There is a lot of emphasis on looking younger and being healthier these days, and lots of information out there, on what works best. Magazines, television and internet sites are full of things a person can do to take years off your life-dye and/or cut your hair; bleach your teeth; sleep more; drink water; and tone up. Okay, so a little hair color and some whitening strips are easy enough, but toning up requires a workout, and not just a few minutes here and there, but hours at a gym, several times a week.
Now, if you can believe the hype, you can, in less than 10 minutes a day, just two or three times a week, vibrate yourself into health on a Vibration Plate Exerciser (VPE); and, as an added bonus, cure muscle aches and back problems.
Too good to be true?
Not according to the information or the testimonials on the World Wide Web. Astronauts, medical professionals, even big name celebrities who don't have the time or inclination to pump iron at the gym use VPEs. Why not? According to all the press out there, it takes just ten minutes to get a complete body workout; one that would take an hour in the gym-and it uses all your muscle groups. Hard to believe? Yes, and you can't just stand there. In order to get the full effect, you must vary the exercises (some twenty in all) from squatting to sitting to lying on the vibrator, and use a variety of speed levels (some thirty-one available in all).
The whole body vibration method (WBV) works on the premise that muscles in the body contract in a reflexive action when stimulated by vibration.This reflexive response stimulates enhanced strength and performance.VPEs provide a form of exercise that anyone can stick with, regardless of physical ability or age, that provide a list of medical, health and longevity, wellness and sports performance benefits.Claims include regular use can: reverse Osteoporosis without drugs; decrease pain, improve joint function and stability; reverse urinary incontinence and improve muscle control; and increase circulation and lymphatic flow. In addition, using WBV machines can defeat cellulite, build muscle tone, accelerate fat lost and increase flexibility; and it's easy.You can wear street clothes, and you don't sweat.
So what's the downside?
According to Geartrends, most of the "scientific" information seems to come from "anecdotal reports," making the WBV "ripe for exploitation of the desperate, gullible, lazy or uninformed." From an historical perspective, there are many stories about vibration therapy being invented by the Russians to help Soviet cosmonauts prevent bone loss; however, the first vibration machines were likely developed as early as 1857 when a Swedish doctor, Gustav Zander, began building some seventy different steam-powered machines for training.
The machines became so popular that Zander Institutes (the world's original fitness club?) sprang up in major cities like Philadelphia, Paris and Moscow. Though, truth be told, one of the earliest WBV machines may have been built by John Harvey Kellogg (think cereal) at the Battle Creek Sanitarium around 1895. Its purpose: to shake constipation, headaches and backaches out of the patients.
So, why isn't it readily available?
Cost, for one.The least expensive machine I found retailed at around $500; and the price only went up from there. The most expensive machine I discovered retailed for over $12,000, with the average price being around $1,200. There were no notable differences between the machines. With a price tag like that, you might seek one out at your local health club, but they don't seem to be catching on as you might think they would. Maybe it has to do with liability. Think shaken baby syndrome for adults.
Sources: Paramountzone.com, Ironman Fitness, Vibra Trim