Journey Forward is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of those with spinal cord injuries or disability. We provide an intense, exercise based program working to achieve some of the most basic lifelong functions and benefits for our clients. Exercise is important to everyone and even more so for those living with paralysis.
We work with paralyzed clients of all levels and abilities providing a very active and full body approach to recovery. This is what separates Journey Forward from many other adaptive gyms. Most other facilities, centered on working with individuals with disabilities, tend to focus only on the clients’ current abilities and don’t work with the affected areas to improve motor function overall.
At Journey Forward we focus on the clients’ weaknesses and work on coordinating the entire body in a very functional and complete style. Our clients will work on many different activities including gait training, load bearing, and full body neural stimulation. Working with individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries in this aggressive and functional manner has shown many benefits. We’re able to focus on client goals that can range from regaining lost function to simply receiving the normal benefits of exercise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spinal Cord Injuries and Disabilities:
A spinal cord injury, or disability which causes paralysis, is one of the most devastating events that can happen to a person; taking not only their ability to walk, but also their independence and ability to accomplish some of life’s most fundamental tasks.
Imagine losing the ability to feed yourself, not being able to get dressed on your own, or even simply not being able to itch your nose. The effects of paralysis are indeed catastrophic, not only to the person affected but to their families and loved ones as well. In an instance lives and future plans are thrown upside down or shattered completely and once the initial shock wears off, the reality begins to set in. The lifetime cost of this injury easily reaches millions of dollars and additionally predisposes one too many other problems and illness.
Traditionally, after the first 6 months of a spinal cord injury people are given little to no hope of increasing their independence. However, we believe that given the correct stimulus, some people with paralysis can improve and continue to get better. We offer an aggressive and effective exercise based program which stimulates muscles to improve motor function.
We combine neural stimulation, load bearing and gait training techniques to help rehab the body, building bone density and increasing nervous system adaptations. These techniques are performed under guidance of our trained professionals, all of whom possess, at least, a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science or Kinesiology. Our staff is also trained specifically to understand our techniques and equipment so they can provide the safest care during exercise. We work with our clients, focusing on their current abilities, to avoid injury and slowly build on their progress as they continue their rehabilitation. Because paralysis forces most to be in a chair for most of the day; we want to get them out of their chairs and focus on functional exercises and activities.
Success can be defined many ways for a paralyzed individual. Losing motor functions means having to relearn basic life skills in order to maintain independence. To that degree, some people define major success by being able to brush their teeth, feed themselves, tie their shoes or push a wheelchair. For others, and the loftier goal is to be able to walk again. Our founder, Dan Cummings, was able to push himself through intense training with the goal of being able to walk again. Although we want all of our clients to walk again, we set short term goals that will ensure they have a more independent life moving forward.
What is your program?
We are an intense exercise based recovery program that works with SCI to regain strength and function below their level of injury. This includes working with clients out of their chairs on functional and dynamic movements based on our techniques and our client’s goals. We work to improve independence and quality of life.
How is your program different from Physical Therapy (PT)?
Most Physical Therapy is a short term doctor prescribed rehabilitation; whereas, most SCI’s take much longer to recover. Our program is focused on lifelong recovery process. In addition most PT focus is on your strengths, while we focus on a full body recovery and thus targeting your weaknesses.
How much does the program cost?
The cost of our program is $100/hr. This includes one on one training, as well as additional staff when needed to perform more difficult activities.
How many hours a day and how many days a week would I be working out?
Typically our T level clients are 2 or 3 days a week for 2 hours and our C Level clients are 3 days a week at 2 to 3 hours. We will work with you to put together the best schedule that fits your needs.
What are the qualifications of the staff?
All of our staff carry a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science/Kinesiology. Our staff is also trained in our techniques and methods and go through our intense training program.
How long is your program?
Our program has no set time line; it is different for everyone. Some clients are only in our program for a few months to a year, while others have spent many years actively participating in our program. It is important to understand that recovery is a lifelong process.
What kind of results have you seen with my level of injury?
We have seen positive results at all levels of injury. However, each injury is so different it is difficult to predict what kind of results you will see until we have had some time to evaluate you.
Why do insurance companies decline to cover your services?
First, medical insurance only covers very specific types of rehabilitation. Since we are not a medical facility they most likely will not cover our program. Secondly, most insurance has to put a time line on recovery and how long they will pay out. It is difficult for us to put a timeline on an individual’s recovery, since it can take months or years depending on that individual’s goals. However, our long term goals are to bridge the gap between our program and insurance coverage.