As a Physical Therapist working one-on-one with patients daily to improve their health, I am always looking for new ways to improve the quality of care. Some improvements come by the way of continuing education, some through experience, and others through new equipment such as BlazePod.
At the basic core of rehabilitation, the goal is to restore function and movement to provide an improved quality of life. There are a variety of ways that people need to move to maximize their health and be challenged to avoid complacency.
One such tool is a product that I was asked to review called BlazePod. This is a unique tool designed to challenge even the highest level athletes but can also provide benefits to the everyday person looking to address a variety of concerns.
BlazePod Product Review
Coming in a nondescript mailing box, opening the package was exciting to see what this was all about. The BlazePod packaging for a Standard Kit comes in a box slightly smaller than a shoebox that one can grasp with one hand. The box is matte black with BlazePod embossed on the top in a striking blue that makes it impossible to miss.
Opening the box finds the user looks at a gray and blue carrying case with a black handle and zipper. The name BlazePod once again embossed against the gray fabric outer shell with a firm protective shell underneath.
Looking at the product before opening it conveys similar thoughts to the packaging and attention to detail with Beats by Dre. This design certainly makes the user want to explore further and interact with the product.
Unzipping the case reveals four pods stacked upon each other over a gray charging base and charging cable. Upon further inspection, picking up a pod is very lightweight, no more than a few ounces. The pod has the company name with the pod tapering out to three wide feet creating a base.
Underneath is a dense blue rubber molded in the same shape as the base that prevents the product from sliding around during activity with stoppers on the bottom. On top is a hard plastic top with a gold dot and ring in the center.
Turning the pod over reveals more of the dense blue rubber with a gray area cut out revealing two gold prongs. Pods are stacked upon each other for storage and charging when not in use. The pods are charged through the gold dot and ring to ensure they charge at the same time. They require a charge time of 5 hours in order to use.
In order to turn the product on, the user has to download the BlazePod app in their app store and turn on Bluetooth to activate it.
Once in the app, the setup is quite simple and asks you a few questions in order to set up for ideal use. The user can track battery life, watch training videos, and get ideas for new training methods.
Browsing through the app, there are a variety of preprogrammed challenges that the user can use to begin training. They also have the option to create their own based on the goals the user is looking to achieve. From there, there is a timer tab to allow the user to assess their historical progress based on the challenges.
There is also an analytics tab that allows the user to look at their performance against other sessions or individuals. You can add multiple people to keep track of whatever the user is trying to assess historically.
Importance in Physical Therapy
BlazePod has an incredibly wide array of uses. Anywhere from the high-performance athletes looking for a new challenge all the way down to the general population.
Using the varying color feature, the pods could be set up in front of an individual to work through color sequencing to address cognition and reaction times. The colors could also be used as a distraction with multiple ones lighting up but only one color can be the main focus to touch.
Going further, these pods are excellent for children who need to work on a variety of developmental positioning including quadruped seen below.
Focusing on a pattern could be set as a goal to address problem-solving or sequencing following a traumatic brain injury or stroke. These could be used for other neurological issues such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s, allowing the patient to stand and reach for the target when balancing on a variety of surfaces using one or two hands.
These could also be used to reduce fall risk in the geriatric population. The focus could be used to cue to step over the lit pods or when to take a step. Using these features could allow a therapist to safely work with a patient when guarding them. This could reduce the need for an extra person to assist with more dynamic balance activities.
Spatial awareness would also be an excellent deficit to address in rehab. The user could place the pods around the room, forcing the patient to scan the surroundings looking for the lit pod and navigating to hit the target.
The pods could be spaced out to work on agility drills to work on cutting, pivoting, and jumping. They can be placed that when lit up in a sequence, forces the user to focus on specific movements. This could be achieved with lower extremity rehab with acceleration and deceleration to provide effective biofeedback.
Add-ons such as adapters can be purchased separately. These allow the user to place them anywhere in order to work with overhead activities. These can also be used with upper or lower extremity exercises in order to work on hand-eye coordination skills.
Strengthening is also a key component with BlazePod use. The pod can be timed to go on or off at a certain time if holding an isometric activity such as single-leg balance. They could also be used in plyometrics to work on explosive speed to jump and hit targets. Core stability can be a major focus on maintaining positioning while working upper or lower extremity movements.
In the clip below, NFL players QB Joe Webb and DE Mario Addison start out in a push-up position. They work to hit as many targets as they can while maintaining their position with the winner collecting more hits. Using the random feature could be like whack-a-mole where the quicker the light is touched, the faster the reaction time.
Going further, NFL WR Isaiah Ford is seen below working on shoulder and core stability tapping each colored light while maintaining his balance.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to using BlazePod in order to achieve rehab goals. Anything that allows a patient to focus on reacting to a stimulus in order to achieve a movement can only help them.
Between the programs already on the app or using the create your own, there are countless ways to use this product. If someone is looking for ideas, #blazepod on Instagram or Twitter will provide endless possibilities.
- Easy to use and set up
- Compact carrying case
- Wide variety of uses
- Have to strike firmly to change light, a light touch from a child or older adult may not register initially
- Does not come with adaptor to place on vertical surfaces
- Cost ($299 for a Standard Kit)
This is a cool product that is easy to use. It has a wide variety of uses in the rehab world. This allows the therapist/user to stay challenged and engaged with treatment interventions. This is a piece of equipment that can enhance patient treatments dramatically. It allows the therapist to create dynamic movements while ensuring the safety of the patient. While not necessary for every patient, this could be another tool available in order to improve the rehab experience.
I would like to thank BlazePod for sending me a kit to sample and Uproar PR for coordinating the review process.