What is a Blaze Pod?

One of our favorite tools we like to use at Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy Grandville is a product called BlazePods. Blaze Pods are electronic discs that light up in random sequences, that respond to touch. Once a BlazePod lights up and is touched, that light will go off and another BlazePod will light up in its place. BlazePods have many uses in our clinic but we mostly use them to uptrain agility and balance.

To train balance, we usually will have a patient stand on one foot, on a piece of foam, surrounded by 4 BlazePods. They then have 30 seconds to tap as many BlazePods as they can with their foot, as they light up. The BlazePods, foam, and single limb stance allow us to train all three balance systems while focusing mainly on the proprioceptive balance system. Proprioception is how our body determines where it is in space and how it is moving. Usually, when a patient has an injury or surgery and has stopped moving for a while, proprioceptive ability starts to decline with the disuse. Using BlazePods in this fashion allows us to kickstart training proprioceptive balance, and leads to better maneuverability and walking ability.

To train agility, we spread the BlazePods out, giving patients a greater distance to cover. We typically use between 4-6 BlazePods and can either line them up or put them in random locations forcing patients to avoid obstacles and move diagonally. The goal is the same as for balance, tap as many Blazes Pods as possible in a given amount of time. This allows for quick cuts and more movement front to back, and side to side. Patients can plant on one leg while trying to change directions working on stability of the hip, knee, and ankle. This use of BlazePods is typical when a patient wants to get back to playing a sport following an injury. The quick changing lights and random BlazePod selection mimic game-time decisions with a focus on moving without thinking and improving reaction time.

The versatility of BlazePods lets us use them for most patients regardless of age or ailment. We have used them for high-level athletes as they work to return to sport and patients with more significant impairments who need to work on balance and single limb stance so they can better walk short distances. We are also able to use them to treat both arms and legs. We can stick them up on walls to work on shoulder range of motion and reaching tasks, or on the floor to help with shoulder stability while in plank position, or leg strength and endurance while in an upright position.

BlazePod Demo

If you have an injury or potentially need physical rehabilitation, and BlazePods sound interesting to you, call your neighborhood Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy to see how they could be added to your treatment plan. We are conveniently located at 22 locations across West Michigan. Call 616-256-8679 to schedule an appointment or free consultation today!

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AJ Thomson, DPT