André Riopel is a physiotherapist, competitive cyclist, and inventor of the ViscusTM.
André Riopel, BSc PT invented and perfected a momentum propelled therapeutic pedalling device called Viscus TM. Combining two of his passions – cycling and physiotherapy – Riopel’s device, and its development was featured in Northern Ontario Business.
André says “the concept for this machine came 40 years ago based on the work of Dr. Salter, the inventor of Continuous Passive Motion (CPM), and its effect on articular cartilage”. As a competitive cyclist, former bike shop owner and orthopaedic physiotherapist he says “in the cycling world, we call them “fixies” which are bicycles used for track racing and unlike standard bicycles, can’t coast”. A “fixie” bike is a lot smoother and comfortable to use because momentum helps your legs around the dead points of the pedalling motion. Furthermore, circular motion (as opposed to linear), eliminates joint forces caused acceleration/deceleration forces present in linear exercise like the CPM machine. This is ideal for arthritic joints as circular motion is far more comfortable than the back and forth of the CPMs.
“When people think of “exercise”, they think about muscular contraction and don’t appreciate all the value of just moving with minimal muscular contraction. The often-overlooked benefits of relatively passive exercise include neurological input, venous return and articular nutrition. The objective in the Viscus design was to create a user-friendly, simple machine that utilized the momentum of a high velocity flywheel to produce a smooth, relatively effortless circular motion that could be performed for long durations. Clinical applications included osteoarthritis, peripheral edema, hemiparesis, spasticity etc. The machine needed to be durable and non- motorized with a stable foot platform and easy access from a wheelchair or couch.”