History of LightSpeed

The LightSpeed Bodyweight Support System started with a neck injury and a boat winch. Eighteen years ago, a friend of physical therapist Malcolm Macaulay came for physical therapy after a severe neck injury. Even at that early date, Macaulay had read about bodyweight support systems in professional journals. The neck injury even as it healed was aggravated by his friends’ greatest love, running. The impact of running caused the pain to resonate in his arm with each step. Lessening the impact by Bodyweight Support made theoretical sense.

“We actually built a very crude version with a boat winch going up and over a treadmill, [and] hooked up a fish scale to a traction harness.”

“We actually built a very crude version with a boat winch going up and over a treadmill, [and] hooked up a fish scale to a traction harness,” Macaulay says. “When that worked, we devised a study.”

He got 18 of the best runners from around the region to sign on, running on a treadmill with a bodyweight support system to see how it affected their running. Runners said the system allowed them to run faster and further without injury, which helped both in rehabilitation and developing top speed.

Three years ago, he started to seriously consider bringing the product to market. He experimented with different shorts and harnesses until coming up with the present setup. Now, a simple frame around the treadmill, a pair of compression shorts, and a couple of rubber bands are all anyone needs to get running again.

“In the health care system these days you don’t get to keep them very long,” Macaulay says. “The mission has been to make it accessible to people.”