30 Sep Elderly care – Keeping fit and healthy
Fitness for the elderly: Strength and Wellness through Vibration
Everyone hopes to be young forever. But the reality of life is that we all get old eventually, and with old age comes problems of movement, strength, coordination, and health in general. In Singapore, as in many developed countries in Asia, we are seeing an ever increasing elderly population, as birth rates have declined. At the same time, many of our elderly are also working longer, whether it is answering the call of looking after grandchildren as their parents work for a dual income, or to continue to earn a living as times are harder now.
Many in our aging population suffer from various ailments and weakening bodies. Whether it from a lack of care of their bodies in their younger days, or nutrition and exercise, it is likely that you know someone who isn’t faring well as they’ve gotten older. We’re seeing more news about the elderly being involved in medical difficulties, falls and accidents, and the increasing need to accommodate for elderly-friendly facilities.
Help is on the way
While they do say that prevention is better than cure, even if you or someone you know may not be in the most ideal of health as you age, things are not beyond improvement.
Vibration therapy is a new, cutting edge science in sports medicine, that has benefits that can be enjoyed by the elderly. In fact, it can be said to be especially suited FOR the elderly.
How Vibration therapy works
Our therapy machines are simple to use – one simply stands on top of a platform, and the machine is switched on. The machine will send frequency vibration through the user’s body. These vibrations affect the body in positive ways, like working the muscles, burning fat and massaging the organs. The use of vibrations are based in research and scientific innovation, not magnetic fields, radiowaves or mystical energy.
There is no physical effort, no exercise to do, nor any strenuous activity. It is THE form of passive exercise. This makes it ideal for people suffering from injury, or weak muscles or bones, who cannot engage easily in regular forms of exercise.
Improves Balance & Coordination
When we are young, we take movement for granted. We run, jump and dancing without thinking about how we do it. In reality, our movements use a complex integration system of the body, using muscles, sight, balance and motor coordination. Any one of these weakening will cause issues and make moving around much harder.
Older folk often suffer from Osteoporosis, where bones lose density and become weak and fragile. But they will also usually experience Sarcopenia, which is when muscles weaken and waste away. On top of that, nerves may also degenerate, leading to poor senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell.
Our Vibration therapy, Whole Body Vertical Vibration(WBVV), can increase bone mineral density by stimulating more osteogenesis (new bone formation). The vertical vibration also strengthens muscles due to the Tonic Vibration reflex. As the vibration frequency goes through the muscle, they will produce an instinctive muscle contraction. As the muscle contract and relax in natural reaction to the vibration, it becomes an exercise activity, with zero strain or impact.
One of the most common symptoms of old age is pain. As it hurts to move, stand or even relax, everyday activity can become an unhappy experience for someone with chronic pains.
Vibration therapy can actually relieve pain through an innovative discovery. This form of vibration is transmitted through the body via the Afferent nerve, and this same nerve is also used to transmit pain. When the vibration occupies these nerves, the sensation of pain is actually reduced.
Throughout Japan and Europe, studies using vibration in pain therapy have shown significant reduction in bodily and back pains for all ages.
Let’s face it, Singapore is not the most accomodating place for the elderly to move about. Many places have poor or no handholds and rails, many places require the use of stairs, and taking public transport may incur accidents from reckless driving or other breakdowns. It is important that the elderly are able to retain their strength and balance to reduce the risk of falling. Such falls at that age present great risks and may lead to permanent disability, hospitalisation and even death.
In Tokyo University, Japan, Dr Kazuhiro Kawanabe tested 2 groups of elders- one group went through regular exercise sessions. The other had an added component of vibration training. The vibration group performed better at tests of not only walking speed, but also the ability to stand on one leg for a length of time. The regular exercise group did not show any improvement in the one-legged challenge.
In Germany, Dr Ivan Bautmans of the Free university of Belgium had a group of patients in their 70s undergo vertical vibration training for half a year. He noted vast improvements in their ability to stand up, sit down, walk around obstacles and kick a ball.
These, and many other case studies have shown that vertical vibration has significant benefits in terms of strength building and coordination.
High blood pressure and cholesterol are common issues that plague us Asians, even before we grow old. In older folk, this increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. If unchecked, those who suffer from this could end up needing expensive surgeries, or suffer a fatal attack.
Vibration therapy can lower blood pressure and encourage a healthier heartbeat. The frequency of vibration can stimulate blood vessels to release nitric oxide, which dilutes the vessels and lowers blood pressure. It can also help to dissolve fibrinogen and lower the incidents of Pulmonary Embolisms – blood clots that can damage the lungs and other organs.
Bed-ridden Muscle Degeneration
Some old folk may be too ill and have been confined to their beds. That causes problems of its own, as being bed-ridden causes their joints to degenrate, and muscle dystrophy. Lying down for too long can also create lumbar spine issues.
In a study done at the Muscle and Bone Research Center in Berlin, Dr Belavy DL found using MRI studies that while muscle dystrophy was not completely stopped, WBVV was about to reduce the amount of muscle atrophy, and patients who recovered from their bed-ridden status had a much shorter atrophy period than those who did not receive vibration therapy.
A Safe, Simple Exercise for the Elderly
If you or an elderly loved one can benefit from vibration treatment, we invite you to contact us for a consultation and demo of our vibration machines. WBVV is a safe, tested method of passive exercise with globally proven benefits and results. Our expert staff will be able to tell you more, and suggest recommended treatment.