TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Patients with balance problems now have a new tool to diagnose and treat their malady.

St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center recently purchased a new, state-of-the-art balance machine. It’s the only one like it in the state, said Dr. Jonathan Myers, medical director for the hospital’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center.

The hospital demonstrated the new machine during an event Monday morning in its Medical Plaza. Several representatives from First Federal Bank, a corporate donor to the fundraiser, tried out the $125,000 balance machine.

Patients with imbalance problems now have a new tool to help detect and treat their malady at St. Luke's Magic Valley. The hospital demonstrated the machine at an event Monday morning in Twin Falls. (Photo by Andrew Weeks)

The machine diagnostically detects imbalances in the human system, such as inner ear or vision problems. It allows therapists to deliver to the patient “the best, most comprehensible treatment possible,” Myers said.

Patients started using the machine over the past few weeks. It simulates multiple scenes, such as controlling an airplane or walking down an aisle, which help detect and treat imbalance. Patients stand inside the egg-shaped machine that resembles what a body-sized Wii game might look like, watches a screen, and receives simulated motions.

Therapy patients who use the machine usually are in treatment twice a week for about four to six weeks, said Physical Therapist Cole Small. Because St. Luke’s Magic Valley is the only hospital with such a machine, he wouldn’t be surprised if patients from other parts of Idaho visit the hospital for treatment. Besides patients in Twin Falls and the surrounding communities, he so far has seen patients from Bellevue and Ketchum.

Dr. Jonathan Myers, medical director for the hospital’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, visits with guests on Monday during an event demonstrating the new balance machine at the hospital. (Photo by Andrew Weeks)

Myers said many hands were involved in helping the hospital to purchase the machine, including St. Luke’s staff, many who in August 2016 climbed Mt. Borah as a fundraising opportunity. Thirty-one members from St. Luke’s attempted the climb, with 27 making it to the top.

Eventually, a flag will posted atop the machine reminiscent of the fundraising climb to Borah’s peak. A wall inside the Outpatient Gym also will be decorated with the names of community members and organizations who donated to the cause.

“I had an amazing team,” said Myers, who initiated the “Borah for Balance” fundraiser and wrote a blog about the experience, wherein he shared some personal reasons for starting the campaign. A big push happened through social media, he said, and many people across the U.S. and a few even in Europe donated to the cause.

“I would never have been able to do this alone,” he said.


Watch the video below by St. Luke's Magic Valley demonstrating the new balance machine.