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Osteoporosis experts

Experience with osteoporosis treatment

Treatment for osteoporosis with Marodyne LIV has been researched in detail and discussed by medics and scientists. The results are clear and the achievements well-documented. We have many experts who have looked closely at Marodyne LIV and the positive impact it has on treating osteoporosis. This complies with one of Marodyne’s principles – to ensure scientific backing for our claims so that people can use the product with confidence. 

No other treatment in the field of vibration has such a large number of qualified, peer-reviewed publications or attained such a high standard of evidence based medicine (EBM). Our cooperation with leading universities, medical associations and NASA completes the picture.

Don’t just take our word for it:  here are some interviews with highly respected experts and professionals who have looked at Marodyne LIV and agree it has great potential to help people.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dieter Gebauer

ratgeber ospeoporose

Firstly, Professor Dieter Gebauer, head physician at the specialist Orthopaedic Clinic at Tegernsee "The treatment using a LIV platform can intercept age-related bone breakdown. The stimulation of the muscles means traction on the bone and thus build-up of the bone... I can only recommend this treatment, from my own experience." » more

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dieter Gebauer: osteoporosis and muscles

Professor Dieter Gebauer was one of the first in Germany to pave the way for this new low intensity vibration treatment. He was the head physician at the specialist Orthopaedic Clinic at Tegernsee, a clinic focusing on rehabilitation for all diseases of the postural and musculoskeletal system, and he mainly dedicated himself to new treatment opportunities in the field of osteoporosis and muscle weakness. In an interview, he explains why LIV (Low Intensity Vibration) training is so helpful with osteoporosis, the crucial role it can play in helping to prevent and treat osteoporosis and why we must pay attention to the connections between bones and muscles. Professor Gebauer also talks about the physiotherapeutic opportunities there are in the case of age-related muscle weakness and declining performance of the muscular system (sarcopenia). Professor Gebauer is an influential advisor in the assessment of osteoporosis treatment. He is a head physician, has expertise in biomechanics and also a doctorate in engineering. He can not only explain the effect of forces within the scope of vibration training on the muscles and bones, but can also assess the physical basis of this biomechanical treatment.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dieter Gebauer

© Prof. Dieter Gebauer privat   

Bones and movement – what have they got to do with each other?

As a consultant for orthopaedics and with a doctorate in mechanical engineering, the subject of bones and movement has been of interest to me for over 30 years now: the close link between medicine, orthopaedics and technology was inevitably also what led me to the mechanics of the musculoskeletal system, i.e. the interaction between muscles and bones and the physical forces that occur.

The health or disease of the bones is put in a nutshell by a basic law of orthopaedics, Wolff's Law which states "Form follows function." The central statement here is that bones behave according to the loads they are subjected to. If the bone is subjected to a load, it builds itself up; if the bone is not subject to a load, it breaks down. This basic principle applies to people old and young. Movements and loads - the mechanical forces that we are exposed to - have a direct influence on the stability and quality of our bones.

If the form of the bone and its stability can be trained, how does one go about it? Or: how can vibration training help?

Vibration treatment is a training method where the person undergoing the treatment stands on a vibrating plate; the body is subjected to many high frequency movements via this plate. The body is moved artificially and reacts to this. These vibrations – often thousands in just a few minutes – have a stimulating effect on bones and muscles, promote metabolism and train the cardiovascular system. Vibration training is not just used for medical treatment but is also used as training in fitness centres. We must make a distinction here: the type of fitness vibration training is high intensity, Whole Body Vibration (WBV). WBV is neither necessary nor appropriate for treating osteoporosis, whereas Low Intensity Vibration (LIV) brings the desired results and is gentle enough for even the very infirm or elderly to use.

Which indications can Low Intensity Vibration (LIV) training help with?

The field is very broad. Let me describe the basic idea and the bridges across to osteoporosis: for elderly people, there are fewer force stimuli on the bones and surrounding muscles due to quite normal lower physical performance, possibly existing health limitations or an osteoporosis-related decreased load on the skeleton. One of the central problems of ageing is that the muscles, in particular the type 2A muscle fibres, break down. A lack of stability when standing or walking is the consequence, which makes people unsteady, prone to falling and restricts their mobility.

Osteoporosis is one of the most common and dangerous diseases of old age – a bone disease which develops slowly and subtly. The disease, also known as bone loss, is characterised by a low bone mass and disproportionately rapid breakdown of bone substance and structure. This makes patients highly susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis is more likely in people who lack exercise and load thus those who have restricted mobility or avoid exercise due to experiencing pain are at a greater risk of developing the disease.

The subject of pain is interesting. Someone in pain usually takes less exercise – and less exercise in the long-term means more muscle and bone breakdown. For example, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatism and fibromyalgia are all diseases with sometimes strong pain or lasting impairment of physical performance and mobility.

If someone has a muscle deficit or the core muscles are no longer sufficiently available, they can apply load stimuli onto bones and muscles using low intensity vibration training and regain a better starting point. But it is not just for rehabilitation or people unable to exercise: sporty, active people over the age of 50 will also experience their bones starting to break down, slowly but surely.   

Low intensity vibration treatment has gained great importance recently. Aside from its medical benefits, it allows you to apply the necessary forces to the musculoskeletal system easily, simply and safely – even to the elderly and infirm.

When you say that you can build up bones and muscles safely and simply using vibration treatment – does this apply to all devices? Even with osteoporosis?

No, not categorically. You can also cause damage if you introduce forces into the body that are too intensive, especially into the bones. We have undertaken analyses with several devices and platforms – one has to compare the physical conditions such as frequency, amplitude and acceleration in order to get a general view and above all, one has to read the studies that have been carried out. For example, a distinction must be made between devices with strong stimuli, which are often intended for building up muscles in fitness centres, and other devices with gentle stimuli, which are better suited to the field of restricted mobility, pain and osteoporosis.

This latter form of low intensity vibration training was first developed with the American space authority, NASA, (editor’s note: Low Intensity Vibration). Firstly, we analysed the method and then introduced the treatment at our clinic (editor’s note: Orthopaedic Clinic at Tegernsee) on a trial basis. The results are promising; we have subjected the treatment to comparative testing in a relatively broad range and identified an increasingly large field of application. The key benefit of this treatment may well be building up core muscles in the fight against osteoporosis and in prevention, but this treatment does also offer the opportunity to mobilise vital energy.

Strong pulses of vibration on the one hand and gentle pulses on the other hand. What exactly are the differences between the devices?

The LIV treatment platform has low acceleration values and a high frequency. The vertical vibration is gentle and tolerable because it only rises and falls by a hair’s breadth. This has to do with a new kind of technology.

Whole Body Vibration (WBV) or high intensity devices work with a high acceleration and amplitudes, which can be problematic for the elderly. The acceleration and therefore also the loads that can occur here are a lot more aggressive and are associated with a greater risk. They have their place in the sports fitness and training field and good results can be achieved with building up muscles – but even they should be used under medical and professional supervision.

The key differences are mostly due to the technology, the design therefore has an effect on the fields of application that are meaningful for treatment: we regard devices with strong, aggressive stimuli as more suitable for younger, healthy, sporty people – devices with gentle stimuli are more suitable for older people and those with weaker bones.

An additional physiological effect can be seen in the frequency, i.e. how often the platform rises and falls each second. Frequencies below about 20-25 Hz can encourage undesirable natural vibrations of the body – for example in the eye, spinal column or digestive tract. These resonances can also be detected by sensitivities during treatment if instability or discomfort are experienced during treatment. Frequencies above about 20-25 Hz, as with the LIV treatment platform, do not generate this self-resonance.

So, the fine vibrations are the more tolerable ones?

Yes, the fine vibrations have the advantage that they provide very good physical conditions that allow bone and muscle-building effects. These are vibrations with higher frequency and lower amplitude and the body can cope with this very well. Safe and simple – those are the main benefits. And we were only able to observe this with the LIV device.

Who is this treatment suitable for?

Especially pre-menopausal women should start to train as soon as possible, should use vibration as a preventative measure to protect against the threat of bone loss. The training of bones and muscles already makes sense at a much younger age than 50 – correct and gentle vibration is a helpful instrument for anyone, regardless of how old they are. If I make a start on it a year too soon it won’t do me any harm. It’s a case of as soon as possible ...

As soon as possible?

This treatment is even suitable for children if it has been established that the child has poor bone quality. There are many excellent studies on the subject, which show that children who undertake such treatment, bone loss could be contained or reversed – a good effect can even be achieved by the fine vibrations under difficult circumstances.

Is there an age limit?

There is no upper or lower age limit, the gentle stimuli advocate possible use right into old age. There is a clinical, randomised placebo-controlled, double-blind study of the treatment with post-menopausal women, in which bone build-up by means of this specific vibration treatment is described.

Where do you see other possible applications?

Muscle loss and lack of exercise are an often unheeded and undetected underlying problem for many people, not just for the elderly. The whole muscle system is activated by the vibration treatment, possible problems are minimised and therefore a risk is reduced. Many diseases and potential risks are positively influenced – particularly those that are associated with muscle weakness and restricted mobility.

Let me quote a few examples, which also highlight the link to geriatrics and obesity. These are not just direct effects, such as those on the bones, but frequently also the indirect effects:

Falls prevention – you strengthen a steady gait and postural stability demonstrably by means of the vibration treatment, which in turn, together with the increased muscle strength, reduces the risk of falls. The vibration training thus prevents possible fractures. Falls prevention is one of the quite crucial preventative factors in osteoporosis treatment. Put simply, if you don’t fall, you won’t break anything.

Cardiovascular training – by building up the type IIA muscle fibres, you are capable of supporting your “second heart” in the calves: there are numerous problems associated with the circulation and with heart disease, for example orthostatic dizziness. When I stand up and my blood pressure sinks, there is often a risk of dizziness and therefore here too, the risk of falling. This fall in blood pressure is reduced because the vascular muscles are also stimulated and therefore the support for the blood return to the heart is encouraged. This “second heart” is still not considered enough in medicine.

Pain therapy – increased circulation also ensures more oxygen in the blood; the pain receptors in particular are sensitive to under-supply. And vibration treatment also increases circulation for those who otherwise do not get enough exercise. Using the fine vibrations, people can manage their pain better by encouraging circulation.

Lymphedema – the support of the vascular muscles also contributes to the reduction in lymphedema, furthermore, lymph circulation and metabolism are stimulated.

Do you get enough stimulation for building up bones from fitness sessions or playing sport?

Exercise and sport are necessary for good health. But for building up bones, there has to be a certain minimum level of stimulation to have an effect – since it is the shock load that the body needs. It is not meaningful in this context to strive for endurance performance because this does not provide enough stimulation for the bones. The question is, how pronounced the exercise is: for example, aerobics appears to be very suitable with its high peak forces, the type that constitute stimuli for bone building. However, aerobics is not necessarily the right kind of sport for the elderly as it can be too intensive for many.

The advantage with vibration is that you can achieve positive effects in a relatively short time. In order to attain the same success with fitness sessions, you would have to do it for much longer and more intensively. Vibration treatment is a very economical way of building up bones and muscles or to build up a solid foundation: we recommended 10 minutes per day to see results. There is usually no or insufficient sporting activity among the elderly owing to existing health limitations – and it is precisely here that the vibration treatment comes into its own.

If shock load is what the bones need, can the LIV treatment help with osteoporosis then?

Osteoporosis is the most underestimated and neglected health disorder of our time according to the World Health Organisation. The treatment with an LIV vibration platform can intercept age-related bone breakdown. The stimulation of the muscles means traction on the bones and thus building up of the bones... I can fully recommend this treatment based on my own experience as well as the scientific knowledge.

© Medical Vibration, authorised by Professor Dieter Gebauer

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