October 31, 2014

Dr Mercola and Power Plate, 7 revealing questions Dr Mercola and “Power Plate scientists” refuse to answer.

Recently Whole Body Vibration has been given a lot of exposure thanks to a well known natural health advocate Dr Joseph Mercola and his endorsement of Power Plate equipment. According to statistics provided by Alexa.com, Dr Mercola’s website mercola.com is ranked number 1 for natural health sites on the internet and number 3 for health websites in general.  Additionally, mercola.com boasts a newsletter database of over 1.5 million people. It is great to see Whole Body Vibration portrayed in a positive light and given so much exposure by an influential figure such as Dr Mercola. Reviewing Dr Mercola’s comments on Whole Body Vibration over the last few years gives us some insight into his endorsement of Whole Body Vibration and subsequent sales of Power Plate.

In a 2008 article, Dr Mercola stated “I am not convinced that there are sufficient benefits to incorporate into my own exercise regimen. I really see this device as a niche for seriously competitive athletes or as physical therapy aid to those recovering from certain health conditions.” In the same article Dr Mercola recommends a website as a consumer resource for tips in purchasing a vibration machine. Perhaps unintentionally, the website Dr Mercola references is in fact not a consumer website at all, but a thinly veiled marketing website fronting as a consumer resource.

Fast forward to November 2010, and there are signs that Dr Mercola has assigned himself a more definitive position with regards to his use of Whole Body Vibration. In regards to Whole Body Vibration and rebounders, Mercola says “The two technologies are not mutually exclusive and I actually use both.” Another sign of more to come from Dr Mercola are his numerous references to “Acceleration Training” in this article, a term that is claimed to be trademarked by Power Plate, and is not commonly used to describe vibration training. Later in the comments section, and in response to a user review of various machines, Dr Mercola says “Thanks but your review is inadequate and leaves out the best plate on the market. I will have a review later this month.” Clearly at this point Dr Mercola has aligned himself with a particular manufacturer.

By February 2011 all is revealed when Dr Mercola publishes an article promoting Power Plate, and Acceleration Training titled “The World’s Easiest Way to Exercise and Slim Your Waistline”. The article is launched in combination with a video interview with Tony Swain and a dedicated Power Plate sales page via Dr Mercola’s online store. The following month another article from Dr Mercola is published, and is this time accompanied with a video interview with Power Plate President Mark De Gorter.

Dr Mercola’s decision to sell and support Power Plate products is his business, but I found much of the information presented by mercola.com to be dubious at best, and misleading at worse when it came to the Power Plate sales pitch. Whilst Dr Mercola is strong in his promotion of the Power Plate machine and Whole Body Vibration, he is equally strong in his statements to discredit the use of machines which he does not sell. I attempted to engage Dr Mercola on this subject and received a quick response that my arguments were false, and rather than countering my arguments, I was advised that the “scientist’s from Europe” would address all of my points. To date a number of my arguments remain unaddressed.

The following are 7 revealing questions that Dr Mercola and his scientists at Power Plate refuse to answer.

1) If you watch the Dr Mercola interview with personal trainer Tony Swain, from 13:40 Swain says that at low amplitude power plate produces 2mm displacement, and at high amplitude it produces 4mm displacement. He then lists all of the g force values for each supposed frequency and displacement setting as follows: 30Hz @ 2mm = 1.8g    35Hz @ 2mm = 2.1g   40Hz @ 2mm = 2.7g    30Hz @ 4mm = 3g   35Hz @ 4mm = 4g   40Hz @ 4mm = 5g

Question for Dr Mercola,
Are these figures correct? If yes, could you please provide evidence and explain why these figures are not consistent with available data.

Notes of interest:

  • The engineering tests we ran on a Power Plate Pro5 in 2010 showed low amplitude 1mm and high amplitude 2mm, and registering a maximum of 11g’s peak g-force (7.77g’s RMS) .
  • These results are consistent with the independent findings of a Dutch study by Pel et al. where they also measured similar amplitudes and g force from the Power Plate machine.
  • After posing this question to Dr Mercola in his February article, in his March article the figures were listed as 1mm low and 2mm high amplitude which is consistent with our available data.

What is the significance of this question?
This might appear to be arguing over semantics here, but Swains figures do not add up. You will find an acceleration calculator on our website here, if you enter Swain’s figures into the calculator, you’ll find the resultant g force is not consistent with Swain’s frequency and amplitude figures. Also the difference between 2mm high amplitude, or 4mm high amplitude is significant in terms of the acceleration (g-force) output. A doubling from 2mm to 4mm amplitude will also result in a doubling of the acceleration (g-force). A recent Meta Analysis by Marin & Rhea showed greater increase in chronic strength gains via an increase in both frequency and amplitude (i.e. greater acceleration). Power Plate have attempted to own the tag “Acceleration Training” but in terms of acceleration, evidence suggests that:
a) There are numerous vibration machines which produce greater acceleration
b) Greater gains in strength can be obtained from greater acceleration output

 

2) In his February article Dr Mercola states that “over 30 of the nearly 200 studies about WBVT were conducted with Power Plate brand equipment” .

Question for Dr Mercola,
Could you please list the 30+ studies performed on the Power Plate machine, excluding studies performed on the machine today known as VibroGym?

Notes of interest:

  • Power Plate was launched in 1999 and the original machine from 1999 today belongs to another company known as VibroGym. All studies performed on the Power Plate until 2004 were performed on the VibroGym machine.

What is the significance of this question?
The VibroGym machine produces around twice the acceleration of the modern Power Plate Pro 5, exceeding the acceleration capabilities of the Power Plate machine. Therefore, referencing research performed on the VibroGym (an entirely different machine) and attributing it to the modern Power Plate is misleading.

 

3) In his February article Dr Mercola states “It’s Not Just a “Wobble Board”: Many of the competing brands have vibrational movement in only two directions, right to left, front to back—basically a “wobble board.” That’s okay for making Jiffy Pop but not okay for Acceleration Training. It’s the vertical motion (up and down) that provides the neurological benefit, as a result of the G forces produced on your body.”
In his video interview with Mark De Gorter, Dr Mercola clearly identifies a teeter totter (pivotal) type platform as a “wobble board”
Mark De Gorter: “Absolutely. As a matter fact when you’re working on what we call teeter totter type system.”
Dr Mercola: “The wobble board”

Question for Dr Mercola,
Are you claiming that pivotal vibration machines (“wobble boards” or “teeter totter”) produce LESS G-force on the body than Power Plate platforms?

Notes of interest:

  • The g force produced by the Galileo pivotal vibration machine is primarily vertical (up and down), and is of larger magnitudes than the Power Plate (see Pel et al.).
  • Other pivotal machines such as HyperVibe, MaxuVibe and Globus produce more vertical acceleration than Power Plate.
  • It should be noted that the pivotal Galileo vibration machine was the first commercially available platform, and have more research based evidence behind them than any other machine on the market. Far more than the questionable 30+ papers claimed by Mercola for Power Plate.

What is the significance of this question?
It is great that Dr Mercola is both an advocate of Whole Body Vibration and also of Power Plate, but considering his influence it is important that he reports the facts accurately. This comment from Dr Mercola implies that machines that Dr Mercola refers to as “wobble boards” are not effective. The truth of the matter is that many pivotal vibration machines produce greater acceleration primarily in the vertical direction which Dr Mercola acknowledges is most important. Furthermore, the Galileo pivotal vibration machine has has more evidence of it’s effectiveness than any other machine available today. It also produces more g force in all 3 planes than Power Plate (see Pel et al.).

 

4) In his February article Dr Mercola states “The Harmonious Wave: Power Plate is engineered to produce a harmonious wave, which requires a very precise set of motors. You are exposed to harmonious vibrations all day long. Light is a harmonious vibration, for example. Your body responds to all sorts of vibration, and whether it responds favorably or unfavorably depends upon the type of wave. It’s analogous to the difference between listening to a beautifully played violin versus one played badly—the vibrations from the well-played one make your body feel good. Some companies that are less committed to quality produce a very “unclean curve,” which can actually do harm to your body. The motors in the Power Plate produce a synchronous curve that is optimal for your muscles as they contract and relax.“

Question for Dr Mercola,
Can you provide any evidence that:
a) Power Plate produces a harmonious wave whilst others do not?
b) The body responds favourably/unfavourably depending on the curve?

Notes of interest:

  • To the best of my knowledge this is an area unexplored by any WBV related scientific literature.

What is the significance of this question?
Whilst this topic is interesting, Dr Mercola should be able to back up his claims, particularly as he is using this claim to sell Power Plate whilst casting doubt on other machines.

 

5) In his February article Dr Mercola states “The Power Plate is the leader in the field. It was developed by the Dutch Olympic Coach who was inspired by the Soviet space program and he effectively used it for his Olympic athletes. He really is the creator of this technology for the public.”

Question for Dr Mercola,
If that were true, how do you explain the prior technology of Galileo (pivotal) and NEMES (lineal)?

Notes of interest:

  • Power Plate was launched in 1999, prior to that Galileo in 1996 and later Dr Bosco’s research and NEMES unit were released.

What is the significance of this question?
To suggest Power Plate can be attributed to being the creator of this technology sounds quite impressive. Is this just stretching the truth in order to attract more sales?

 

6) In his November 2010 article Dr Mercola references research undertaken by NASA on Whole Body Vibration machines. In 2008, two NASA funded research papers were published directly comparing a Power Plate machine to a Galileo machine. The purpose of one of these papers was to assess the risk of negative effects from the two devices. The purpose of the other paper was to assess the neuromuscular responses from the two devices.

Question for Dr Mercola,
With regards to the paper assessing the risk of negative effects, which machine did the researchers suggest may pose lesser risk of adverse effects? With regards to the paper assessing the neuromuscular responses, which machine did the researchers find produced greater overall neuromuscular responses?

Notes of interest:

  • The answer to both of these questions is Galileo.

What is the significance of this question?
Dr Mercola has recently taken a financial interest in Power Plate machines, actively promotes them as the creators of the technology, and as the gold standard. As pointed out in this article already, Galileo came first in 1996 and their units which are sometimes referred to as “wobble boards” have more research behind them than Power Plate and in the above mentioned NASA studies, demonstrated more favourable outcomes than Power Plate when compared directly.

 

7) In the video interview with Power Plate President Mark De Gorter, Dr Mercola states “your device is the only one in the United States because it’s patented that actually has a vertical displacement which gives you the G force but also it has a horizontal and sagittal so it moves in three planes.” … “But unfortunately, they (competitors) aren’t able to produce your device and they produce something that only goes back and forth typically and it only moves in this one plane. It’s not going to give the same benefits. You might get some strength training benefits but it has other downsides there. Clearly you’re not going to get the neurological benefits.”
Additionally, on Dr Mercola’s Power Plate sales page, Dr Mercola again alludes to this mysterious patent, “They own the patent on the revolutionary two motor systems that provide a 3-D workout.”

Question for Dr Mercola,
Could you please provide evidence of a Power Plate patent which prevents the competitors from producing vibration in 3 planes?

Notes of interest:

  • As has been demonstrated in numerous studies, vibration machines almost always vibrate in 3 planes.
  • In the Dutch Pel et al. paper referenced earlier, all 3 devices tested (Galileo, Power Plate and PowerMaxx) produced acceleration in all 3 planes, with both Galileo and the PowerMaxx producing greater sideways forces than the Power Plate.
  • See also numerous vibration machine reviews at http://www.massamagra.com/ where each device tested produced vibration in all 3 planes.
  • Numerous Whole Body Vibration machines utilise a 2 motor system which results in vibration in 3 planes.
  • Numerous Whole Body Vibration machines have demonstrated neurological benefits.

What is the significance of this question?
Dr Mercola and Power Plate President Mark De Gorter claim that competitors are only able to produce vibration machines which vibrate only in one plane, and that such machines are not as effective. This gives those who watch this interview the impression that Power Plate have the ability to produce a superior vibration output in 3 planes where the competition cannot. Based on the evidence of numerous machines producing vibration in 3 planes, this is either entirely untrue, or the alleged Power Plate patent has not prevented anyone from producing 3 dimensional vibration. It should also be noted that Galileo were the first to file a patent on a vibration machine.

 

In the video interview with Power Plate President Mark De Gorter, Dr Mercola states , “That’s what we’re hoping we’re doing. There is a lot of confusion. Really one of the purposes of our site is to help clear up confusion to the consumers because certainly, you know, clever marketers can really easily do that especially for new products like this.One of the many purposes of this video is to really inform you about this technology but then to also let you know that there are others out there that may appear to be the same but they really foundationally aren’t.”


Let’s hope that Dr Mercola can provide us with some answers to these questions to help clear up confusion, as these days it can be difficult for consumers to indentify a “clever marketer”.

Comments

  1. Great questions for consumers to consider before purchasing based on “celebrity” endorsement! Very well written and easy to understand. Thanks, Murray!

  2. Nicely written Murray.

    You’ve asked some valid questions that never seem to be answered without additional confusion or simple avoidance. I’d like to see more direct responses to the questions posed.

    Look forward to further discussion.

    Deb

  3. Great timing on this article!

    I’ve been working a series of consumer shows over the past few months, with more to come and it’s been interesting to hear Dr. Mercola come up endorsing WBV. Nice to have a reference to direct them to…….. for the other side of the coin:)

  4. Dr. Mercola is usually right on. However, you have done some excellent analysis. Even if Dr. Mercola is not right on concerning this one machine, at least he is promoting a great vibration machine concept (WBV machine). From what I have read, the Vibration Machine is very effective and should be available to everyone. I enjoyed listening to Dr. Mercola and the sales agent for the “Power Plate” machines on their “scientific” justification for vibration machine usage. More independent analysis & results should be provided to the general public.
    Thank you for your independent efforts.
    Dr. Stern

  5. patrick says:

    Great article. Where can I find current test results and verification of specification on vibration machines such as frequency, amplitude etc?

  6. Patrick,

    You can look at the engineering report video on the home page or visit massamagra.com for other thorough review. We will be adding more here very soon.

  7. Is there any solid scientific evidence vibration machines reduce cellulite as claimed by them ?

  8. Murray Seaton says:

    Hi Sean,

    Unless I am mistaken, there has only been one study done with regards to the effects of WBV on cellulite.

    I haven’t given it much attention personally, but I believe it was using the lineal VibroGym and they showed some good results.

    I once asked an industry professional why more research hasn’t been done on things such as cellulite, lymphatic drainage etc. and he told me that such topics don’t exactly score high points amongst academia, so are not popular.

    Makes sense.

  9. Andras Weber says:

    Thank you Murray for all your educating articles and your answers to people! I can’t claim that I read all of them but I spent few hours yesterday to read everything I could.
    I also found very positive that you are taking every comment seriously and answer them!

    I have a great respect for Dr. Mercola and found his explanations about supplements very helpful on his website. That is where I heard about vibration exercise machines the first time. My antennas also picked up something strange about his endorsement of the power plates. I wanted to investigate that and your article on the subject was very helpful!
    I have met a “live” machine recently at a local exhibition in Toronto. Euro Body Shaper. I was very impressed after trying it. The specs on the website are promising (Frequency: 60Hz; Amplitude: 0-9.5mm) but I have not idea how accurate they are. Also there is no mention about the G force. I am also confused with the two motor version of the professional plus body shaper. Based on what I understand from your explanations about the pivotal ones, there is no need for that. The exhibition price on all of the models are almost half of what the website is offering so it is naturally appealing.
    On the other hand I don’t want to invest into anything is not going to do what is promising. The website is also offering all sort of other products so….

    I would appreciate any comments from you.
    Thank you:

    Andras

  10. Murray Seaton says:

    Hi Andras,

    Thanks for the comments. I agree that there is some good stuff on Mercola’s website, I use it as a resource myself occasionally. I guess I just use a little more caution in what I read there these days. I suspect at the time of choosing to promote Power Plate, Dr Mercola was unaware of most of what I have highlighted in my article. Once you have promoted and started making sales via your database of 1.5 million people, it’s probably not an option to say “apologies everyone but I got this wrong”.

    With regards to the Euro Body Shaper, unfortunately it doesn’t have a hope in hell of producing an output of 60Hz @ 9.5mm (which by the way equates to 69g’s).

    If you view our 2010 engineers report at the below link, please scroll through and compare the Euro Body Shaper to the following machines…
    Crazy Fit
    VibroForm
    T Zone
    Genki
    Vitality 600
    http://www.hypervibe.com.au/engineers_report.pdf

    All look pretty similar to the Euro Body Shaper right?

    All produce somewhere around 15Hz and 4g’s.

    If I were to bet on whether the Euro Body Shaper produces 60Hz @ 69g’s, or 15Hz @ 4g’s, I’d put everything onto the latter.

    A machine such as the Euro Body Shaper will do the job for massage, balance, circulation, flexibility etc. but won’t provide much in terms of muscle stimulation and loading. But don’t pay $1700, go to eBay and find the same machine for a fraction.

    Hope this helps.

    • Andras Weber says:

      Thank you for your reply!
      You just confirmed my suspicion!

      I tried a Hypervibe Performance machine today and I experienced the difference.
      Do you know if the Galaxy is out already in Canada?

      A.

  11. Murray Seaton says:

    The Galaxy hasn’t been released anywhere yet Andras, we are still very busy working on it.

  12. Murray-Thanks for the insights. I stubbled onto this blog. I’m just lookin for a solid machine to maximize my strength and flexibility with minimal effort–without having to rob a bank.!

  13. J,

    All the platforms that we support on this site can help with strength and flexibility. Some have more potential than others, but the prices differ. What is your budget?

  14. Around 2 grand, give or take.

  15. Very happy to find your analysis after I read Dr. Mercola’s pages on Vibrational Training. My granddaughter gets vibrational training at the rehab where she goes for scoliosis reversal = The Clear Institute method.. Now I understand it better. I find Mercola too promotional for his own stuff– and also obsessive compulsive in general– a point of view that was confirmed after I read his autobiography–he tends to totally immerse himself in a direction– and tell everyone to do what he’s doing, but will often move on to something else in time. and if one were to believe his hyperbole on the negatives of various modes of eating or living in the 20th century – you could start to feel quite paranoid and anxious. While most everyone can improve their fitness and eating habits, I don’t think it’s helpful to use headlines that suggest that just about everything is going to kill you. Nor is it fundamentally truthful. Lots of people eat plenty of bad stuff and don’t exercise much and live long and healthy lives– so there is simply more to it than Mercola suggests.

    My question is — are these machines showing up in gyms around the country – because they are out of budget for the majority of people like myself of moderate incomes. I would join a gym to test out the benefits of these machines myself.

  16. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for your input on Dr. Mercola. It does seem these days that everything poses grave health risks and the “experts” need to inform you in bold headlines!.

    For everyone that says, and can “prove”, that this or that is of great health benefit, there is someone else that can “prove” it is dangerous. It’s all going to prove futile in the end and people will go with what intuitively sounds and feels right.

    This is one of the fundamental issues with the research on Whole Body Vibration. Although, when you look at all the positive research, you see trends towards certain platforms. While others, that are unfortunately being more heavily researched at the moment, continue to dissapoint (did someone say powerplate?).

    Anyway, to your question……there is definately a slow movement towards having these in health clubs. There also does seem to be a movement towards getting more trainers educated on how to use them, theory etc. In the US, most gyms are bringing in Powerplates. This is unfortunate as it is fairly weak and typically results in “I don’t get it”. On the other side, at least it is familiarizing more people with the concept.

    Where are you located, maybe we can help find someone or a club nearby that can let you demo. Also, what is your budget?

  17. I am a current undergraduate studying sport and exercise science at University. My dissertation is looking at amplitude of motion in active and passive masses during whole body vibration. I have completed my data collection and have tested 3 conditions at 4 power plate settings.

    The conditions are, no mass, active mass (56kg athlete) and passive mass (3 x 20kg rectangular gym weights). The settings are 30Hz high amplitude, 30Hz low amplitude, 50 Hz high amplitude and 50 Hz low amplitude. I have filmed one marker secured to the platform in the same position for each trail at each condition. I have currently found that the amplitude of the plate is at its greatest when the plate supports the active mass.

    I am looking for some kind of justification as to why Power Plates reccomend the frequencies they do, any ideas? and why not put a value to amplitude rather than using descriptive words like high and low.

    Any ideas or suggestions of research to read would be most helpful

    • Lori Guyer says:

      I saw and participated in a demonstaration today of the Euro boday Shaper at the National Restuarnat Associatoin how in Chicago, IL. I was involve in a live demo with a gentleman named Cork Kallen.

      I was very interested and actaully very impressed by the interactive demonstration. I seemed to good to be true though. I continued to listen to the powerful message. They claimed that in 10 minute you could burn as many calories as you would if you ran at 5 MPH for One Hour on a treadmill.

      Both instructors claimed that thier own body’s transformations came from doing only 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening; and only four days a week. They even had a before and after photo of the one leader claiming he lost 60 pounds in 3 months just by following the above routine.

      Of course it seems to good to believe. They were selling two units; one for $1200 and one for $3000

      I would like to hear what other people think about this. The did a hard sell on my but my instincts told me that if it was so good it would be in gyms all over the country. I brought this to the attention of the lead sales member and he said that traditional gyms were contractually bound by contracts to traditional eleptical machines, treadmills, etc and they were being “black-balled” from the American Gym communitty becuase it is “too” good. That people would simply buy thier own unit and never come to the gym.

      I would love to hear from anyway if my instincts are correct and this is nothing more that “snake-oil” sales effort.

      Thanks in advance for your insight….

      Lori

      • Hi Lori,

        You have great instincts! Your post is a perfect summary of everything that is wrong with this industry! It also demonstrates the obstacles that the public continues to face in truly understanding vibration training and the numerous benefits it can provide.

        The whole “ten minutes in an hour at the gym” or however else you want to phrase it (calories burnt, fat lost blah…blah…blah) is total nonsense. The reality however, is that with a PROPER platform (one that can achieve a moderate to high acceleration output), ONLY ten minutes of training can be quite an intense workout and therefore elicit the physiological changes in your body associated with most traditional, longer duration training programs. Again, this is assuming you use the right platform and push yourself.

        As far as weight loss (or as we like to emphasize, body composition changes – more muscle, less fat), this efficient training program must be part of an entire approach which includes proper nutrition and stress management.

        So, in summary, you only need to do 10 minutes of intense training on a moderate to high acceleration platform (higher is better), 3x/week. Combined with a good nutrition program and stress management, you will be happy with your body’s changes. Must have the right platform and the euro body shaper n certainly not it!

    • I need to purchase a scoliosis chair for less than $4,000. Anyone know of one? The logistics I’ll leave to you on the Hz high amplitude, etc.

  18. Murray Seaton says:

    Hi Helen,

    Welcome to the forum.

    First things first, have you confirmed the Power Plate manufacturer settings for frequency? A number of researchers before you have produced papers that reach conclusions which are fundamentally flawed due to the fact that they took the manufacturer specs at face value.

    If the Power Plate model you are using is one of their earlier Next Generation models, then there is good reason to suspect the machines are not performing as per the manufacturer settings, see Bazett Jones et al, or see engineers data from Lloyd Shaw @ Vibra-Train which formed the basis of legal proceedings. If it is one of their newer My or Pro series units, data we’ve seen so far suggests accurate settings.

    Regardless, since you are already looking at motion, I assume you’re using a motion system like VICON, which is the gold standard in vibration analysis. If so, and if you haven’t done so already, it will be no trouble for you to confirm the frequency specs.

    Regarding your findings, in motion under various conditions. I have a large amount of test data to be released in the near future showing settings recorded at the platform under both loaded and unloaded conditions. Also see vibrationtrainingdevice.com for a number of platforms tested under both loaded and unloaded conditions.
    It is unlikely that you would ever find greater amplitude via the addition of a passive mass to the platform, as this simply increases the amount of force required to move the platform. Regarding your findings that the active mass resulted in greater amplitude, it would be interesting if you tested this across the entire frequency range of the Power Plate machine, as other data indicates that this does occur on some machines, at some frequencies, but not all machines at all frequencies. There are some well presented graphs showing this on the DKN models on vibrationtrainingdevice.com

    My guess as to why that occurs is due to the fact that your active mass is in effect an elastic load (see Rittweger, Vibration as an exercise modality: how it may work, and what its potential might be), and under certain conditions the users mass via the elasticity, works with the inertia of the platform rather than against it.

    As to why Power Plate recommend the frequencies they do. Here is a quote from the Rittweger review I referenced above…
    “The literature available on the effects of vibration training programs upon the musculature has been summarized in Table 1. Although there were different protocols applied in those studies, the table discloses some common features. Firstly, vibration frequency ranged between 20 and 45 Hz in all studies.”

    From another Rittweger paper…
    “From the experience in our laboratory and by reports from other colleagues, a vibration frequency below 20 Hz induces muscular relaxation (we have successfully applied 18 Hz vibration exercise in patients with chronic lower back pain), whereas there are reports that at frequencies above 50 Hz severe muscle soreness and even haematoma may emerge in untrained subjects.”

    The which frequency and why question is a giant can of worms, and Power Plate don’t have any justification other than anecdotal feedback and the evidence supporting 20-45Hz. Typically lineal manufacturers promote +45Hz settings for a massage type effect. Anecdotally most everyone I know reports a loss of recruitment at settings +45Hz.

    Researchers have tried to determine optimal frequency via EMG signal analysis at different frequencies, but the majority of such papers are flawed due to the fact that the data was not sufficiently filtered (see Abercromby et al). When the data is filtered correctly, sections of the signal are missing at the vibration output frequency and it’s harmonics, therefore EMG is perhaps not so useful for this.

    See Di Giminiani et al. for some interesting stuff on individualised frequency settings showing greater outcomes.

    There are plenty of theories out there on which frequency and why, some make more sense than others, but this is really all we have at the moment.

    Finally, as to why Power Plate would describe their amplitude settings as low and high, this was not always the case. See again Bazett Jones et al. where the Next Generation amplitude settings were given as 2-4mm (low) and 4-6mm (high). You’ll find these figures quoted throughout numerous Power Plate papers, and most people who know anything about lineal machines, in particular Power Plate units, recognise these figures as stretching the truth. I should note that when discussing the loading phenomena you’ve been studying, I was referring to lineal machines only. If you look at Gabriel’s article on choosing a WBV machine, you’ll note the mechanical differences in how the machines are driven.
    http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2011/08/how-to-properly-select-a-platform-part-ii/

    Unlike a pivotal machine which is direct driven through a fixed range of motion, a lineal relies on inertia created via the counterweights, and is therefore subject to variations in amplitude to to factors such as loading, as per your own findings. Therefore, in fairness to lineal manufacturers, it can be difficult to set a value for their amplitude settings, as these can vary due to factors such as loading conditions. I agree though that some value would be useful, even if it is just listed as a general indication whilst loaded with X mass.

  19. The problem you will find with Power Plate is …..

    They are a marketing company and have no scientific mind for Vibration Training. So they always try to simply it to marketing jargon to ” fq is everything” or ” amplitude is everything” ” syn-wave is everything ” ( all past marketing slogans they change often ) or deliberately over complicate it to baffle everyone with BS.

    They are the most unethical company in our industries history. Deliberately hiding massive chunks of very relevant knowledge from researchers so you dont ask the “right” questions ( or wrong questions for them ) .

    Eg… Thousands of machines released not running to advertised specs. Sold to the disabled , athletes and researchers alike. And yes after they knew this to be an engineering fact.

    Sorry to hear you are dealing with them.

  20. Hi Murray,

    Thank you for such a quick reply

    The PowerPlate I have tested is the Pro5, and I haven’t been able to use VICON as I am restricted to the equipment available to me to use. I collected my data through the use of a high speed camera (2000 Hz) and processed the footage through Quintic then analysed the vertical displacement of my marker (secured to the platform) with excel where I have got values of frequency and amplitude from my footage. The frequencies I obtained from the footage are accurate with the frequencies selected on the device; just the amplitude varies a considerable amount.

    As the experiment is for my dissertation I have had to select the highest and lowest frequencies available however I did collect footage for each frequency at the time of testing just incise. Overall I would say my study is very similar to the first half of Pel et al.

    Thanks again for your suggestions; I will now spend the day reading the studies and websites you have suggested!

  21. Hi Helen

    What university are you located at?

    If you contact Lloyd Shaw at Vibra-Train he will help you understand the variances in amplitude with active load (person) compared with gym weights.

    • Hi Di,

      I’m in the UK I have found an email address for Lloyd Shaw, how do you know him? Maybe I could send my results over to him or just ask for his thoughts?

    • Di,

      I’m in the UK, and I can see Lloyd Shaw has commented above but I’m not sure if the comment was aimed at my post?

      Lloyd,

      I’m not I’m not ‘dealing’ with them as such just carrying my own research project out on a platform which happens to be a powerplate as it’s the only device I had access to.

      Murray,

      I have been reading your article about mass of the platform under the myths tab and find it most interesting that you mention:

      “Now you take a unit like Power Plate, who appear to have the same specs as others, and you test a unit like we did. We measured just 11g’s and that was unloaded. The reason? Around 2mm maximum displacement, whilst a machine like VibroGym will be closer to 4mm….

      In my opinion, the most important spec to scrutinise on a lineal machine is displacement….”

      Why is it you believe this? And would you expect different amplitudes to be produced by the plate when different types of masses are loaded onto the platform?

      The theoretical underpinning you cite by O’brian is also interesting….

      “if the motor cannot be programmed to modify its force as such, the existing force must now vibrate the platform plus a user, leading to a decrease in acceleration and thus in frequency/amplitude. As the platform mass increases, the percentage mass of the system contributed by the user decreases, bringing the actual acceleration closer to that needed for the intended vibration, meaning that more massive platforms are affected less by the user.”

      Did you find this information from a journal article? Or can you suggest articles which present similar suggestions?

      I would like to find out more that’s all

      Thanks all

  22. Murray Seaton says:

    Helen,

    If you take another look at that link to Gabriel’s article showing typical lineal and pivotal construction, you’ll note that a lineal platform is indirectly driven by the motor, rather than a pivotal which is directly driven. The only load on the motor of a lineal machine are the counterweights attached to it. Frequency is determined by how fast the motor spins, amplitude is determined by how far the counterweights are thrown (vs resistances such as user load). It is much more of an engineering challenge as to what happens with those counterweights VS how fast the motor spins. For example, a machine we recently tested was a vibeplate platform
    http://www.vibeplate.com/vibration-platforms/vibeplate-2440
    It’s basically just a free standing platform with a motor attached to the bottom of it.

    It produced a max vertical amplitude of just 0.5mm @ 45Hz under loaded conditions. The frequency could be reduced down to 20Hz via a simple voltage control to the motor. Adjusting the voltage to a motor is no great engineering feat. Getting this machine to produce a significantly larger amplitude would take a complete redesign of the machine, including motors and counterweights.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Regarding the quote from O’Brien, he’s a theoretical physicist based in The Netherlands who has done the odd job for me in the past. The quote you refer to is simply part of the work he did for me on that article. I have plenty of his work in email format. If you want to take a look at it, or any of my other data just email me murray at hypervibe dot com dot au
    I’d be pretty interested to see what you’ve done too.

    It’s worth noting that as far as I know Lloyd disagrees with my platform mass article and O’Brien, and Lloyd has far more experience with lineal machines than I do. I’m heading over to see Lloyd later this month to investigate further.

  23. Helen …

    Yes contact me. I will help explain certain aspects that may help you get a clearer picture.

    By dealing with Power Plate. I meant the machine and the info that may have come with it. They deliberately do not talk about some aspects of lineal platforms, which compromises your critical thinking processes.

  24. The Mercola site has other interesting parts. I have visited a gym that had 4 Power Plates and, only saw them being used once out of 8 visits. Even their instructor failed to inform of any dangers or benefits in use.
    I’ve been looking for about 18 months as to which vibration machine to buy. I’ve tried many machines in various shops and shows, most of which feel very harsh in use. My main reason for a vibration machine is I have poor circulation in my feet & legs. It looks like I’ll get a Bremshey as they feel smooth in use.
    I know nothing about these machines but, I’m going on how it feels to me and not what the salesperson says.

  25. Murray Seaton says:

    Hi Ted,

    Never heard of the Bremshey but found it in the UK via google. A possible reason it might “feel smooth” to you, is because it is so weak, and other units that feel “harsh” are simply forcing you to work harder.

    Looking at the construction of the machine and the retail price, its only likely to produce a very low g output. The manufacturer doesn’t seem to understand what frequency means, and there is no way that unit produces 4mm displacement.
    http://bremshey.com/products/specifications/42/se7/

    If you want to feel a training unit, go and find a VibroGym in the UK, or better yet, try a Vibra-Train over there, then come back and tell us how it compares to the Hershey. Mind you, if your goal is only circulation, that Hershey will probably do the job, but just be aware that cheaper products will do the same job (increase circulation) and it won’t perform as claimed.

  26. Rebecca Johnston says:

    I have long been a fan of Dr. Mercola. However, he recently has endorsed a “tanning bed” with some bogus explanation that it uses UVB rays so it is harmless. As a skin care professional and medical esthetician I find it appalling that Dr. Mercola is endorsing a behavior that is one of the largest contributors to skin cancer and rapid aging. I have written to him and received no response. I find it so sad that he is using his celebrity status to actually endanger the lives of his fans. Money causes even brilliant folks to lose their way …

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