by The history of our industry to date and the fight to move forward
It would seem that progress is not an idea that sits well with most self professed experts in our industry. Because innovation challenges their expertise and they may have to take a back seat to someone who is actually better than them. God help they might have to learn something. To understand how big a problem this is in our industry, and shows it still exists, I will give you a run down on the fight I have had and the current attitudes towards innovation.
For those of you who do not know, I am a Mortician by trade, and only entered the industry with an idea to fight morbid obesity with Vibration Training. I was regularly doing cases up to 300kg, and despite what the Doctors at the Hospital was saying I believed something could be done for these people. The first response I was looking for was to increase circulation to the legs to stop septic ulcers from setting in, quite often amputation becoming the only option
Simple idea : I saw vibration platforms to be the perfect solution for people who were unwilling, or unable due to their size, to get some form of stimulation. I then wanted to take simple stimulation ( Myotatic reflexes ) into actual exercise ( full eccentric contractions ). All the way from specific Physio applications right through to full body workouts for weight loss.
Now at the time we only really had Vibration Therapy units available. By that I mean the very best units available only had a medium energy vibration. They also had very small platforms which limited their use for some larger people, and on top of that they barely took over 100kg before failing to work properly ( because the vibration was so weak ). You also had to get on the ground to work out your upper body correctly, which for overweight people with blood pressure issues, is quite dangerous.
Not exactly the kind of machine you could use to fight obesity with, unless you didn't mind telling the odd larger person " sorry you are to fat to use my weight loss machine " I personally found that an unacceptable, embarrassing and unethical situation to even be in.
I entered the industry physically in 2003 at a stage where all available commercial machines had been copied off 2 basic designs...
(a) The original Nemes machine http://www.bosco-system.com/page9.html ( Lineal platform )
(b) The Galileo http://www.galileouk.co.uk/history.html ( Pivotal Platform )
Note the dates : These designs are over 20 years old.
In relative terms you should think of these as the first Model-T cars. Good, but limited in design and only the start of an industry. Certainly not the end all and be all some would have you believe they are. In fact I think most people would say it is preposterous to even suggest any industry worth while stands still for long nowadays.
So to make it clear, no-one alive can claim invention of the vibratory motor, belt drive or crank system. But how these have been applied to our industry is certainly something that is recent history. But some companies would have you believe they invented it , and have a patent on the idea. But judging from the 250 or so companies globally producing various knock-offs, I would say that purely marketing angle is well and truly buried by now.
Note: Innovation was the driving force behind those applications and it is what will be the driving force to surpass those original designs.
2003 and beyond.......
Now I should explain in detail what my ideas where, and why they clashed so badly with the company I had chosen to engage with ( Power Plate ) . Which had basically copied Dr Bosco's design, but just made it more marketable. No issue there as someone had to do it, but it certainly did not cater for my ideal, full commercial, no limitations machine.
The kinds of things a machine designed to take anybody, not matter what size, should be able to do in my opinion were........
(1) Take up to 300kg and lose no performance.
(2) Have a 45 degree angle on the front edge, to allow for people who could not stand to get correct foot placement to transfer the vibrations properly.
(3) Have vibration handle bars at a sufficient height as to be able to work out the upper body while still standing.
(4) Be 1 meter wide to accommodate any size user.
Power Plate did not act as happy as I thought they would at this prospect, and I soon found out why. They were just about to release a machine that performed well under the current model. In fact in tests it showed a drop in function at only 80kg. The exact opposite direction I wanted to travel in. They even told me what I planned was "impossible " and if they had not been able to do it, no-one could. That combined with a few ethical issues soon had me leaving Power Plate and setting up Vibra-Train. Going back to the older unit ( now called VibroGym ) and having to fund my own R&D.
Now I think it is important to add, that I had already set up the worlds first vibration training studio, so I was in the perfect position to determine current designs limitations. This was not just my opinion, we had machines turn off due to overheating because a person was too heavy. Isolators being crushed and motors going out of sync. All due to excessive loads.
I designed and produced my machines and attached my Static Safety Program with the simple aim of......
Introducing the public ( no matter what size ) to Vibration Training in the safest manner possible.
I have been accused by some of scare mongering, but I ask you this. Who do you want to follow, someone with my cautious approach or someone who would make a statement like this....
" Taking the safest option is the worst thing to do. " ........... a statement made in an argument by a so called professed expert in a direct discussion about the static safety program.
In their eyes they can not see why I have done any of this. Not the machines, not the program, nothing. They simply can not comprehend my goals.
Important side note: Now I get flack from the Pivotal side of the industry as to why I chose Lineal. My answer is simple. Put someone up on a Pivotal unit at over a certain weight and see what happens. If they do not think I hadn't looked at all options to help people, they are very wrong. They should find out who had a Galileo in Auckland N.Z. in 2003.
I also wanted to distance myself from the "wobble factor" The standing position promoted by the Pivotal side of the industry. where the person just wobbles from side-to-side. It was the single biggest concern brought up by overweight people in my interviews. Where as in Lineal you can not see the person moving at all.
See clip for embarrassment factor..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFBkP2st_90
I could just not see the industry being taken seriously, and my communications with the Pivotal side of the industry were futile and showed me they had not even considered this issue, and refused to work with me on any of my concerns. This was before all the cheap copies hit the street and I wanted to "cut it off at the path " so to speak by getting existing companies in the market to release a statement that," that position was not vibration training."
Public opinion can and will sometimes stop science right in its tracks. Especially if it is made a joke of by the very people selling it. Just go to any trade show and witness for yourself this carry on actually being promoted. Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand that pose has valid benefits, but I do not think it should have been promoted at Trade Shows or on T.V.
Why would anyone fight innovation in their industry ?
Well first you have to understand a few things.....
(1) Some companies are only just now starting to build machines as good as the older designs. That's right , not better, just as good. In fact some companies entire reputations are based on "our machine is as good as an older brand" The last thing they need is someone surpassing those older designs.
(2) Some people have actually based their own personal reputations as experts, on those older products being the best that will ever be made. They have zero motivation to see better models released. Even if it would help the entire industry long term.
(3) Fear of losing a sale. Not understanding that it is not a war. I for one do not sell home machines, and no-one in their right mind would expect a home machine to perform the same as a full commercial system. They do not see the true commercial systems, with all the above factors accounted for, will only increase respect for the industry. In fact it will not be taken seriously and surpass "fringe exercise tool " status unless that happens.
The funny thing is some other companies that retail machines, have no problem working along side me to promote moving forward. In fact I am always supportive and encouraging to anyone that does take this route, and am currently supporting a number of companies doing just that.
I have a message for all those trying to halt progress. It cant be stopped so you will fail. And worse than that you will be remembered in history as the ones who tried to stop it.