Exercise: vibrations tone muscles, may damage brain

June 5 (Xinhuanet) — Jiggling your body may be a good way to buff your body, but researchers warn the machines that use vibrations to tone muscle may also be a good way to lose your mind.    Promoters of the newly popular fitness machines say the equipment also improves flexibility and strength, reduces pain and stress, builds muscle and reverses osteoporosis.

    But researchers warn of possible injuries ranging from back pain to cartilage damage. One even warns that the high-powered jiggling might harm the brain. They say the science is thin and too little is known about the long-term effects of such powerful vibrations.

    Users of the equipment enjoy the sensation and the quick workout. Advocates say workout times are reduced by two-thirds.

    “I feel kind of tingly and a little like I got off a ship, kind of shaky but in a good way,” said Amy Allen, a 40-year-old working mom in Chicago, after a 25-minute workout on the Power Plate, one of the higher-end brands. “I’m hoping this is the solution to help me get that extra weight off.”

    The Power Plate vibrates 20 to 50 times a second in three directions, increasing g-forces on the body, according to the Northbrook, Ill.-based company of the same name. The company says that raises the effectiveness of lunges, squats and other exercises done while standing on it.

    Clinton Rubin, a biomedical engineering professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook, said he has asked Power Plate to stop citing his research in its promotional materials. He believes the Power Plate’s vibration levels could cause low back pain, cartilage damage, blurred vision, hearing loss and even brain damage.

    “I think they are cavalier in dismissing the dangers of chronic exposure,” he said. “I’m a scientist. I worry that people are going to use this device based on a misrepresentation of science.”

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