Ep 092 -- FES for Stroke Survivors

Olivia and Emilee were my two, awesome inpatient OTs a couple years ago, and we stayed in touch after I left the hospital.

One day, Olivia told me about the amazing new $40K rehab bike they just got. They were getting great results with patients. It’s too bad my stroke didn’t happen a year later.

The new device was the RT300. It combines therapy, eStim, and data with exercise to help patients improve their core, their leg use, their arm use, or all three at once.

So Olivia put me in touch with Restorative therapies.


The brain controls the muscles and makes us move by sending electrical signals through our nerves with various chemical processes. After stroke the brain may no longer be able to do that to certain muscles. That’s how we get paralysis, hemiparesis, and all sorts of similar issues.

That also means that we can bypass the brain and move those muscles by sending an electrical signal directly to the nerves at the muscle to stimulate them to make them move. This is great because movement is important to both health and recovery.

And that’s what eStim does.

The most popular eStim for Stroke survivors is TENS. This is the type I used in the hospital and later at home. I attach a couple electrodes to my affected arm, and for 30 minutes, my hand will open and close. Or my wrist will go up and down. Or I’ll do something with my shoulder.

Combining eStim with exercise is great therapy and promotes recovery.

And the units cost about $40 on Amazon.

FES is the type of eStim you’ll find in the Bioness products and the WalkAide. These devices use eStim to prevent foot drop and replace an AFO. The user wears it strapped below the knee as they walk, and it stimulates the muscle that lifts your foot as you walk.

I tried them both and had some good results with the WalkAide. At $5,000, though, it didn’t make enough of a change in my life to justify buying it.

IFES is the technology Restorative Therapies uses in their RT300 bike and Xcite treatment device. The use eStim on up to 12 muscles at once in a specific, timed pattern to accomplish a task. It’s complex, but it can help the brain relearn to do these things in the future.

Restorative Therapies Team

Jim Janicki Headshot

Jim Janicki is the President and CEO of Restorative Therapies. Jim has an extensive management background in sales, R&D,  and operations in the chemical, medical, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. He joined Restorative Therapies in 2018.

Wendy Warfield headshot

Wendy Warfield is the Clinical Education Manager. She makes sure that patients, therapists, physicians, and researchers understand how to most effectively use the Restorative Therapies devices. Wendy is well-suited for this role . She began working at an Occupational Therapist in 2003, and bring that survivor focused perspective to the work that she does.

Me and the xCite

Some weeks back, I got to try the xCite. I got to work with the reps Stephanie and Michael when they visited the Seattle areas.

Unlike the bike, the Xcite is only for clinical use. It features a series of preprogrammed activities like reaching for a water bottle or brushing your hair. It fires the nerves in sequence so the muscles do what they need to do for me to complete the act.

Here are some pictures and a video from my experience.

Stroke Stories

On another note, Stroke Stories, a UK podcast focused on, well, stroke survivor stories, featured my story on episode 50. You can listen to it here:

The show mostly features UK survivors, but more recently has been including folks from other parts of the worlds. I enjoy listening for the wide range of folks the bring on the show.

It’s also different from other podcasts in that it features a narrator rather than a host and a guest. Basically, the person who interviewed me does not appear in the show. His job was to help me tell my story and get out of the way. In that respect, it’s more like a radio show.

Definitely check it out and add it to the list of podcasts you regularly listen to.

Hack of the Week

Wendy’s hack for us is to keep moving. Movement is important to recovery. It keeps the muscles and tendons healthy and flexible. It’s important for cardio vascular exercise.

Getting the appropriate exercise helps with heart health, blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of another stroke.

Even if we have physical limitations today, moving as much as possible makes future recovery more realistic.

While some exercises may be better than others, you don’t have to get caught up in details. The important thing is to just keep moving.


Restorative Therapies on the web


Restorative Therapies on Twitter


Restorative Therapies on Instagram


Restorative Therapies on YouTube


Restorative Therapies on LinkedIn


Restorative Therapies on Facebook


Kennedy Krieger Institute






TENS on Amazon


Emilee on Strokecast


Lana Malovana on Strokecast


Dr. Shah and Sentinel Healthcare


Lauren Sheehan on Strokecast






Jim janicki on LinkedIn


Stroke Stories Podcast


Bill on Stroke Stories


Where do we go from here?

  • To learn more about the RT300 bike, the Xcite device, or Restorative Therapies, check out their website at  https://restorative-therapies.com/.
  • Ask your PT or OT about their thoughts on IFES.
  • Share this episode with someone in your life by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/RSI
  • Subscribe to Strokecast and Stroke Stories in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode
  • Don’t get best…get better.

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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