About Us

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 11.02.11 AM.png

NextStep Raleigh is an affordable, state-of-the-art, community-based paralysis recovery and fitness center. By offering standardized activity-based therapy programs and interventions, based on research; our center provides the best chance for recovery, independence, and health.

We are located at: 6601 Hillsborough Street, Suite 113, Raleigh, NC, 27606

Email: apeters@nextstepraleigh.org 

Phone: (919) 679-9405


Who We Serve

Individuals living with paralysis including;

  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

  • Stroke

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

  • Cerebral palsy (CP)

  • Parkinson's Disease

  • And other neurological conditions...

What We Offer


Guided Activity-Based Therapy consists of 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 training with our certified activity-based therapists. Our trainers will work with you to promote functional recovery and improved health.


NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation (“NMES”)

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation, an activity-based therapy, provides high frequency, wide pulse width, task specific stimulation to generate a motor output while increasing the central state of excitability in the spinal cord. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation is provided via the Restorative Therapies Incorporated Sage unit with Xcite software and use of lead wires to 12 different muscle groups based on the targeted item from the Neuromuscular Recovery Scale. Tasks are performed with and without stimulation to transfer the improved neuromuscular capacity into the home and community environment.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (“FES”)

FES applies small electrical pulses to paralyzed muscles to restore or improve their function. FES is used to stimulate peripheral nerves, the "lower motor neurons" that connect the spinal cord to your muscles.  FES can be utilized for muscle re-education, functional substitution, spasticity management or general health and wellness benefits.

NextStep’s FES RTI-300 bikes are specially designed ergonomic bicycles which a person can use from their wheelchair, using electrical stimulation through electrodes to cycle with and without motor support. These bikes can be used for either arm cycling or leg cycling. The benefits of FES cycling are numerous—from aerobic conditioning to increased circulation, spasticity management and muscle flexibility. 



Our facilities offer cutting-edge and accessible rehabilitation and fitness equipment.

We also pride ourselves in creating a fun, supportive, progressive, and motivational environment with uplifting music throughout the facility. We also have changing rooms for our clients.


  • Walking

    • Rifton XL Pacer Gait Trainer

  • Standing

    • Standing Frames

    • Parallel Bars

    • Walkers

  • Functional Electrical Stimulation

    • RTI Xcite

    • RTI 300 FES Arm and Leg Bikes

  • Vibration Training

    • Galileo Vibration Plate

  • Cardiovascular Exercise

    • NuStep Bikes

  • Strength Training and General Exercise

    • High Low Electric Mats and Stationary Mats

    • Cybex Bravo

    • Total Gym Power Tower

    • Squat Rack/Power cage

    • Weight racks and dumbbells

    • Bosu Balls, bands, gloves, wrist guards


Our Story

On November 20, 2015, five minutes from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina, a car merged into Michael Thor, a local chef and restauranteur,  while he was on his motorcycle, sending him head first into a utility pole. He suffered a multitude of injuries, including six broken ribs, a completely shattered right elbow, a collapsed lung and a fractured spine at the C2 level causing an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). He was paralyzed from the neck down.  Although he didn’t require any spinal surgery, the fracture and subsequent bruising of the spinal cord caused a life-changing amount of damage. 


That very same day the neurosurgeon at WakeMed Hospital recommended Mike be transferred to a specialist as soon as possible. The family quickly went through the steps necessary to get him admitted to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta Georgia, considered one of the top spinal acute care and rehab facilities in the United States. He spent two weeks in the ICU at WakeMed before being med-flighted to Atlanta. His wife Sarah and his parents, packed up and made the move to be with him full time during his recovery. 

It was at the Shepherd Center, 39 days after his accident, that Mike made his first voluntary movement, wiggling his toes on his right foot!  Michael and his family were so excited and finally had renewed hope about his future. He continued to work towards regaining the use of his body, purposefully making small movements with his right arm and both legs over the course of his stay in the hospital. On February 8th, 2016 Mike received a DPS (Diaphram Pacing System), a life-changing surgery that worked like a charm and allowed him to get off of a ventilator. On February 15, 2016 Mike stood for the first time.  He and his family knew they had to keep his recovery moving forward and enrolled him in the out-of-pocket activity-based therapy program offered at Shepherd called Beyond Therapy. He attended Beyond Therapy four days a week, for approximately two hours a day.

When he began Beyond Therapy, Michael had to use a hoyer lift for transfers, was using his mouth to navigate his chair and barely moving his arms, and was able to raise both of his legs slightly both simultaneously and individually while sitting in his chair. After 2 1/2 years in this program, Mike no longer needs the hoyer lift at all, exclusively doing stand and pivot transfers.  He walks with assistance three times a week, hand drives his wheelchair full time, can lift his right arm high enough to press an elevator button, can navigate an iPad in his lap, and can adjust his body position slightly, both seated and in bed giving him an overall better quality of life. Mike has proven that as long as he continues to work hard in regular activity-based therapy, he will continue to improve. 

While the progress Mike has made at the Shepherd Center is amazing, as the owner of a popular new restaurant in Raleigh it is essential for him to come back home. He still has a long recovery ahead and we worried about how he could continue to improve once back in Raleigh, as there was nothing in place that would match the type of therapy he was receiving at Shepherd Center. Most people struggling with paralysis face this same issue – there are few, if any, acceptable long-term activity-based therapy options in their home communities. The solution was to open a NextStep Fitness paralysis recovery center in Raleigh.  To take Michael home, yet keep him in aggressive activity-based training is what started this idea. To serve others in the Triangle is what has pushed this idea forward. This rehab center in Raleigh will allow Michael and the many other paralyzed individuals in the area to benefit from aggressive activity-based therapy and the creation of a community to provide social outlets and activities with a holistic approach to recovery.