I would like to discuss something that takes suspension based physical therapy to the next level. It’s called the Redcord Stimula. Developed by physiotherapists in Norway, the Stimula is a vibrating mechanical unit that attaches to the suspension ropes in order to provide extra vibration that manual “perturbation” simply cannot match.
Perturbation is a fancy word for shaking the ropes. But Redcord providers don’t just shake the ropes to pass the time by. They do it in a very calculated manner to: 1) elicit more muscle recruitment, and/or 2) confuse or disrupt the brain.
When you perform exercises in ropes, it has been proven over and over again that our local stabilizer muscles activate more than when doing basic exercises. Studies show that suspension exercises recruit even more muscles than exercising on a Swiss ball.
When your muscles (especially the joint stabilizers) fire more, it sends more information to the brain thus helping to improve motor function. If you can do these movements in a pain-free manner, it helps facilitate the proper sequence of firing patterns versus feeding into abnormal compensating patterns from exercising in pain.
That's why we create a “zero-gravity” environment. We fine tune each exercise so that our clients can target the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength. In other words, by offloading their outer muscles with bungee assistance, we can recruit the inner muscles to restabilize the joints.
The Redcord Stimula takes this a step further by helping us vibrate the ropes at frequencies and intensities that wouldn’t even be possible through our manual shaking techniques.
Shaking the ropes stimulates the nerves. Gently vibrating the ropes calms the nerves. Finding a perfect balance of control versus instability is essential for best results. You should feel your muscles working (activating) but without any symptom aggravation.
Whether it's done mechanically or manually, the primary purpose of including vibration is to optimize communication between the brain and muscles.
For most people, exercising under vibration is a new experience. Their body senses the unique type of stimulus and simply can’t ignore it. So the brain takes this stimulus seriously. It confuses the central nervous system to some degree, thus reducing the pain. Think of it as multitasking. When you do two things at once, something has to give.
It is the best feeling in the world when you can make such a significant change in someone’s functional mobility in such a short period of time. In fact, I still get butterflies in my stomach every time I see the reaction on a client's face. When they get off the Redcord, they usually say something like, “How did you do that... It's like magic!"
I will respond with, "It's not magic. It's science!" Then I go into the pain science and explain what happens when you take pain out of the equation in a zero-gravity exercise environment. Usually good things happen, like restoring healthy movement patterns and joint function.
To learn more about suspension based physical therapy, click here
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.