The device, which allows people who traditionally may have used a seated chair to make face-to-face and eye-to-eye contact through them being able to stand, has played a central role in developing and regaining the confidence of many users.

Going to the gym, using a cash machine, reaching the top shelf in a supermarket, and so many other activities which may have previously proved problematic, are now routinely possible.

Additionally, its positive role in a multitude of health matters is also a key factor in its adoption – from improving blood circulation, heart and lung function, bowel movement and bone density to reducing muscle spasm, joint stiffness, shrinkage of tendons and development of pressure sores.

The standing wheelchair is helping to bring new possibilities to those who rely on such devices to get around.

For those unable to stand unaided, the standing wheelchair is a true breakthrough, with various versions available depending on the person’s condition and requirements.

Wheelchair 88, one of only three companies in the world making standing wheelchairs with the FDA standard, has brought four models to market.

The Malaysian-based business, founded by C.Y. Cheung six years ago, after his father’s third stroke left him wanting to create innovative solutions for people with mobility problems, is now retailing in Europe and the UK.

Its four models are the Leo II, Draco, Pegasus II and Phoenix II. The Leo II is the lightest standing wheelchair in the world at only 27kg, with foldable backrest and detachable wheels, and is used by people who have two strong arms and hands and fingers.

For people who only have fingers that are workable, the Pegasus II model is most suitable with its power assisted standing or sitting position activated by just one finger.

The Phoenix II is a highly accessible, fully powered wheelchair, which allows recline of up to 25 degrees, with adjustable armrest height, headrest, seat depth, leg length and footrest angle.

The Draco model builds on this even further with its lie-down function, and is particularly popular with users with diabetes or swollen legs and feet, as well as those who need frequent naps during the day.

Cheung sees the standing wheelchair as a major development for people who have previously been confined to a seated position.

“In daily life standing up talking to people face-to-face and eye-to-eye can be important. The standing wheelchair means not sitting down all day.

“They help to release stress. Meanwhile, for someone with bedsores, standing wheelchairs are ideal in aiding recovery by enabling users to stand as frequently as possible, for as long as possible. Also if you go shopping you can reach the high shelves yourself,” he says.

“Because users feel more comfortable, emotionally they feel better. Sitting down all day makes you feel very unhappy, when you can walk around, relax a bit, go out into the garden, it makes you feel better.

“So they feel happier. In exhibitions we see users, some of whom haven’t been standing for more than 10 years, the first time they stand up. It feels so high to them; maybe they feel it’s too high and they are afraid. But once they stand up for a while, they feel so good, as I can see from their faces.”

With the exoskeleton being seen as the only real comparison to the standing wheelchair, its newer rival is proving more accessible on both a price and durability front.

“Exoskeleton technology is still unstable. The user must still have two strong arms in order to move on their own legs.

“It’s very costly, and there is still a chance of accidents,” says Cheung.

“Sometimes if you don’t handle well, you can fall. Your body has to lean forward, that’s not a good posture. These are only for users with a very strong upper body.

“Using a standing wheelchair, you have a knee strap, thigh strap, waist strap, chest strap, shoulder strap – so all kinds of straps. It depends on the user’s capability, we can use as little straps as we want, but most of all they are comfortable.”

All four wheelchair models covered can be adjusted in terms of seat depth, leg length and foot plate angle (for stretching the tendons while standing).

For more information on Wheelchair 88’s range of standing wheelchairs, visit www.wheelchair88.com

Sponsored feature.