Regaining Strength After StrokeTailwind featured in Discoveries + Breakthroughs - 05/01/2011 Regaining Strength After Stroke Read the article »

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How does the Tailwind work?

    The Tailwind is a non-invasive, portable and practical device that stroke or brain injury survivors can use on a flat surface at home. The device consists of two handles that move along independent, resistance-free tracks. The user moves the handles along each track at a certain starting mark, in response to auditory cues. The combination of the repetitive arm movement with sound and visual cues causes motor cortex activation, helping the brain to improve arm mobility and function. The Tailwind training program includes instruction in adjusting the handles further away from the user’s body as more arm mobility is gained over time. There are progressively more challenging positions that can be performed with the Tailwind device, including increased range of motion and angled arm work. Users chart their progress over weeks and months with the worksheets provided in the training manual that comes with the Tailwind.

    Users can continue using Tailwind until they’ve reached their optimal level of improvement in arm movement. Watch actual demonstrations of stroke patients using Tailwind on our YouTube channel,

  2. How is this different from an exercise machine?

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has designated Tailwind as an exercise device. It is an exercise for people who want to improve their arm function and range of motion. Specifically, it is a therapy for stroke survivors or others who have experienced moderate arm paralysis on one side of the body. Other exercise devices and machines may work the muscles, which Tailwind does, but they don’t have the combined benefits of three different exercise therapies in one device. Tailwind has been researched in clinical trials with real stroke patients. Trained Ph.D. researchers developed the arm exercise regimen and the progressive range of motion angles, with an understanding of muscles, stroke damage, and the expertise to guide patients toward improvement. The consistent movement performed with Tailwind, when synchronized with a sound cue, is believed useful in that proper Tailwind use results in permanent improvement of arm function in some patients.

  3. How does the user benefit from Tailwind?

    Tailwind offers several key benefits to the user, including:

    • Significant improvement in motor skills function, giving way to a wider range of motion and improved strength at minimal risk.
    • Clinically-proven treatment that can be purchased directly by patients, without a prescription, physician referral, or the need to be fitted.
    • Ability to take recovery in their own hands by managing their own therapy in the comfort of home without the assistance of a physical therapist or caregiver.
    • Durable and lasting results.
    • For many patients, a noticeable improvement in the quality of life, such as restoring arm movement to once again perform everyday activities at work and at home with greater ease.
  4. How is the Tailwind backed by science?

    Tailwind is a first-of-its-kind patented stroke rehabilitation device that clinical studies have shown can permanently improve arm movement in patients who have lost upper extremity function due to stroke or other brain injury.

    An article in the October 2004 Journal of American Medical Association, “Repetitive Bilateral Arm Training and Motor Cortex Activation in Chronic Stroke – A Randomized Controlled Trial,” reported the results of the clinical study that examined the association between brain re-organization and improved arm function.

    After several training sessions over a six-week period working with the device, stroke patients showed marked improvement in movement and function. These changes were also noticeable in patients who had their stroke as many as 20 years ago.

    Study investigators Drs. Jill Whitall and Sandy McCombe Waller, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, invented and developed the Tailwind device, also known by its scientific name, BATRAC, or bilateral arm trainer with rhythmic auditory cueing. Summaries of the scientific articles can be found on the Tailwind website at:

  5. Can Tailwind help patients who have reached a “plateau?”

    Many caregivers tell us that they have a friend or family member who had their stroke or brain injury many years ago, and they are no longer eligible for rehabilitation or therapy programs, yet they have not regained the kind of control in their arm that he or she would like. Tailwind is particularly helpful for people who cannot do other therapies or haven’t regained the control in their arm that they desire. There is no time limit on rehabilitation – anyone can try the Tailwind no matter how long ago they had their stroke or brain injury, nor how long ago they were in rehab.

  6. Who makes the Tailwind?

    The Tailwind is made by Encore Path, Inc, a woman-owned medical device company that was founded by entrepreneur Kristen Appel in 2006. It is based in Baltimore, Maryland. The mission of Encore Path is to improve the quality of life for stroke and brain injury survivors by producing and selling science-proven technologies, devices and therapies—primarily developed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine—that make stroke rehabilitation faster, safer, and more affordable.

  7. How else does Encore Path support the stroke survivor?

    The Tailwind treatment program was developed by Ph.D. physical therapy researchers working with stroke patients over many years. Encore Path encourages Tailwind users to share their experiences with us. We encourage you to join our mailing list for periodic updates on stroke recovery. We send out information for stroke survivors – new stroke research, new product updates and other useful information. In addition, Encore Path has brand-new stroke rehabilitation devices under development, and we’ll share updates with you. Follow us on twitter at:

  8. What is Encore Path’s scientific background and support? In addition to President Kristen Appel, Encore Path has leaders in health care, technology, physical therapy and stroke care serving as key advisors since she developed the company including: Scientific Advisory Board
    • Daniel F. Hanley, MD, Encore Path Chief Medical Officer; Vice Chairman of the Board, National Stroke Association
    • Jill Whitall, PhD, BATRAC co-inventor and Professor, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore
    • Sandy McCombe Waller, PhD, BATRAC co-inventor and Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  9. Can I get reimbursed for buying Tailwind?

    Currently, there is no insurance reimbursement for Tailwind for home use, but therapists can bill for Neuromuscular Re-education.

  10. How can stroke patients obtain Tailwind?

    Tailwind does not require a prescription or doctor’s referral. Patients can order Tailwind directly from Encore Path via phone at (410) 635-1203 or by writing an email to

  11. How much does it cost?

    Please call (410) 635-1203 for updated information on Tailwind pricing and payment plans. Both financing and layaway programs are available.

  12. Will I be able to use my stroke-affected arm after using Tailwind?

    In clinical studies, patients who have used this device steadily improved the movement and function in their affected arm. Many Tailwind users have shared their stories of improved arm function. For one story, please read our blog written by Shary, a real Tailwind user on our website:

  13. Can I return the Tailwind if I don’t like it?

    The Tailwind comes with a 14-day money back guarantee. You will know right away if you like the Tailwind and want to use it—you won’t need more than a few days to decide. Many users feel its effects right away, the very first time they use it, in fact.

  14. How is it shipped?

    The Tailwind is shipped via UPS and arrives at your home usually within 10 days. It comes completely assembled – all you have to do is take it out of the box, set it up on your table, read the instructions, and you’re ready to start exercising!

  15. What is included with my Tailwind?

    Your Tailwind comes complete with a metronome with batteries for auditory cueing, a training manual, a DVD, and a warranty card. You don’t need any other accessories to operate your Tailwind.

  16. What does the Tailwind treatment feel like?

    At first, it may feel very challenging to reach your affected arm along the track, but it should not be painful. As you work beyond your initial setting, it should feel increasingly smoother and easier to accomplish. Then you will be setting your stops further along the track, and your reach will be gradually increasing.

  17. What is it like working on therapy at home?

    The Tailwind is a very low-risk device. Over years of clinical study and research, no one has been injured using the device.

  18. Can it be used anywhere?

    Working on a therapy program at home, on your own, IS a challenge! Sometimes getting transportation to a therapy session in a hospital is difficult and so working on a program at home is very appealing. But you do have to stay motivated. Here are a few suggestions that we have heard from other stroke survivors:

    • Involve your friends or family to encourage you. Make them aware of your program – maybe they can help you set it up or ask you about your progress regularly.
    • When you work with Tailwind, it should have your total concentration so that you can see that you are making the moves along the track correctly. Proper posture and positioning are critical for maximum results.
    • Included with your Tailwind is a progress report. Fill in your treatment schedule and see how you are improving week to week.
    • Set a few realistic goals that you want to achieve – do you want to be able to hold up a newspaper or push a grocery cart? See if you are feeling any improvements week to week.
    • Share your experiences with Encore Path via by email,
  19. Can Tailwind help people who had a brain injury or stroke many years ago?

    Tailwind is particularly helpful for people who cannot do other therapies or haven’t regained the control in their arm that they desire. Tailwind clinical studies were conducted with patients who had their strokes many years ago—some more than 10 years earlier—and they were still able to improve their arm function and range of motion. There is no time limit for patients to try the Tailwind stroke rehabilitation device.

  20. What are the advantages for using the Tailwind?

    Tailwind offers several key benefits, including:

    • A statistically significant improvement in motor skills function, giving way to a wider range of motion at minimal risk.
    • A clinically proven treatment that can be ordered by patients, without a prescription or without being fitted.
    • The ability to take recovery in your own hands by managing your own therapy in the comfort of home, on your schedule, without needing to travel to another location for treatment.
    • Durable and lasting results.
    • A noticeable improvement in your quality of life, such as improving arm movement which may enable you to perform everyday activities at work and at home with greater ease.
  21. Is it safe?

    The Tailwind is a very low-risk device. Over a decade of clinical study and research, no one has been injured using the device.

  22. Can it be used anywhere?

    You can use Tailwind anywhere! Just be sure to make sure your posture is correct as depicted in the training manual. You can use it the kitchen table or another table, or even standing up with the device on the kitchen counter. Anywhere you can get proper posture, you can use the Tailwind.

  23. How long do the results last?

    Improvements in arm function and range of motion achieved using the Tailwind are considered permanent.

  24. How often do I use it?

    You can use Tailwind as often as you like. We recommend using it for 30 minutes per day, 3 times a week, but you can use it more if you wish. Detailed instructions are included in the training manual and DVD provided with the Tailwind.

  25. Where is it made?

    The Tailwind device is made from parts manufactured in many locations around the world, and it is assembled, packaged and mailed from Maryland.

  26. Do I need to do anything before I begin?

    As with any exercise program, always consult with your health care professional before beginning the Tailwind exercise program.

  27. Does it hurt?

    You should not experience pain using Tailwind. If you do, please consult with your training manual and DVD to ensure that you are using the proper posture. If you are still experiencing pain, please consult with your healthcare professional. Sometimes simple stretches will help reduce or eliminate any pain you may be feeling.