Whole Body Vibration (WBV) For Energy, Fat Loss, and Longevity with Dr. Jason Conviser

Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Jason Conviser

In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Jason Conviser – who is one of the leading experts in fitness assessment and exercise prescription for special needs populations. He’s best known for his work with patients dealing with metabolic syndrome, obesity, and providing exercise strategies for those who have “given up”. We will talk about Whole Body Vibration (WBV) and how it can improve your health and lifespan.

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Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Conviser and I discuss:

  • How vibration training can extend your longevity by protecting you from a leading contributor to early death (and why you should consider using it if you’re over 60)
  • How vibration training can help athletes or weekend warriors improve all 3 phases of physical training (Prepare, Perform, Recover!) and why everyone should think of themselves as an athlete to get the best out of themselves.
  • Exactly why a warm-up for exercise cannot be optional and why a vibration platform gets you ready to perform faster.
  • How vibration pushes your muscles harder, recruits more muscle fibers, challenges your balance more, and burns additional more calories 
  • How inefficient movement can be a positive thing when using resistance to build strength, balance, muscle and fitness
  • How this technology can make you more resistant to falls, especially those with MS, Parkinson’s other brain-related disease, and why avoiding falls may be the most essential thing many of us can do to extend our lives.
  • Which medical issues can be improved with vibration training (e.g. feet-swelling, peripheral neuropathy, low-back pain, circulation issues and more). Which medical issues are aggravated by vibration training and should be avoided.
  • Purchasing your own platform (what’s the minimum quality machine you should be looking for?)

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Ari: Hey, there. This is Ari. Welcome back to The Energy Blueprint podcast. I am very excited for today’s guest. His name is Dr. Jason Conviser, he’s a leading expert in metabolic assessment and exercise prescription for the special needs population. He’s a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a fellow of the Medical Fitness Association. He’s one of the leading experts in fitness assessment and exercise prescription for special needs populations. He’s best known for his work with patients dealing with metabolic syndrome, obesity, and providing exercise strategies for those who have “given up”.

He’s the author of eight books and invited speaker to 38 international conferences. He was a past consultant and exercise physiologist to the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. One of his research interests includes non-pharmacological strategies to reverse osteoporosis through osteogenic loading. We are going to talk about that in layman’s terms if you didn’t understand that. He’s conducted research and provided expertise to other researchers with a new technology called bioDensity, which involves imposing specific course on the bone safely resulting in bone reformation.

In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking all about whole body vibration, which is a fascinating technology that has a number of really wonderful benefits. Welcome to the show, Dr. Conviser, such a pleasure to have you.

Dr. Conviser: It’s a pleasure, thanks for inviting me.

What is Whole Body Vibration (WBV)?

Ari: First of all, what is whole body vibration? Let’s pretend there’s a large segment and there may very well be people who have no idea what whole body vibration is, never seen or tried one of these devices so tell us what it is, first of all.

Dr. Conviser: Imagine a platform that can move up-down, side to side, and forward and back. That movement at a very specific pattern creates an environment where the muscle is forced to contract in order to become stable as well as eliminating the head, a cognitive approach to having a muscle contract. We can actually have the muscles contract more efficiently with vibration when they’re stimulated to fire. You could experience this when you’re driving a car and you run over some speed bumps, there would be vibration to your body. This vibration is much more subtle and much more even so that the muscles contract but it’s a very comfortable setting.

Ari: What is this going to do for us? We’re interested in, “Okay, so this is going to vibrate me but what benefits would this have, let’s say, in contrast to muscles contracting with physical activity just normal exercise routines?”

Dr. Conviser: I try to break everything down into three segments to prepare for activity, which includes warming up, making sure that you’re training and training well to actually perform exercise whether it’s a high jump, or walking a mile, or climbing a flight of stairs, whatever is fitness and strength and exercise for you and then recovery. After you’ve done that activity, how do you bring the body back to a more basic calm level so you can go about doing your daily activities? Everyone from the Olympic athletes who are going to be in Beijing in a few months to compete at the Olympics.

Prepare, perform, recovers. The 95 or 100-year-old person who wants to be the best athlete that they can be at this time of their life, they need to prepare, perform, and recover as well. I see no difference except the score on the scoreboard. I consider them both athletes. With vibration, we can allow them to warm up and prepare them to perform at their highest level. We can help them perform at their highest level. Then when they’re done, help them recover as quickly and safely as possible.

Ari: I want to come back to the three phases of exercise and preparing for it and recovering from it in a second, but I want to dive into why you see these people as athletes? You mentioned it to me prior to starting this podcast recording, it seems to be a big focus of yours, why is that? Why is it useful for you, or for the person you’re working with, to conceptualize them as athletes?

Dr. Conviser: I think there’s a couple different ways of coming at this. All the clinics that I own, people come to me and they’ve given up. They’ve given up because people said you can’t do it. Their backs hurt, they’re tired in the afternoon, they have given every reason why you can’t do it. They don’t have the right nutrition, they don’t sleep well, they may have different diseases going on, and it’s easier for clinicians, the good and the bad clinicians to say, “Why don’t we just stop? Why don’t we–? You don’t need to exercise, you don’t need to do and fill in the blank.”

On the other hand in my clinic, I go, “Everyone has to do, everyone exercises. I want you to have the very best workout the day that it’s decided that you’re going to pass away that you started with a good workout.” Everyone can move and move more effectively. My clients don’t talk about how long am I going to live, they talk about what’s the quality of life that they’re going to have while they’re living. The energy that’s required to pick up your grandkids, the energy that’s required to get on a plane and fly for 12 hours to another country so that you can experience something else.

Those are athletic events for are those whose bodies have failed them or they haven’t taken care of them very well for many years. Everyone can train, everyone can do better. The whole body vibration is one tool that you have in your toolkit that allows you to exercise and become efficient at what you want to do.

Ari: Got it. Let’s delve into these three phases of activity. We’re conceptualizing ourselves as athletes, we have this preparatory phase, we have the activity, and we have the recovery. How does whole body vibration fit into that picture and what benefits will people get from it?

Dr. Conviser: I’m going to use an analogy. I just talked a couple of weeks ago at a junior high school. I said, “What happens when we warm up?” If you went to your kitchen and took out a box of spaghetti and you pulled the spaghetti out, you held all that spaghetti together in one bundle and you tried to bend it, it would break because it’s brittle. It’s solid so that if you have to put tension on it, it does not give very much. If you put warm water over it, it becomes loose and pliable.

One of the ways that we warm-up is we take those brittle muscles that look identical to what that spaghetti looks like each of those pieces spaghetti and we shunt warm blood around those muscles and the muscles become loose and pliable. When they become loose and pliable, blood carries oxygen, oxygen is the gasoline for muscle contraction so we are preparing the muscles to perform. Part two, muscles behave in a very similar way to a rubber band. If I take a rubber band and I pull it apart, it has potential energy before I let go and it snaps.

If I take that rubber band and I stretch it a little bit further, it still has this potential energy, but then it creates more force. In the same way if we can be more flexible, we can take the muscles that may be limited to this level. Now at this level, they have more capacity to do work. Third part, it’s not just whether the muscle could contract or not, you also have to be concerned about balance, you have to be concerned about the sequencing of firing, you have to prepare the body to move and move effectively. That’s part of what warm-up is all about.

With whole body vibration, you don’t do anything that can’t be done without whole body vibration, but it takes a whole lot longer to get there. We use it because our 95-year-old clients, a couple of our Olympic athletes, everyone has to prepare the body in order to perform. That’s a basic summary but you can’t just turn the engine on and say we’re going to go full speed, you have to warm up, vibration allows that to happen.

Ari: Is the primary benefit of this technology simply that, let’s say, one could warm up normally for exercise in 5 or 10 minutes and this takes it down to 2 to 3 minutes or are there benefits beyond that? I know that there’s been a number of studies that have examined whole-body vibration in terms of fat loss. I believe there might be at least a few that have looked at effects on muscle gain.

There’s in the context of, you mentioned balanced, rehab, and recovery, treating pain, maybe retraining the brain as far as after injuries or after strokes and amplifying appropriate section with the body. Give me the rundown of beyond just warming up faster, what other benefits does this technology have?

Dr. Conviser: If you could think of something that includes exercise, you can do that with whole body vibration. For example, every person has muscles that attach to tendons, and tendons that attach the bone. Muscles do not out attached to bone, tendons do. Everything that happens with the bodies we’re pulling on the tendon and that tendon is pulling on the bone. That’s part of what exercise is. Now, imagine if I cut the head off, just hypothetically, I cut the head off, we can still vibrate the muscle and the tendon so that it contracts with whole body vibration.

We usually set a whole body vibration unit somewhere between 30 and 50 hertz. 30 and 50 hertz means 30 muscle contractions, a second up to 50 contractions per second. Instead of doing smaller contractions per second, which there’s nothing wrong with it, vibration allows us to get a much more efficient contraction of the muscle. The second is that there’s something called the all-or-none law. If you’re going to be lifting a bottle of water, I’m only going to use enough muscle to move that bottle of water up and down. I don’t do less and I don’t do more.

With vibration, all the muscles are stimulated. There is no just this small group of muscles. I’m stimulating a much larger group of muscles. I’m more efficient at training the muscles. I get more bang for my invested time buck. Sometimes I ask the clients, “Just do one pushup on the ground.” Then they can usually do one pushup, whether they’re on their knees or whether they’re balancing their whole body on their toes and hands. Then I go, “Let’s do one pushup with your hands on a vibration unit.” Remember every time I change the joint angle, that muscle group is firing 30 to 50 times a second.

Therefore, when I do one pushup with vibration, I’m actually getting more value for my time. I’m getting more intensity of the muscle contraction movement. Well, “Do I need that? Is that important?” Well, most of the time, the people that I work with, they go, “I don’t want to lose balance. I don’t want to fall.” I can put them in an environment, where it’s vibrating and the muscles have to work to keep them in balance. I can put them in an environment that when they lose balance, their body literally learns how to regain that balance.

I can put them in a situation, where if they’re going to be with weight lifting, they can be more efficient at burning stored fat because the vibration is creating a larger caloric burn or larger caloric expenditure that individuals want when they’re burning calories with exercise. It does nothing that the traditional exercise equipment in a facility or your home can do, but it does it more efficiently and it allows you to do it safely. Those are pretty big things.

How WBV affects the body

Ari: Absolutely. I want to come back to this muscle activation thing. You gave the example of lifting a water bottle. Feel free to correct me as I explain this, but if I can explain it to the listener a little bit differently. Our body uses the least amount of motor units of muscle fibers to perform a task necessary to get that job done. In other words, let’ say, we have a total pool of 1,000, let’s just call them muscle fibers, in order to do a bicep curl, in order to lift a very light object like that, little water bottle, we might recruit only, let’s say 50 or 100 of that total pool of 1,000.

Now, correct me if I misunderstood something, but when you said about whole body vibration is that it sounds like it’s activating all of the motor units, all of the muscle fibers, is that accurate or not?

Dr. Conviser: Yes, it is accurate. You might say, “Well, isn’t that inefficient that we’re using all those muscles to lift a water bottle?” That’s true. Most of my clients have an issue of time efficiency and safety. They’re going, “I don’t have a lot of time to do the exercise that you want me to do. I could weight train with this water bottle, but I may have to life it 50, 100, 200 times.”

Maybe I can do it with a shorter amount of time allowing vibration to create more muscle contraction so I am exercising more tissue, and then I might even be able to use a different weight or different implement to do that particular exercise. The one thing it doesn’t do, it doesn’t make me a better tennis player. I still have to go out and play tennis. It doesn’t make me a better swimmer.

I still have to learn how to swim, but what it does is it creates the environment of this muscle machine that allows that muscle machine to go out and contract and do what it’s supposed to do when it is doing those particular activities.

Ari: You reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a friend of mine, Ben Pakulski, who is a former IFBB pro bodybuilder. He was visiting down in Costa Rica recently and he was staying in my guest house. We did a few workouts together and he was teaching me how he works out. I’ve been studying exercise science since I was 12 years old for 25 years now. It’s not often that I meet someone who I’m really a student with, who is so developed and experienced and knowledgeable in that realm that I just go into full student mode and say, “Teach me everything you know.”

Dr. Conviser: Show me.

Ari: One of the things we talked about and that he emphasized is this idea around efficiency versus inefficiency. This is a bit counterintuitive because normally when we use those words, efficiency is a good thing. Inefficiency is a bad thing, but in the context of working out, one of the ways that he works out to build muscle and to have profound metabolic effects on his body is, you could phrase it as, to create maximal inefficiency.

Meaning, to use a fairly lightweight below his maximal weight that he would use if he were just going all out and to go slow with the movement, be very controlled, put your awareness internally to really focus on generating maximal contraction in the muscle fibers that you’re trying to target, which is a way more inefficient way of actually performing that task compared to if you had more of an external focus, less on your internal muscles, but more of an external focus on load that’s moving and sort of moving your body in the fastest or most efficient way to accomplish that work.

They’re very different focuses and they have very different effects. That inefficiency is a way to create much more profound metabolic effects and more profound stimulus on the body to get the beneficial adaptations that you’re trying to get. I feel that that connects a lot with what you were talking about.

Dr. Conviser: 100% agree. There’s something that I’m sure that you learned about and it’s mundane almost to our profession. We call it specificity of training. I don’t train like the Chicago Bears football team because what they have to do is different than what I have to do on a daily basis. I don’t do the same thing that a swimmer or a skater or someone who’s just going to the mall with their family and going to walk around and shop, whatever it is, the activity that they’re doing, we train to be good or better at that particular activity. If your issue is not being tired at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, then we train for increased endurance so that you have more capacity at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon to do the things you want to do, as opposed to the ability to push a 300-pound lineman in football. When we go slow, as you just describe, we want to make sure that at every joint angle, we’re tensing the muscles, so they get strong at those particular joint ankles.

That may not be the most efficient thing for a professional athlete who has to hit someone really hard and the play is over in five seconds, specificity of training. What’s good about whole body vibration is that for that guy or gal who wants to have the fast-twitch fiber, and be explosive in a movement, we can use whole body vibration for that. For that individual, I’m not going to be in a stadium competing, but I’m competing in life and I want to move more efficiently and I want to feel better.

I want my feet to feel better. I want my lower back to feel better. I want to be able to lift my hands over my head and grab something off the top shelf in a store. Whatever it is for that individual, that’s how we use vibration, specific to the needs of the individual.

How Whole Body Vibration can affect body composition

Ari: Got it. Now, what about fat loss and muscle gain, and overall body composition change? You can treat those as a single entity or two separate ones but what does the research say as far as fat loss? I definitely haven’t read maybe every study in existence but I’ve seen some research that has shown no benefit in terms of fat loss and I have seen some research that has shown significant benefit in terms of fat loss reduction using whole-body vibration. What’s the big picture of all that body of evidence?

Dr. Conviser: I’m going to take some liberties with your question, please. This is in a research that I’ve been involved in as well as many, many other folks. If you were to do a sit-to-stand movement, by definition, that is exercise and you can do a lot of sit-to-stands and there’s a certain cost for doing that work. If you do a sit-to-stand when you’re on a vibration platform, the caloric expenditure is greater. That literature is absolutely clear but now we’re going to fine-tune that question that most people don’t do sit-to-stands for 30 to 45 minutes.

While if you did do 30 to 45 minutes, you would have a significantly greater caloric burn than just doing sit-to-stand without vibration. I don’t think that’s the question that most of my clients ask. They go, “How do I go exercise so I reduce my risk of injury so I feel better when I’m exercising?” Yes, they get more caloric burn but you don’t usually do vibration for more than 15 minutes in a particular day. It’s a lot. The muscles are firing because you’re firing all the fibers, it can be fatiguing. It’s not something that you would exercise on for an hour. Do some people do that? Of course.

Does the average person who’s listening to your podcast get on a vibration unit exercise on that vibration unit for an hour? God, I hope not. It’s a great tool to prepare the body to go then do exercise, go ride a bike for a 10-kilometer bike ride, or go to the beach and walk along the beach in Costa Rica, or climb a hill. You’re using it as one part of an exercise strategy so you get more bang for your buck. If the simple question is, do you burn more calories when you’re exposed to vibration than when you’re not?

The answer is absolutely yes, but it’s not so many calories that that’s how you plan an entire weight loss program. You prepare the body so that you can go out and do other kinds of exercise that are more efficient over the 30, 45, or 60 minutes, where they are efficient caloric burning activities.

Ari: What about muscle gain, hypertrophy? Is there any useful application as far as that’s concerned?

Dr. Conviser: The same response. The literature is absolutely clear that there’s a hypertrophy of the muscle fiber. We’re not adding more muscle fibers, we’re making each fiber a little bit thicker, a little bit more efficient. Again, if you do vibration for one hour, first of all, I’ve never seen anybody do that for strength training. It would be quite the physical experience but when you’re using vibration, are you overloading the muscle? Absolutely. In the big picture, it’s one part of the total strategy.

If your listeners are saying, “I’m going to throw away all my other things that I have at the house or at the gym and all I’m going to use is whole body vibration.” Not so fast. Please don’t do that because it’s one way of getting the body to be more efficient, and very, very safe at being more efficient. Yes, it burns more calories. Yes, the muscle will demonstrate to be hypertrophy, but it’s not the weight lifting solo answer.

Ari: What about in the context of, and maybe I’ll lump these three together, there’s pain because people suffering from chronic pain, or even acute pain for that matter. A rehab context or physical therapy context, you’re recovering from some physical injury or neurological injury, traumatic brain injury, something like that. Or fall prevention, balance, and fall prevention. What about those three applications? What does the literature tell us?

Dr. Conviser: I’m going to take them in a different order. The fall prevention, take it to the bank and that’s one that we use every day in our clinics because the vibration is putting you in an unbalanced environment, where your muscles have to learn to contract in order to stay in balance. We create an environment that when the time comes to trip over a rock or step in a pothole, or someone bumps you by accident, and your body is off-balance, we want the body to have experienced that so the muscles can contract in a way that hopefully protects you.

Then you can react fast enough to move your foot to catch yourself or the muscles can fire so that you’re not a little bump, and it knocks you over. That literature is solid, but now let’s go a little bit deeper. If you have someone that has MS, or Parkinson’s, or has a brain injury, or has other medical issues, where the body doesn’t respond as quickly or as efficiently. That’s even more incentive to create an environment where you’re with a clinician, create an environment of being off-balance to teach someone how to regain their balance, how to have the feet in a wider stance as comfortable, so you have a bigger base of support.

We put them in a place that when they get tired or when their disease affects their body, and their body can’t react fast enough, we want not to be a first time they’ve ever experienced that but 1,000th time and they usually do much better because, in my situation, falls are the death note of everyone. There is no such thing as a good fall. Falls usually mean breaks or usually means head injuries or usually means contusions of some kind. Falls mean, fill in the blank, something bad, and we don’t want to fall in the first place.

How to prevent falls

Ari: Before we go on, can you emphasize that a bit more because my hunch is that there’s a large segment of people who might not fully understand the importance of this category of fall prevention. They might think fall prevent, who’s worried about that? Why is that even a thing that I should be concerned about? Where does this matter and what demographic and what phase of life and what are the consequences of not doing work to prevent falls?

Dr. Conviser: I’m going to put it in some context. I’ve been doing this work for 45 years. I don’t want my clients to have heart attacks but very few people have unexpected heart attacks. There’s years of poor eating, poor blood pressure control, poor something that may lead to 10, 20, 30, 40 years later of a heart attack. With falls, you could be a healthy athlete, you could be a 67-year-old triathlete. Anybody, a fall happens like this, and the falls create this cascade of things that can be so devastating. Don’t be so concerned about a heart attack. Don’t be so concerned about blood pressure, as much as not even having falls on your radar screen because falls scare the daylights out of me. It’s part of my business, but I also see how it affects the rest of the next six months to a year in terms of rehab or getting back to where they were. Falls are horrible. Not it’s a little problem, it only happens to older people. Forget that. Falls are horrendous. We want to manage or prevent falls as much as possible.

There’s nobody that’s in your– or you’re much younger than me but in our age group that doesn’t have a parent, a family member, somebody that they associate with who’s not afraid of falling. Falls should scare everybody. It’s also a gigantic, non-discriminatory problem. You can be rich, you can be poor, you can be an athlete of highest level, and you can be someone who doesn’t work out at all. Falls can create this cascade of problems. It’s gigantic. Okay, so it’s gigantic, so what are you going to do?

We prepare the body so that it simulates losing your balance, so that when or if that time comes, that there’s just a little bit faster reaction, there’s a way that the body goes, “I’m not feeling good in this position. I better start contracting the muscles to pull myself back.” If you’re not able to pull yourself back, it’s our hope that the exercises that you’ve been doing, hopefully, for a long time, help prevent further injury when you do have impact with the ground. The answer is, if you’re 20 years old, do fall prevention, do balance control.

If you’re 75 years old, do fall prevention and balance control. With whole body vibration, you can create an environment where you can practice actually doing that without the falls.

Ari: Wonderful. I’ve heard a number of horror stories of people in their 70s or 80s, in really good health, being remarkably healthy and vital and energetic and brain function being great, then all of a sudden, they fall, they break their hip and it shatters because they have poor bone density. It’s a mess as far as the surgical repair of it and then they’re in a wheelchair, and then they rapidly decline and die in a very short time period after that, all because of one fall.

Dr. Conviser: I agree with you completely. I want you to know, we also do balance exercises at the end of every workout, not at the beginning. Clients will say, “My balance is so much better when I feel fresh and healthy.” They go, “Yes, but one of the reasons that we fall is that when we’re tired or not paying attention, that’s when we fall.”

Specificity of training, we put them in that uncomfortable but safe position at the end of a workout so they can practice being balanced control when they’re tired so that the situation that happens when they walk out the door of their home or outside your clinic, that if they are tired, their bodies are still going to protect them. That’s an important part.

How to use whole body vibration to recover from an injury

Ari: Excellent. That was a great digression on an important topic. The other things I asked you about were pain and rehab.

Dr. Conviser: I’m going to take rehab next, please.

Ari: Okay.

Dr. Conviser: Vibration is a wonderful tool but when you’ve had surgery or when a tissue is healing, when it has an acute injury, vibration may not be the best friend for you while that bone is healing but while that muscle is healing. That’s where you can go [inaudible 00:33:47] and folks have different, the literature shows different timeframes. In our clinics, we don’t like to work with someone who’s at least three months out of surgery because if they had sutures, if they have had surgery, we want it to heal and heal well. In terms of the recovery, the exercise after that, we use vibration a lot.

Let’s say somebody had a hip replacement. I would be able to exercise with them with traditional exercise equipment for those three months and I would be able to exercise with them with vibration, as long as I’m not stimulating the hip that was replaced. That’s where the art and the science come together. With rehab, there’s not a rehab activity that I can think of from a cranial injury, shoulder girdle injury, hip pelvic girdle issue. There’s nothing where I would use vibration, but I wouldn’t use it immediately acute after the injury.

Now, how do you know how much is too much? What’s the right dose and response? If I had that answer, there’s a Nobel Prize somewhere. In our clinics, we always start people at 30-hertz low amplitude. The reason we do that, it seems to be the safest place for them to start using vibration. Also, the additional gain that someone would get, and this is shown in the literature, if you’re 40 or 50 hertz, it’s not worth taking the risk of putting them at that much more vibration exposure. We like to have everybody at 30-hertz low amplitude.

Now, if you can think of an environment where shouldn’t they exercise, if you have a retinal issue, probably you shouldn’t be on vibration. If you just had a new knee or new hip put in, probably you shouldn’t be on vibration. If you have a new pacemaker that’s placed in the body, probably you shouldn’t be using vibration. Now, if you take all those folks out, you still have 320 million people in the United States so it works for a lot of folks.

Ari: Yes, got it.

Dr. Conviser: Even though we’re a clinic, if we have a question, we go back to the physician and say, “Here’s what we want to do, here’s how we’re doing it,” and seldom does a doc say, “Don’t do it.” What they say is start slow. Make sure that a little bit of work doesn’t cause a problem and then build up from there, which is the exact same thing they would say if they had a stroke or if they came with any other kind of medical presentation, start slow and build up. Sounds like good advice.

Ari: Sound advice pretty much across the board with regards to almost anything.

Dr. Conviser: You got it. The next one you said though is pain. That one is a little bit harder for me to answer because we think of pain as acute pain and chronic pain. Then we talk about what’s your pain exposure and what’s your pain tolerance? What is the pain if you fell down a flight of stairs and your body hurts? Whole body vibration is probably not your first thought of what should I do. If you have a chronic back problem, it’s very possible that it’s possibly spinal stenosis, possibly it’s weak core work, possibly it’s poor flexibility. There’s all kinds of reasons why the pain is presenting.

We know that the pain chart, the flow of pain is different for many different situations. The general answer is people who are in pain chronically, I think of poor muscular structure and I want them to be stronger. I want them to be more flexible so that their body becomes a shock absorber and then I want to find out what is this? If I get them stronger, I get them more flexible and they’re still in pain, I want to be part of a healthcare solution, not the only answer to healthcare solution. Most of the clients that present to us have relief with vibration, not solving the problem, but relief.

If your listeners have their feet swell after a long day, vibration is wonderful at the end of the day to reduce swelling in the feet. If you have peripheral neuropathy, vibration is a wonderful way of dealing with peripheral neuropathy. If your lower back is a pain, especially from an energy standpoint, where it gets worse during the day when you get more and more tired, vibration is a wonderful tool. Now, let’s say, you have a unit at your house, or let’s say you have a unit at a health club, I don’t know how to use it. It’s a big vibrating machine. How do I use it? If you go to powerplate.com, they have all kinds of protocols and all kinds of examples of massaging the legs, working with the lower back, working with abduction, abduction with the hips, everything that you could possibly imagine, there’s a video, pictures, and explanation of what have been the proven protocols for how to deal with pain, but not solve the problem. Hopefully, it reduces the pain a lot but it’s not a panacea. Pain is usually caused by something and it’s not just vibrating or massaging it away.

That does feel better, but you probably have to get stronger and more flexible to support the body as well, so that pain is reduced or removed.

How WBV can be used to treat fatigue

Ari: Got it. Now, I have one more important topic to ask you about, which is of course, fatigue and energy. Is there any relevance of whole body vibration to people suffering from chronic fatigue or people looking to enhance their energy levels? Where does this fit into that picture?

Dr. Conviser: There’s a clinical and medical viewpoint and then there’s a behavioral, psychological standpoint. All you could be a wonderfully trained athlete and still be depressed and still have fatigue and still have other responses in general. The way the body works is that muscles contract and muscles need gasoline or oxygen for those muscles to contract. When someone says, “I’m tired, I need more energy.” The exercise physiology thinks how can I deliver more blood efficiently to those muscles so that they can fire and fire and sequence appropriately. That’s part of training.

With vibration, blood circulation is significantly improved. There’s a wonderful group of research articles that show that circulation improves, especially in the periphery. Way over my pay grade, just beautiful, beautiful scientific studies that show increased circulation so we can get more fuel to the cell. The second is efficiency in movement. Quite often, we become fatigued because we don’t move efficiently. We don’t do what we’re doing well, we haven’t trained for it. There’s a learning benefit. That learning benefit is not part of vibration, but it’s certainly part of the training while you’re learning.

The other things I think about, “Are you sleeping well? Are you eating well? Do you have some other infection or medical-related issue?” Those things happen all the time, but the average client that comes to me goes, “I’m exhausted at the end of the day. I come home and beat.” Those individuals are my low-hanging fruit. Those are the ones that I say, “You can have more energy. You can feel better. You can have your feet not swell so much.”

You can get back to a point where five o’clock is not where I’m shutting down, five o’clock is where I’m going to crank up and turn that body back on to get more value for your day. Energy is a tough thing to get your hands around because some people are tired with maybe the simplest of tasks or maybe doing nothing. Other people are tired because they do so much. I see it as a body training for the activity that they want them to do. That’s why I see everybody as an athlete.

Who wins and who comes in fourth or fifth place? Well, sometimes it’s just pure DNA, but other times, it’s training and preparation. In order to have more energy in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, you prepare the body so that it’s a fine-tuned machine, proper nutrition, proper sleep, proper form, coordination, and proper oxygen delivery. How does that relate to whole body vibration? Whole body should mix the vessels. Vasodilate the vessels, dilate more blood is delivered to the tissue. More blood’s delivered to the tissue, more oxygen-carrying capacity, muscles, and fire more efficiently.

When muscles are tired, when their oxygen-depleted, they don’t contract. We all slow down when we don’t have enough oxygen. When you’re tired and then you stop and you rest, your body replenishes. The whole idea of what you do and what I do is to help people build the capacities so they can do more and more with the times that they’ve been given.

Ari: Very well said. My last question to you is, how does your device, the Power Plate, how does that differ from other whole body vibration devices on the market? Someone can go on Amazon right now and bring up, I don’t know, probably a $50 or $100 whole body vibration, maybe not that cheap, but you get the idea. There’s a broad range of them. They’re all being called vibration plates. How does one discern the difference and how is yours any different from those cheap devices on Amazon?

Dr. Conviser: Well, first of all, you should note that I don’t own the Power Plate company. I don’t have stock in the Power Plate company. I purchase all my machines. Nobody gives me a machine for free. I’m speaking to you about vibration. What I look for in vibration machines is what’s called tri-planer. If you find a product that’s tri-planer, then you’ve got the right start. Tri-planer means of a machine that goes up and down, side to side, and forward and back. That’s as opposed to what’s called a teeter-totter or a machine that just goes side to side, just like this.

The teeter-totter have been shown to be pretty violent, pretty tough on the body, unless you use them perfectly. My clients don’t do anything perfectly. They might be a little bit off-center. They may want to exercise when they’re laying down on the ground and just putting their feet up on the platform, or maybe they’re very large, maybe they’re 250, 350, 400 pounds, and they need a bigger surface. You want a platform that is vibrating like this, but you don’t physically see it vibrating, but when you’re on it, you can feel the vibration. That only comes from a tri-planer environment.

If you deciding to go buy a car, you can buy a car for $500 today. It probably runs and probably gets you some level of transportation, but probably $500 that doesn’t get you the best car. You also don’t have to buy a million-dollar car to get to where you want to go. In terms of vibration, you want to find a product that is tri-planer, so that not only we use it the first time, but you’ll use it for the next years and years and years.

Depending on where your health and fitness level, your energy level is, you can use it depending on how your strategies and how they’ve changed as you’ve aged. The unit that I have in my house is 16 years old. Tri-planer still works beautifully. There’s fancier units, there’s more expensive units, but if you have something that is tri-planer, you’ve got the gold standard in the industry today.

Ari: Before we wrap up, is there anything important that you feel we’ve neglected to cover that I haven’t asked you about any specific topic or benefit of vibration that we failed to mention? It’s okay if the answer is no, if we’ve already covered everything, I just want to make sure.

Dr. Conviser: I always summarize whole body vibration this way. It’s an incredible tool. I have it in all my clinics, I have it in my kids’ homes, I have it at my house, I have it every– because I love what I can do with it. What I need at my age is different from what my son who plays sports at a D1 level needs, but we all need the body to perform at its best level safely and efficiently. That’s what vibration gets you.

The person who’s listening, if they’re at my age and they’re going, “I don’t want my body to hurt. I want to be able to move all day long,” vibration can help you get there. It’s part of the strategy to get there. If you’re at a D1 level and you’re performing at the very highest level in sport, every basketball team, football team, every baseball team, every professional soccer team, every major team in the United States, every single one has whole body vibration.

Just last year, the American College of Sports Medicine in their guidelines for exercise facilities listed whole body vibration as one of the standard tools that you should have in your exercise environment which was the first time that they didn’t endorse product. They said that the idea of whole body vibration is now part of what every exercise regimen should have. That’s what your listeners can participate in.

Ari: Tell me again what your relationship is with how you got connected with Power Plate?

Dr. Conviser: Many years ago, somebody that went to element, junior high, and high school with reached out to me about 10, 12 years, after we graduated in college, and said, “I want your opinion on something. I’m thinking of buying a company that has this big machine that vibrates,” and he goes, “This is going to be the greatest thing in the world.” I thought, “You got to be nuts. A multi-thousand dollar–” The units at that time, they were a 10,000. Now, they’re much, much, much less.

I said, “All right, I’ll look into it.” I’ve done research with it, I’ve published research, I have them in my clinics, I have them in my home, and until I saw and experienced what they do, I was ready to tell him he’s crazy. Not only is he not crazy, but it has become a foundation of what we do with our clients.

It’s a foundation of what I do with– my offices in our clinics, well, we have a bioDensity in a Power Plate units on the floor, we also have vibration units in the back where the staff are, so that when they’re tired in the middle of the day, they can go over and stand on it, and it just gives them a little bit of a massage. I’m a user, and I’m not being paid to say this.

Most likely the price that your listeners will have to pay for a unit is less than what I paid for it when they first came out. I endorse it and I’m comfortable with endorsing it.

Ari: Beautiful. That reminded me of those old commercials from the ’90s of– I think it was either hair transplants or like a spray-on hair thing where the guy said, “I’m not just the president of the company, I’m also a customer.”

Dr. Conviser: I don’t sell supplements, I don’t sell exercise equipment, I don’t make a dime because I want my clients to know, if I recommend that this is what you should have in your home, that’s what you should have in your home. Not because I’m going to make a few dollars. I’m doing just fine having them as my patients. When I tell you on a podcast like this, that it’s what I believe in, it really is what I believe in.

It doesn’t matter whether your clients buy one unit, or 1,000 units. I don’t make anything and that’s the way it should be. I’m just telling you what it does and how it can change people’s lives.

Ari: Beautiful. Thank you so much, Dr. Conviser.

Dr. Conviser: It’s a pleasure. Talk to you later.

Ari: Dr. Conviser, thank you so much for your time. This has been a lot of fun and you’re extremely knowledgeable. It feels like you’re just operating with a level of ease. Everything I’ve thrown at you, you know inside and out. The last question is, I know you do work for Power Plate, or you work with them in some capacity. Do you know if they’re willing to offer some discount to my listeners on that device if they’re interested in buying one for home use?

Dr. Conviser: I’m not employed by Power Plate. I like their equipment. They’re my friends, but I’m not on payroll. I don’t have stock. I’m not getting paid for doing the podcast today, but I do this because I love when people move and move efficiently. I like when people come to me and say, “I’ve given up. I hurt, I can’t go on, I don’t have energy, I can’t,” and then fill in the adjective after, I can’t. I love it when they come back to me and say, “Oh, I can do this, now.” That’s a pretty good feeling, whether it’s in your home or at a gym, or at a clinic.

The second question is, I’m almost sure that there is a discount when people go to your website, that there is a significant discount if they listen to this podcast because of your taking the time and also talking about this topic. I think if your listeners go to your website, the product that I would recommend to them is called the Move, M-O-V-E. I think it may be the best vibration unit on the market today at any price level, and your listeners are getting it, truth, less expensive than what I paid for mine when it first came out. They’re getting a good deal.

Ari: Nice. Awesome. Well, I will reach out to Power Plate and see if what the deal is as far as the discount they’re willing to offer.

Dr. Conviser: I’m sure you’re in a good place. [laughs]

Ari: Okay, great. Excellent. Dr. Conviser, this has been wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It was really a pleasure.

Dr. Conviser: It’s my pleasure and I hope to meet you personally someday.

Ari: Yes, likewise.

Dr. Conviser: Take care.

Ari: All right, take care.

Dr. Conviser: Bye-bye.


Show Notes

What is Whole Body Vibration (WBV)? (01:45)
How WBV affects the body (14:08)
How Whole Body Vibration can affect body composition (21:00)
How to prevent falls (28:20)
How to use whole body vibration to recover from an injury (33:15)
How WBV can be used to treat fatigue (40:27)

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