Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Power Plate/Circulation Booster

My mum got a power plate/circulation booster for her birthday. Looking around these devices seem to come in two varieties.

Firstly, there are the "vibrating plate" type where there are various motors within the plate which cause it to vibrate. One of the main brands is Power Plate. These machines help get muscle tone when exercises are done whilst on the plate. Exercises might include squats, push-ups etc. The vibration causes the muscles to activate by reflex to compensate for the movement of the plate. This is, essentially, anerobic exercise. There are many claims made about what this can do, along with many sceptical people. It seems to me that such a device is unlikely to give massive weight loss, but getting muscles to activate by reflex sounds like there could be some benefits for HSP.

One study I found included someone with HSP which concluded that spasticity decreased in patients with cerebral palsy with the use of these plates.
http://www.medicaljournals.se/jrm/content/download.php%3Fdoi%3D10.1080/16501970600680262
Another shows improvement in walking in a patient with SP.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23045444

The other type of machine is the "circulation booster". This machine applies an electrical current to the soles of your feet to cause the muscles to activate by mimicking the muscle activation signals sent by the brain. The process is called electro muscle stimulation, or EMS. Generally EMS is used to in a number of ways to develop muscle strength. It is also used for rehabilitation and/or to prevent muscle loss/atrophy. Similarly there are weight loss claims which are generally received sceptically.

This technique is similar to FES (functional electrical stimulation). The circulation booster claims to stimulate muscles and improve blood circulation. There are a fair few papers out there which detail FES with HSP, but I couldn't find any for EMS.

To get back to my original line, my mum got one of the circulation boosters. I tried this for half an hour whilst I was there over the summer. I could feel that my muscles were being activated, and by the end of half hour I could feel this in my upper leg muscles too. Of course, half an hour isn't really long enough for a proper assessment, but one for me to bear in mind in the future.








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