NASA rehab technology boosting a Naugatuck woman’s recovery


It was a horrifying end to a summer vacation on Block Island last August.

Yvette Ciarcia was on a moped when she struck a hole and was airbound.           

“I had a head-on collision with another car, ended up in pretty bad shape. Damaging both of my legs pretty extensively and Life Starred over to Rhode Island Hospital,” she says. 

She had a surgery a week for three months — then was transferred to Gaylord Hospital where she got back on her feet again.

Still — not all was well.  

Yvette explained, “Because my feet weren’t operating the way they used to, I was always leaning to one side. I was developing all these problems.” 

Things are now improving after getting on the AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill at Gaylord Physical Therapy Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. 

Philip Silverio said, “It’s the same technology that makes astronauts feel weightless. So, it creates an air pressurized bubble around your lower body. And it helps lift you up.”

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That off weighting, along with live video monitoring and real time assessment, allows Yvette to correct her gait and footing without fear and pain. 

“The AlterG gets us to get them in quickly and allow them to do some walking, whereas they wouldn’t be able to tolerate that walking because of full weight bearing. We can off weight them 50 percent, we can off weight them 80 percent and just get them moving quicker and faster with less pain,” said physical therapist Jennifer Adams.  

“When I couldn’t walk,” explained Yvette, “I had to re-learn how to walk properly without pain, and this is safe and secure. You can feel that because it’s sort of holding you up. My footing is better. It’s stronger. I can see my mistakes and my brain can actually register what’s happening.” 

She added, “We all know things are possible, but we don’t really believe that until it happens.

The anti-gravity treadmill is best for patients who undergo knee, ankle, hip and lumbar spine surgeries. 

Yvette still has to undergo therapy, but she no longer needs to use a cane. 

She is a U nurse and is back at work part time


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