and aerobic endurance in the elderly.

Follow the link to take a look at the activator poles yourself.

Here is a table detailing the differences between standard Nordic poles and the Activator poles:


Recommended by leading surgeons, physicians and therapists, our ACTIVATOR™ Poles were designed specifically for rehab and long term conditions by an occupational therapist.   This unique patent pending design offers strengthening, stability and off-loading with your safety in mind.

ACTIVATOR™ poles promote active living and over 182 independent studies on PubMed have found walking poles improve strength, balance, posture, walking tolerance & speed and reduce impact off knee joints.


Reproduced with kind permission - see origninal article

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