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Universal Exercise Unit

Altru's Universal Exercise Unit (UEU)*, also known as the spider cage, is a suspension system using belts, bungee cords and a pulley system to allow patients with neuromuscular disorders to move more freely.

Patient conditions frequently indicating UEU usage include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Cerebral vascular accidents
  • Hemi-paresis
  • Sensory integration dysfunctions
  • Any neuro-muscular disorder affecting tone and strength

In the UEU, patients wear a belt and harnessing system that allows for the attachment of up to ten bungee cords. The patient is then semi-suspended in the middle of the cage with unique support received through the elastic cords. This cording is extremely dynamic and provides just the right amount of input needed to support the patient, yet allow them to move more freely and independently than with more conventional therapy.

Exercises in UEU aid in the development of functional skills such as:

  • Sitting
  • Crawling
  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Climbing
  • Jumping

Patient Benefits

  • Increased range of motion
  • Isolates desired muscle groups to strengthen them and enable function
  • Eliminates gravitational forces acting on the body
  • Improves balance
  • Improves coordination
  • Promote developmental milestones
  • Facilitate upright position, improving breathe support and decreasing pressure
  • Promotes independence and overall improved physical image

*The purchase of the UEU was partially funded by donors and, as requested by his family, memorial gifts received for Robert M. Jacobson. To learn how you can help fund equipment, programs and services needed by Altru's patients, visit


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