The 4 top machines I recommend for people with joint issues such as bad backs and knees are the VibePlate, Vmax Pulser, Zaaz 20K, and Hypervibe G10 or G17.
However, I can never just make a general recommendation for everyone like most companies make you believe is possible. I always have to consult further with each person because there are additional factors to consider in order to get the very best machine for a specific person.
Although these 4 machines will have similar benefits and overlap for back and knee conditions, the Vibeplate which I give an A+ for bone density and arthritis. Also for those that have backs so bad where they can't even jump rope, jog, squat down, and they will need a machine with the lowest ballistic impact on joints. The Zaaz 20K is the most gentle (plate size, smoothness of the acceleration during displacement) but takes longer as it works at a slower speed, but with its 400 watt motor and super lightweight plate, the pop feel from the light plate (note: heavy plates like the Vmax Pulser and other 27 inch plates have a more throwing feel) is a lot easier to stand on even while leaning more weight on the heels.
The Zaaz 20K gives a split second G force which I have never had someone with a back problem complain about. The force from the lightweight plate has more power than the 27 inch 100+pound base of the Vmax even at 400 watts as it doesn't lose G force as much as the longer width of a 27 inch plate. The wider and heavier the plate is the harder the machine must work to move it. The much smaller Zaaz plate produces more G force (acceleration force) than the wider 27 inch plate machines like the VMAX or Vibratrim. The engineering inside the machine of the Zaaz deliverd more torque on the turntable mechanism with a high efficiency. So the machine only requires 400 Watts and yet is able to deliver more G force than 90% of the brands I've tested.
The amplitude on the Zaaz 20K is at 10mm but it feels smoother than the original Hypervibe. Of course where and how you stand on the machine makes a difference as well. I’d say 50% of people with back and knee issues can handle standing at widest stance on the Zaaz and the other 50% prefer the Hypervibe at a higher G force but standing with feet closer in from the edges. There are two new models of Hypervibe now (G17 and G10) and so there are now additional options to make sure a person gets the best machine for their condition and lifestyle. If you need to get into more of a consultation and details please set up a a time for me to call you on my contact page.
The Vibeplate, which I give the 100% A+ to for those who cannot handle any ballistic impact, it feels like standing on the bleachers at a footballs game. Imagine some 25 kids taking 2 drumsticks each and all at the same time beating under your seat. Yea, it feels like that and I am not exaggerating either.
The Vibeplate's disadvantage is that for lymphatic drainage. It’s not as strong. But for bone density, pain management, nervous system issues, or you need to get circulation back in your legs and back (see my chair video) this is an effective machine. The Zaaz I give an A+ for lymphatic drainage but an A for bone density (9.5 out of 10). To be accurate, using a linear type machine like the Vibeplate versus a pivotal machine like the Zaaz will build bone density slightly differently due to how it stimulates the body through the plate movement. Some folks have found that with the Vibeplate being able to go all the way up to 50 hertz a second (not many machines do this) has had a greater stimulatory effect on their bones in the upper part of the body versus just the legs and hips.
The Hypervibe models of machine are unique in their own right as well. I give both models an A+ for bone density (G10 and G17) when over 20 hertz, but due to the intensity of the G force delivered behind that frequency most people have to stand closer to the middle of the plate. With the G17 commercial grade machine they lowered the displacement to 7mm so a person can go up to very high frequency and Gforce and still maintain a wider stance for greater benefits. This was really a smart design.
In fact the only pivotal machine that actually did clinical research studies related to joints and bone density is the Galileo ($15,000) and the G17 now surpasses that machine with some aspects. The good news is that the G17 is a fraction of the price tag.
For people who don't have low bone density yet but starting to lose it, the Hypervibe is good to get but for those that already have weak bones, the 400 watt Zaaz is my recommendation. The Hypervibe Performance has 900 watts and that’s output power, not these 1000 watt (input) machines that people think are more powerful than the Hypervibe (the Zaaz at 400 watts is output). If you see a 1000 watt machine, unless it can go over 28 hertz it’s probably input power wattage). The Hypervibe and Zaaz are also AC power. AC power at 400 watts is equivalent much more powerful than a 400 watt DC machine. It is so hard to read these specs sometimes from the companies so sometimes the only real way to know which is a higher performing machine is by testing them one at a time, which most people don’t have the means to do.
I put 200lb+ people on these different machines and tell them to lean back on their heels and stand on the edges of the plate. I would then do this with 3-4 people in back to back sessions. This is the ideal way to stress a machine’s motor and assess its response. Some machines just automatically cut off power for a cool down, for some they get very loud, or shake and vibrate excessively. There are many different signs of manufacturer’s specs being overinflated and the real world tests prove this.
Note: if just standing on a vibration machine without leaning back on the heels (yes, heal bone on hard plate), this is when you know if the machine has enough power. Any machine, even the cheap ones on Ebay for 300 bucks have power to move a person but when leaning back on the heals where the G force goes up the body this is when a cheap model usually fails.
If people have a hard time standing, I would recommend the Vibeplate as delivering 50 pulses a second gives the fastest session. The Hypervibe might be hard for some people to work up to the high speeds as the amplitude can make my heels tender at first. With the Vibeplate I don't need to wear shoes. I have never gotten a blister standing on it as the plate has barely any amplitude.
If someone has bad knees, the Zaaz and Hypervibe are my favorites as the machine cancels each hip out which the ballistic impact while standing mid way on the plate has a very low ballistic impact. Most people with knee replacements prefer the Zaaz as the power is about half the Hypervibe.
Note: with pivotal types, along with relieving joint pain and building bone density, it also can mobilize toxins at the same time. For people that do not want to redistribute lymphatic drainage every time they get on the machine, this is when the spiral or Vibeplate is good. If the heavy metals are leaching out of the joints and are not replaced with minerals, the toxins will probably go right back to the same places after the session.
I can’t tell you how many times I have consulted with someone who had to return or sell their previous machines as they were incorrectly guided. They also did not have the right training support. Most of the time someone worsens a joint condition due to not receiving proper guidance on how to use the machine to perform the proper physical movements and techniques for exercise. Most of these companies out there just have sales people whose job is to just sell as many machines as they can.
There are some machines out there that I would never recommend to people with joint pain but they are buying them thinking they are the right one and end up returning it and never giving whole body vibration another chance. There are other people that buy the right one and use it every day and get great results.
Not all joint conditions are created equal. Some people have worn away cartilage, others due to losing mineral deposits from an acidic diet over the years. Some people are still in the inflammation state from an old injury and this has lead to degeneration.
The ballistic impact is what I try to avoid for people who have joint pain. I try to find a machine with the highest G force but providing that force for just a fraction of a second. A really jarring vibration machine might send 5G force over a period of .05 second while a more soothing machine will deliver that same 5G force over .03 seconds. If a machine is doing 15 cycles of that per second even a slight difference in the stress under time can add up to a lot over days and weeks.