How this study began
Ron Harwin has been fascinated by the human body since he was six years old and discovered the skeleton that his father, Ralph H. Harwin DPM, had used in podiatry school. This early interest blossomed into a career that has spanned more than 4 decades of patient care and a lifetime of studying of the intelligence of how we move, and the biomechanics of the human body.
Fourteen years ago I witnessed an elderly man fall and pulled over to see if he was all right. Three days after this conversation I realized how easy it would have been to solve this mans fall problem. He had basically lost the natural push off in his walk because of the atrophy of his Gastrocnemius Muscles and normal ankle-foot push off when walking ……. because of a lifetime of sedentary living.
For me this was the beginning of 6 years of R & D, and 6 progressive prototypes that has resulted in the Harwin Balancer as we see it today. I discovered that by building a standing platform that challenged the patients balance on a “micro level”, the patient’s neurological and muscular organization, throughout the Central Nervous System, would make micro-adjustments in order to remain “balanced”, taping into a new level of recalibration of our entire movement-coordination system that I previously had not known existed.
I discovered this with my 5th prototype, in the fourth year of development, when I began to see results at a level I had never encountered in my decades of patient care, working in patient rehabilitation. I am confident that I could not have built The Harwin Balancer by design, but once discovering this principle, I found I had a natural ability to refine, and develop its profound level of effectiveness.
After years of witnessesing The Harwin Balancer accomplish balance improvement and pain reduction with so many different kinds of diagnosed conditions, I realized that to do this, The Harwin Balancer must be broadening, and deepening the proprioceptive communication throughout the body. This opinion has also been confirmed at UCSF.
Before the discovery of The Harwin Balancer, all of the therapy & training equipment I know of would challenge the patient with very fast and strong movements. (ie the Bosu Ball and the Balance Board). This is excellent training for a healthy system, but once you have any level of neurological impairment in the body’s balance-coordination, this fast, strong movement is perceived as a threat, overwhelming an already weakened nervous system, and causing it to shut down, reverting to its old adaptive patterns, rather the allowing the level of new-learning that we are working to achieve.
Using very subtle movement that is a responsive to the individuals’ inherent imbalances has been shown to allow the patient’s movement-coordination to self-correct and recalibrate at a level that to my knowledge has never been demonstrated before.
Based on our early research, it is reasonable to assume that this improved coordination and increased movement stability reduces the daily wear and tear to our spinal discs, joints and ligaments, from a lifetime of wear and tear to our bodies as well as our old injuries - softening the degenerative changes of aging, allowing us to gracefully live a more functional and healthy life.