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Good vibrations

Want to cram a workout of up to 90 minutes into 10 minutes without breaking a sweat? How about burning between 150 and 300 calories in the same amount of time — just by standing on a vibrating platform?

Sound too good to be true?

According to dozens of studies, as well as personal testimonies, it's not. Using a whole-body vibration technology machine like the TurboSonic found at Tan Ashland, burning up to 300 calories in 10 minutes could be possible, since every muscle in the body gets exercised to the micro-degree.

Tan Ashland, at 1680 Ashland St., is the lone Southern Oregon business that offers the use of a machine like the TurboSonic to the public.

Some vibration technology machines use a motor to vibrate the body, which is jarring and irritating to those using it, says John Rodarmel, president of Vibration Health Solutions Inc., parent company of the TurboSonic.

The TurboSonic, meanwhile, employs the use of sound. When using the TurboSonic, it might look like you're standing on a large, old-fashioned doctor's office scale, but you're essentially standing on a giant speaker. The higher the megahertz, the smoother and more fine the vibrations.

When standing on the machine, vibrations can be felt hitting each set of muscles from your ankles up to your head, Rodarmel says. The wide platform provides steady footing. The higher the setting, the more calories you burn.

"It's simply a way of moving every muscle, every cell in your body at the same time," Rodarmel said.

While the machine puts your body through natural movements, the vibrations make it advisable that those who are pregnant or have a pacemaker stay off the technology.

Vibration technology has been around since the '60s, Rodarmel said. It was originally formulated for Russian cosmonauts, who lost muscle mass and bone density after months of being sedentary in space. By placing a full-body vibration plate in the spacecraft carrier with them, the cosmonauts regained their strength and wellness back, giving them the ability to stay in space longer.

The distributors and manufacturers of TurboSonic say that vibration technology is extremely detoxifying and provides health benefits for muscles, hormones, bones, neurotransmitters, blood vessels and cartilage.

Tan Ashland customer Michelle Adamson has used the machine one to two times a week for two and a half months. What keeps the 19-year-old coming back? Improved posture, lost weight around the face and neck, fewer skin irritations, more energy and what she calls a sense of euphoria that lasts for days.

Two Tan Ashland customers have been so impressed with the machine that they bought their own for personal home use, said store manager Natalie Pennington. Vibration Health Solutions Inc. sells the machines for $12,995 each.

A study by the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that after four months of using vibration technology, the men and women in the study had increased lower limb strength and improved vertical jumps.

Another study conducted by the American College of Rheumatology reported that in the 42 participating elderly nursing home patients, using vibration technology after six weeks improved their quality of life. They showed improvement in physical function, general health, equilibrium and quality of walking. Also, they experienced a decrease in overall pain.

Vibration Health Solutions Inc. representatives say that 60 percent of the company's sales are to chiropractors, physical therapists, physicians and homeopathic practitioners. Another 30 percent of sales are to individuals for private home use. And the remaining 10 percent of sales are to nursing homes, health spas, athletic gyms and even casinos in Las Vegas.

Machines like the TurboSonic have been distributed all over the country, and are especially popular in Southern California, but last November was the first time they've been introduced to Southern Oregon.

To use the TurboSonic at Tan Ashland in an enclosed, private room, the first 10-minute session is free. After that, one session costs $20, a package of five costs $85 and a package of 10 costs $150. Call 541-482-7377.

Tan Ashland employee Amber Jones is shown demonstrating the TurboSonic, a vibrating device that is said to have several health benefits. - Roy Musitelli