November 1, 2014

Scare Tactics: Preying on the Inexperienced Consumer

As someone who uses Vibration Training technology in both a Physiotherapy clinic with patients and a Vibration Training studio with fitness/wellness clients, I have a preference for Pivotal technology. The reasons for this are the subject of an entirely different article and let me make it clear that it is not my intention with this article to engage in a lineal vs pivotal debate. In fact, I believe that they both have a solid role to play in the growth of the industry.

What I hope to do here is address the rising number of scare tactics being used to dissuade individuals from purchasing a pivotal vibration platform. Often just desperate attempts by shady salesman to deceive inexperienced and often desperate individuals, it has become equally amusing and concerning to observe the increasing lengths these people are going to in order to make a sale.

Let’s look at the most common scare tactics and discuss why they are not only nonsensical, but just serve to emphasize the fact that these people know very little about both the human body and their own product.

Claim #1 – “Pivotal motion causes dangerous shearing forces on the joints!”

First off, have a look at the human skeleton (http://www.chiff.com/health/skeleton.htm). Notice the way the femur (upper leg bone) angles inward as it goes from the pelvis to the knee. Notice the way the upper end of the femur bone (the head and neck) angles at almost 45 degrees as it enters the pelvis socket? Look at the subtle angles of both the lower leg bone (tibia) and the ankle bone (talus). Does anything look absolutely vertical to you? If your response is no then you can understand that a small amount of horizontal shearing is an absolutely normal part of human motion.

It is only when these shearing forces become excessive, either in their force or degree of movement (often linked together) that they become dangerous. Up until that point one could argue that they may actually be beneficial for the health of the joints as they provide mechanical stimulation to the cartilage and ligaments as well as assistance in helping pump the vital fluid (synovial) that helps nourish and lubricate the joints.

While a pivotal platform does move like a teeter totter and creates a combination of horizontal and vertical forces on the body, there is only a minimal amount of motion that occurs horizontally. This therefore makes the horizontal impact of a pivotal platform no more dangerous than that of walking. Imagine being told that walking is dangerous? About as ridiculous as this claim!

Claim #2 – “High acceleration levels are dangerous!”

This one certainly sounds scary and if we were made of solid wood, it would be true. However, we are not made of wood, but rather an incredibly complex matrix of connective tissue supported by a skeletal frame. For this reason, the forces related to higher platform acceleration levels are absorbed throughout our body in an extremely safe manner.

Need more convincing? Look at the research. In the past 15+ years, the majority of research (especially those studies dealing with children, seniors, spinal cord injury and other severely impaired individuals) has been done with the Galileo platform; one of the highest acceleration platforms on the market. If it was shattering bones, we’d know about it! In fact, the irony of all this is that this platform was actually built for the purpose of increasing bone density.

This claim is nothing more than an effort by salesmen to steer the consumer away from seeing the inferiority of the product they are selling as well as it’s inability to perform at the level of the researched platforms.

Claim #3 – “Pivotal platforms are for therapeutic purposes only”

While the therapeutic applications of pivotal, in my opinion, do outweigh those of lineal, the majority of research on the influence of WBV on muscle force and muscle power (true determinants of sports performance, fitness, and athleticism) was done using the Galileo, a pivotal platform. In fact, some of these studies are the most highly advertised on both pivotal and lineal manufacturer’s website.

While lineal platforms have also been shown to create “training” effects, it is time to put this fictitious differentiation to rest.

Claim #4 – “Lineal is better for moving lymph. You cannot use Pivotal for this!”

This is a recent addition to the collection and, once again, not only has no evidence to support it, but doesn’t even make sense. The lymphatic system is a series of vessels that have one-way valves. As our muscles contract and relax when we move, the lymphatic fluid moves through these vessels. So in order to move lymph, we require muscle contraction. Any proper platform, when used correctly will result in muscle contractions throughout the upper and lower body. Therefore, this effect can theoretically be achieved with both pivotal and lineal systems. Having that been said, if you really want to get specific, from a theoretical standpoint, because pivotal mimics normal human movement (reciprocating motion), it MAY be more influential on normal lymphatic movement. That is not supported by research however so it is just food for thought.

Claim #5 – “Higher frequencies are better! It means more muscle contractions!”

Another seemingly obvious statement. Makes total sense right? If I can contract 45x per minute rather than 25x, that means 120 more muscle contractions per minute. The pounds will melt away!

Let’s hold on a second though and try to understand what we CURRENTLY know about the nervous system better. The unique mechanisms by which vibration training works involves the “stretch reflex”. This involuntary, reflexive mechanism by which the platform rapidly stretches and contracts our muscles (the same as when the doctor hits your knee with a hammer), has been shown to take 40-50 milliseconds to occur.

If this is correct, the reflex may only be able to “keep up” with a platform moving 20-25 hz. Anything after that may be “extra” and not create any additional muscle activity at all. I will admit that I think this is a bit of a generalization, but where is the evidence that muscles can respond reflexively up to 45Hz?

Until we can show this clinically, we cannot state that higher frequencies are better.

Claim #6 – “Pivotal platforms emit dangerous electromagnetic fields (EMF’s)!”

While I will admit that I believe that high exposure to EMF’s can cause certain health risks, there just isn’t enough concrete data to tell use how much is too much. Between computers, cell phones, wi-fi, local power lines etc., it is unlikely that brief exposure to the EMF’s created by a vibration platform can cause any additional harm. Outside of that, there is no testing that has been done to date to describe the differences from one platform to another. Unless we have more concrete evidence to support this claim, it just doesn’t carry any weight.

At the end of the day, the health benefits of using a PROPER vibration platform far exceed the health risks of brief exposure to the EMF’s generated by the machine while being used.

Claim #7 – “Low fq’s of pivotal platforms are dangerous for the internal organs!”

In an online search, I came across only a handful of websites describing the frequencies of the internal organs. Needless to say, they were quite inconsistent with a range of anywhere from 4hz to 220hz. Furthermore, they appeared to describe both the frequency of the movement of the organ as well as it proposed vibrational frequency on an atomic scale.

Much like the EMF tactic, I do not believe that there is enough evidence out there to support this claim. Once again, I will also point out that there have yet to be adverse effects reported in any research completed over the past 15 years; especially organ damage!

Don’t believe the hype!

In the coming years, I anticipate more and more scare tactics will be fabricated to deceive the consumer. We will be watching closely. If you should hear anything that just doesn’t sound right, let us know. Until then…don’t believe the hype!

Comments

  1. I think you will find almost all your “myths” have there roots in the mis-use of Pivotal platforms. Not the correct use of them.

    Eg…. The standing Lock Legged position being done at the Higher Fqs. Which should to anyone with any anatomical knowledge, or a set of eyes, would raise concern.

    The Pivotal industry has been its own worst enemy at times. So maybe addressing that would put most of the things you mention into context.

    I made Galileo aware of this issue years ago. After seeing a Galileo being used in such a way, in a Doctors office , as this ( 40 second mark ) …..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFBkP2st_90

    Please note: The machine in the video is probably hitting 10 hz max. The Galileo went 3 times faster with 3 times the acceleration.

    Maybe looking at that, and ANYBODY who has ever promoted that kind of behavior and giving them some stick should be your next article.

  2. Dan Pelletier says:

    Another well thought out article Gabriel.

    The claims you have covered are well chosen. They do indeed come up from time to time as potential consumers wade through the murkiness some of these sales people create.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  3. To address some of the others…

    “Pivotal platforms are for therapeutic purposes only”

    Again if you look at the foundations of the industry. You had a bunch of Physios working for Galileo, actually refusing to discuss setting up “training” programs for the studio concept. If fact they thought the idea of a studio was stupid. I know because I engaged them and got knocked back in regards to developing a standard Pivotal program as a start point for commercial ventures.

    They kept promoting “fluff” poses that had therapy values but little training effects. They certainly did not want to even discuss weight loss programs with me.

    Why did you think it took them years to even get into a studio ( yours Gabriel ) and you had to be a Physio for them to want to talk to you ?

    “Lineal is better for moving lymph. You cannot use Pivotal for this!”

    Zero foundation . Just made up BS. All muscle movement involves lymph .

    “Higher frequencies are better! It means more muscle contractions!”

    The industry is full of stuff like that. Anyone who preaches “more is more” ” Faster , higher = better is guilty of this mindset. Seen it from Power Plate and Galileo to name a few.

    “Pivotal platforms emit dangerous electromagnetic fields (EMF’s)!”

    Technically speaking anything electrical does this. So again quite easy to refute and never heard this as a reason to not do VT in all my years running a studio.

  4. Lloyd,
    To answer your question, your culpret is the self proclaimed expert from lymphacticvibration.com , vibration doctor etc and all the other fake sites he operates. Heres a quote from the lymphatic vibration site.

    “All electrically-powered whole body vibration machines emit a small to moderate quantity of electromagnetic radiation due to Electrical Currents. If one is very ill, this could be a factor in one’s healing so you need to make this a factor. Since most companies will not share the actual number of EMF %, you should know these things:

    Some companies claim to shield their machines, but they cannot get rid of this radiation, as it is a feature of the motor itself that cannot be avoided. It doesn’t matter if the machine is 100 volt or 220 volt, it all depends on what the motors are producing when they are turned on. A few companies now are adding shields to protect people from high EMFs, but shields are over the wires, not the motor, so they still have high EMFs even if they talk about shields. The best motors are built better and don’t have the EMF problem and don’t need “shields” like newer models to cover up the EMF. If it is under 1% EMF, then it is considered to be close to none and .4% is the lowest made so far. Some people are very sensitive to EMF. There are only a few companies that have very little EMF in their machines. If EMF is a concern, let me know on my quiz.

    I urge everyone to get an EMF blocker and also an EMF meter. I bring my EMF meter everywhere. I can’t even go to a cafe unless I check all the EMF around me from all the computers, cell phones, or whatever else is around me. I used to sit near this wall and I don’t know what is behind it but the EMF was off the charts. Make sure you know about RF before buying a machine. We have been told that RF could be very dangerous to people with Pace Makers. Some models have AC motors that are from vibrating packaging machines and they turn only to one direction and that’s why they cannot have the high amplitude. Also, AC motors are moistly for industrial and create strong magnetic field around them. We have also been told that this could affect the health of the bones. Is this true or not, it is for you to decide. Research EMF and make your own decision”.

    Its idiots who post this stuff that give the indistry a bad name. He spends lots of money on his adwords to pop-up as one of the top google results for multiple terms. A lot of people still dont understand the differnce between advertiser based results and organic results. They assume his ad is an organic result and read it. Im amazed that they stay on the page since it looks like a 5th grader desingned it. Regardless you will be suprised what consumers believe on websites. He has struck deals with a handful of manufacturers to dropship units to his customers once he sells them over the phone.. Som of the products on the site are quality while others flat out plasticky over priced crap. He creates these must have comments about what to look for in machines but then sells machines that don’t even meet his own criteria. Now you know where the whole EMF thing is from.

  5. My wife is a massage therapist and has fallen in love with GoGa studio in her shopping center. Loves the 10 to 20 minutes a day she spends there and thinks it could be benificial to some of her clients. She always defers to me to help her find the best product for the best price. She doesn’t want to spend more than 2K on a machine. Frankly I’ve learned a lot from browsing all the sites and find a lot of hype and confusing information.
    DC vs AC , made in China? not made in China. Horse power/ Wats/ Amps/ Two motors vs. one / Warranties/ free shipping/ Health claims/ warnings/ Critics of and proponants for WBV training.
    Criticism of companies I can find no BBB complaints against or customer complaints (Loyd)

    So, What’s the real deal here? Even seems like sites that claim to evaluate FBV machines seem to promote a particular brand that I later find less than stellar reviews on by someone else.
    Is there no unbiased fair evaluation out there? I’m about to the point I don’t believe any of the Bull Crap I read.

    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your comment and glad your wife is finding value in the local vibration studio. I understand your frustration. It has taken me over 5 years now to weed through the incredibly large amount of BS that exists around this industry. Read through this article (if you haven’t already). It represents our efforts to clarify the industry and gives a list of the only machines we approve of. These machine have been shown to yield a medium to high acceleration output and have been verified via engineering tests. You can safely assume that if used correctly, these machine will deliver.

      http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2011/06/how-to-properly-select-a-platform-part-i/
      http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2011/08/how-to-properly-select-a-platform-part-ii/

      The only down side however, is that none are available fir 2k or below. This price range will buy you comparable machines to those at goga. Good for circulation, balance, and massage, but unlikely to yield any major body composition or muscular benefits.

  6. Chamaigne says:

    I’m not quite convinced that the higher vibrations aren’t dangerous, because of articles on government sites like this one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17909407

    It’s summary states that “ISO standards indicate that 10 min.d(-1) WBVT is potentially harmful to the human body”

    They were using 30 Hz frequency and 4mm amplitude.

    Unfortunately, the ISO standards document about safe levels of whole body vibration cost $150 to download!

    Do you have the document? What does it say about safe levels of vibration? It seems that everyone quotes it to support both sides.

    Can you say more about why WBV isn’t excessively jarring to the organs and eyes?

    Thanks.

Speak Your Mind

*