Podcast 345: Whole Body Vibration
Although there is good information here, please note that we no longer sell the Vibration Machine.
How Whole Body Vibration Works
If you read the history page, you know that the technology was originally designed to increase bone density and muscle mass. When you start to use your VibraTrim, you will notice how your body automatically adapts to the vibrations. One of the first results you will have is increased flexibility and range of motion. By standing on the plate, the vibration generates systematic involuntary muscle contraction through out the body not only increases your flexibility but also burns fat by increasing your metabolism while it improves your circulation and provides your cells with ideal oxygen and nutrient delivery to slow the degenerative process.
The VibraTrim unit is designed to create adjustable vibrations from 10-50 Hz by a oscillating vibration. This pivotal system vibrates at the correct speed from a medical and body-toning standpoint. The VibraTrim generates systematic involuntary muscle contraction with less G force than the “piston” type systems, the other style of Whole Body Vibration that is on the market.
SCOTT: Welcome, everybody! This is the Life Enthusiast Podcast, restoring vitality to you and to the planet! I am your co-host Scott Paton, my internet connection is not very good right now, sorry about that, I am in Turkey right now! Joining me, as usual, is Martin Pytela, the health coach at Life Enthusiast. Hi, Martin! How are you doing today?
MARTIN: Hi Scott! I am doing good, thank you! Of course, I am stuck in my home and my office, having to hold the gates here, I wish I could swap with you, you traveler!
SCOTT: So, we are going to be talking about a Whole Body Vibration today, and that is really a fascinating subject. We have talked about rebounders before, all the benefits of bouncing up and down, and now we are going to take one step further with vibration plates. Our guest today is Todd Wickstrom from Vibratrim, and he will help us understand the Whole Body Vibrations, why it is important to be moving our body in different ways. Hi, Todd! How are you doing?
TODD: Thanks so much, Scott, I am doing good! It is good to be here. Like Martin, I am also a little jealous, I would like to be in Turkey now too!
SCOTT: Okay! So the first question is: What is Whole Body Vibration?
TODD: That is a really good question. It is actually a technology that has been around for a long time. Even way back in ancient times, they used some type of vibration to create some sort of biological or physiological response. Kellogg, the guy who made the cornflakes, had a chair that vibrated, that he believed was going to help people with their mental issues. The Russians should get a lot of credit for using it as a legitimate science for astronauts, so when they went out to space, they wouldn’t end up with muscles that were sort of like noodles when they came back to Earth. Since the 1960s, this technology has gone through a little bit of a metamorphosis, there are different types of motors that you can use. We have these three platforms we will talk a little bit more about today.
You already mentioned rebounders. The main difference between a rebounder and a Whole Body Vibration platform is that with the rebounder, you get out what you put into it, so if you don’t have the energy or the ability to move, you can’t be bouncing on it. The vibration platform does the movement for you. It is also very difficult to get that whole-body impact with the rebounder. With the vibration platform, you can just stand up and the machine will actually do the work for you. It is a great technology for anybody. Ideal for immobile senior citizens, or even people that have been out of shape for a long time, looking for a gateway to get back into shape. It is also used by a lot of professional sports teams. You can be as gentle with it as you want to, or you can be more extreme.
SCOTT: Yes, when you are jumping up and down on a rebounder, you are sort of stretching out your spine, and you are also compressing it, and that can be an issue for some people with back problems, right?
TODD: Yes. The machines that we use have two different motors. There is an oscillation motor, that is going up and down like a seesaw. Imagine that your hips are going up and down, you bend your knees, and your muscles are expanding and contracting at the same rate as the machine is going up and down. It is very good for muscle toning without putting an impact on your spine or joints. For people that have bad backs, this is a great way to get that sort of movement or exercise that they can’t do otherwise. The second motor is attached to the center of the platform, and that is creating a spiral vibration. Imagine if you put a stick in a glass of water and start stirring it in circles, eventually create this spiral motion in the liquid. It is more like a massage, as opposed to the oscillation. It is like a mini exercise, very good for increasing bone density, for working your muscles without putting extra wear and tear on the spine.
MARTIN: Yes, I see it as a great alternative to walking on an uneven surface. You know, walking on a city sidewalk is nice, but it doesn’t really do much for the core muscles, whereas an uneven surface puts more effort on the core muscles around the spine that hold us together.
TODD: Yes, absolutely! Your core just starts to get more engaged, it is very good for balance, for all of those proprioceptors, all the connective tissue, all the muscles that you normally don’t engage, it is increasing the circulation and helping to bring fresh oxygenated blood back to the cells. It is a really great way to get some exercise, especially if somebody has been sedentary for a long time, or if someone can’t really go for a walk for some reason, it is a very convenient exercise for muscle tone and balance.
MARTIN: I think it is also really useful for people who are in a rush, people who don’t have a lot of time to invest in their exercise, right? If you need an hour of walking a day to keep your lymphatic system going, you can probably get that movement in faster with the vibration machine, right?
TODD: Yes, and you can be multitasking while getting your exercise. Usually, what I do first thing in the morning before I make a cup of coffee after I wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, and make my bed, I just stand on the platform for 10 minutes while doing something else, usually checking my email, looking what’s happening on Facebook, respond to voicemails, stuff like that. I usually start the morning on the platform, and I use it multiple times a day, not even thinking about it, it just became a habit, a part of my routine. I am using both motors, so all the muscles are engaging, it is a very convenient way to get the same sort of exercise. Without the machine, to get the same amount of exercise, I would have to spend two hours a day working out at the gym.
MARTIN: Awesome! So, tell us more about the vibration platforms you offer.
TODD: Okay! I will start with this small one, this is our baby. This is called the VTMini. It took us a while to figure out how to get both motors into a small, compact machine like this. Some people like to have a bigger machine at home, but they like to have another one for the office, for traveling, or for kids. It is a very lightweight and portable machine, but still really powerful. This is the one I use every morning, I just stand on it for 10 minutes and I feel so energized after those 10 minutes. If you are into Chinese medicine, you might have heard about chi. The way I like to describe it is that when you are sleeping, all the chi in your body, the energy, becomes very quiet, sedated, very serene, this cold blue, almost white. And then when I stand on this platform, it is almost as if somebody is holding onto my ankles and shaking me so that all of my meridians start to glow orange, and all that chi starts flowing through the whole body. It is a great way to get energized. And then, I drink a big glass of water, I usually add some apple cider vinegar to my water.
This machine is also very quiet. Vibration platforms are very effective for lymphatic drainage, because as you know, your lymphatic system is working in the exact opposite direction of your circuit, and it doesn’t have a pump, unlike your blood, which is pumped by the heart. Using these vibrations, you are sort of massaging or milking it, I always imagined it is kinda like milking the cow. It is very effective. One of the side effects, if there is a downside to Whole Body Vibration, if you overdo it, you can stimulate a release of toxins, so we really encourage people to start slow. But back to the mini platform! It is portable, it is lightweight, but it is super powerful. It is around 45 pounds, very easy to pick up and move around, it is the size of a medium-sized suitcase.
MARTIN: So even an older, not so strong person can probably wrestle it around.
TODD: Yes, absolutely. The other thing that people like about this mini machine is that there is zero assembly required. You take it out of the box, plug it in, and you can start using it right away. You can also attach straps you can hold onto, to get some upper body exercise as well.
MARTIN: That is great, because not only do you build your core strengths, you can actually build your arms, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, deltoids, all the upper body muscles!
TODD: Yes! Bruce Lee said he never lifted a weight in his life, it was all static contractions, and if you look at Bruce Lee, he was ripped. We created a bunch of workouts for people with osteoporosis, for example, where you hold the straps, so as the whole body is vibrating, those upper body muscles are working at the same time that your legs are getting a big workout. These straps can be used for any machine we offer. So, this was the mini, this was the baby, and if this one is the baby, this next one is like a mamma bear. This is for people that are looking for a machine for home use, they want to have some sort of handles, and they want to have a bigger platform. It is very easy to put together. One of the big differences between these two is the size of the platform, you have more surface area with the bigger machine, and it also has a bigger weight capacity. So these small machines will hold up to a 300-pound person with no problem, the bigger one will hold up to about 350 pounds. And then the big one, the VT500, is really designed for more commercial applications, professional sports teams, fitness centers, or really big people that are looking for more sort of extreme workout. The technology is the same in all of them, using two motors. This just has a bigger platform with bigger motors.
MARTIN: This larger unit is probably big enough that you could put a chair on it and sit a person down on it, right?
TODD: Yes, you can put a chair or a cushion on it. Also, you can run both of the motors together, that is a great way to increase circulation and at the same time you are getting a workout for your muscles, but you can also shut off that oscillation. You can keep only the spiral-like vibrations on, put on a meditation cushion or just a regular one, just sit on it and get a really nice massage for your lower back, hips, and shoulders. It is a great option for lower back pain. We know physicians who are using the spiral motor, one in particular in Washington state was doing a lot of work with diabetics with neuropathy, he would literally take the wheelchair and pull the wheelchair up to the machine, put their feet on the platform, turn on the spiral motor to increase the circulation, to get the blood moving, and he had some really amazing results with it.
MARTIN: Yes, I could just visualize myself laying down on the carpet and putting just my feet on the platform, and letting it rock, that would probably do wonders for the lower back and for circulation.
TODD: Yes, absolutely! We have a wall poster that comes with 20 different exercises that you can do, and how to target all the different muscle groups, so if you want to focus on your quadriceps, or your hamstrings, or your core, your abs, you can play with it. As I mentioned before, I just stand on this for 10 minutes every morning, or I stand on it for eight minutes, and then the last two minutes get off of it, put just my feet on the platform and hold a plank position, and that really works my upper body and chest at the same time. But you can target all of the different muscle groups. There are just a few examples on the poster, but it is really only limited by your imagination.
MARTIN: Cool, do you have this poster available in an electronic format that people could download?
TODD: Yes, we have a DVD with these exercises, and we also have YouTube videos! We also provide individual coaching, because everybody is different, people have different health issues, different goals. My belief is that our relationship with our customers starts at the time of the transaction, it does not end with the transaction. We really want to build those relationships long term. My goal isn’t just to sell machines to expensive fitness centers all around the country. We are seeing thousands of our customers across the country with achievements like increased bone density, significant weight loss, coping with Parkinson’s, you name it.
MARTIN: So how long have you guys been in business?
TODD: My dad started Vibratrim 12 years ago. He was on his way to have a knee and a hip replacement. So he went out to see what the different options were at the time. And at that point, there were vibration machines on the market for $20,000, which was out of his price range. And then there were these $ 300 sorts of easy bake oven versions that broke as soon as you took it out of the box, and the manufacturer was out of business before you could get a hold of them. So he worked on trying to create an affordable option with some better components so that people could get better access to this technology.
We offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, so you have three months to make sure that it is a good decision for people. It is sort of a golden rule for us. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If I was going to spend that much money, I would want to make sure that I was making a really good decision. We also offer a three year warranty, so for three years if anything happens to it, we replace the machine. We believe in our product, it is not just like a gimmicky marketing trick, but it is really the quality of the components in there that allows us to do it.
TODD: We refurbish used machines if they ever come back to us, but they don’t stay very long, they sell pretty fast. Just like Steve Jobs used to say: “I want a computer in every home,” my vision is that there should be a vibration platform in every home or office. It is just such a great way to take care of your own health in a very convenient, efficient time period. I don’t care if people buy the machines from us, I mean, that would be great if they did, but I just really want to focus on helping people and highlight the great research that is being done. There are peer-reviewed clinical research studies with large groups of people for long periods of time. We can get this into schools! If you think about the obesity and diabetes rampage if we get these kids to be able to stand on the platform for 10 minutes when they get to school, and another 10 minutes before they go home, at the end of the day, it might change their whole life. When we do get some machines back, we try to donate them and get them back out into the community.
MARTIN: So where do you actually assemble these?
TODD: Well, basically every Whole Body Vibration machine on the market is either made in China or Korea, and ours are no exception. Our warehouse is in Milwaukee. When my father started the company, it was in Seattle, but we relocated to Milwaukee, we do all the work here, we have our shop here, we do all the repairs, all the maintenance, right here.
SCOTT: As I was listening to you, I was thinking: wow, this would be really something that could help professional sports teams, you should get this out into maybe the baseball or the basketball or even the football teams!
TODD: That is a great point, Scott! I’ve been working with a lot of professional sports teams. I just did a conference for a few days with a chiropractor for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A lot of the teams use a Whole Body Vibration machine, the big ones with a big platform, but most of them are just collecting dust because nobody has ever shown them what to do with them. One of the big exceptions to that are the Seattle Seahawks, they actually have an entire room dedicated to Whole Body Vibration, they don’t use our machines, but they have an entire platform that the bench press is on, so when they are doing the bench press, that entire platform is vibrating. There is a lot of research that has been done around using vibration machines along with free weights, and the studies show that it increases the effectiveness of that weight training by 40-45%. We want to start working more and more with those professional teams to show them what to do. A lot of professional athletes that know about it really enjoy using it before the workout, just to get their body sort of loosened up, but then they also like to use them after a big workout or after a game, because it is a great way to relax and massage the muscles.
MARTIN: I am particularly excited about people being able to get their hands on this technology, because of all the health benefits. So many people need help because they are less mobile or less than perfectly mobile. They just can’t do the amount of walking that their body needs, so they just need the assistance from the equipment, and I am thrilled to have access to that here!
TODD: If you are living a sedentary life, like most of us, it is very difficult for the body. Back in the day, we had to be very physically fit and very physically active to be able to survive, because we had to go hunt our own food, we had to plant and harvest our food. But as we have gotten more and more urban in our lifestyles, more and more sedentary, we now spend six to eight hours a day sitting behind the desk, staring at a computer screen. And then we usually go home, sit on the couch or chair, and watch another screen for another three or four hours. Our body is not getting the movement it needs. We just talked about the lymphatic system, your body needs to move just to be able to get the toxins out. It is a very vicious cycle, once you get that part out of shape, it is very difficult to start getting back to shape. And what I love about vibration is that it is a very easy way to start to take responsibility for your health in a very easy way.
Not that it is all about trying to make things be easy and fast, but it is a great way to start getting the exercise and get your body to do the work. You need to start somewhere. 20-30 minutes a day on this doesn’t seem like much. People who try this for the first time get a big grin on their faces and they smile, because it sort of shocks them, they are not quite prepared for how powerful it is. The next thing that happens when they get off of the machine, they are surprised by how much energy they have. And that is why I think about this as a gateway drug, a gateway to fitness. Because as your body starts to get better, you want to feel even better, you want to eat better, you want to take better supplements, you want to drink more water, you start parking further away from the door at the grocery store. This is a great way for those people who have been out of shape for a long time. We are only getting one body in this life, so we have to take care of it. The only thing that you are going to have until you die is this one body.
MARTIN: I totally agree! So help me choose between the three options if I decide: Okay, I want to jump in, how do I decide which machine I pick and why?
TODD: Well, I guess the first thing from a very practical standpoint would be: how much space do you have? Do you have a big house? If you are in a teeny-tiny apartment in Manhattan, this big VT500 could probably take up half of your kitchen. The other consideration is the number of people that will be using it, and then the size of those people. So, I would say the majority of people are looking for something that they are going to use alone or with a partner. Two people between 115-250 pounds would be completely fine with the mini, or even the VT400. A lot of people like to have the handles because it gives them something to hold on to. Also, a bigger platform gives you a much better workout with more options. For most people, the VT500 is overkill, it is too powerful for a lot of people, it is better for commercial use or professionals. The VT400 is really good, universal in its application, you can start very slowly, it does have a heart rate monitor, it has been around for probably about eight years, it is probably the most dependable one. We very rarely have anything happening with either one of them. But if you have limited space and you don’t need a handle, then the mini is a great option.
MARTIN: Got it, thank you! I actually have run out of questions! Scott, do you have any?
SCOTT: No, I think you handled pretty much all of them! I am fascinated by all the health benefits, it is really quite exciting!
TODD: Guys, thank you so much for having me on the show, it is a privilege! I encourage you guys to keep doing what you are doing at Life Enthusiast! All the products that you bring to the market are very exciting, and I am looking forward to collaborating with you guys!
MARTIN: Thank you, likewise, we are really pleased to have you!
TODD: Fantastic, thanks so much, I appreciate it!
MARTIN: All right! Thank you, everybody, for joining us! If you want to learn more about the Whole Body Vibration machines, visit Life Enthusiast, check out our store, read our blog, subscribe to the newsletter! You can call me at (866) 543 3388 if you have any questions!
SCOTT: Thanks for joining us, everybody! This is the Life Enthusiast Podcast, we are restoring vitality to you and the planet! See you next time!
Note: the information provided are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your medical professional(s) if you are dealing with a specific medical issue.