How the Pulse Device Can Be Used in Physical Therapy

vibration therapy physical therapy

Pulse Device for Physical Therapy

The Pulse Device has proven to be a great tool for physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. The goal of this article is to showcase how and why the Pulse Device is a great tool for physical therapy and to teach you exactly how to implement it into yours or your patients rehabilitation process.

 

How, When, Why’s:

 

How: The Pulse Device combines facilitative proprioceptive tapping with low-frequency vibration stimulation to enhance your mind-muscle connection and increased targeted muscle activation during isolated exercises. We essentially took the concept of muscle tapping, where your trainer gently taps on the target muscle during your set, and combined it with vibrations similar to the ones used in Whole Body Vibration (WBV) training.

 

When: The Pulse Device is meant to be used during isolated exercises or recovery where you’re trying to target and aid one specific muscle. It works especially well on stubborn/latent muscles that are a result of an injury, poor proprioception, or neuromuscular issues.

 

Why: Often times after an injury it can take people months and even years to retrain their central nervous system and get their motor learning skills back to 100%. It’s highly common for people to accidentally engage accessory muscles, joints, and tendons instead of the area of focus because they’re simply not used to activating the injured muscle anymore. We’ve found that with the Pulse Device, users are able to speed up this recovery process and get lasting proprioceptive benefits that carry on even when they aren’t using the device. The mind body connection that the Pulse Device creates by providing an attentional cue is fundamental in post-surgical rehab programs and is really the big difference between us and EMS devices that simply cause involuntary contractions. In addition, the Pulse Device is very comfortable, user friendly, and easy for anyone to operate.

 

Modes & Use Cases:

 

Warm-Up Mode: These settings utilize higher frequencies (30hz+) in order to increase muscle excitability and prepare them for intense training or activity. Because of the high frequency, these settings will trigger the tonic vibration reflex (TVR), which means that muscle spindles will gently contract.

Use Cases: These settings are meant for use while resting or performing dynamic stretches prior to exercise in order to improve circulation, reduce injury risk, increase force output, and increase range of motion. This is great for use by athletes prior to training/games, powerlifters before workouts, or just anyone who wants to reduce injury risk for upcoming activity.

 

Performance – Standard Mode: These settings utilize low frequencies (<30hz) and are built for isolated exercises where you’re training with weight that is <=60% of your 1 rep max. Because of the low frequency, these settings will not cause involuntary contractions but will still increase activation. These are designed to repetitively draw your attentional focus to the target muscle, enhancing your mind-muscle connection and gently increasing motor unit recruitment so that you can train without nearly any changes to your normal workout routine.

Use Cases: These settings are meant for use during weight training when the user wants to improve proprioception and activation with a specific muscle or draw engagement away from a problem area (bad joint, etc.). This is great for those suffering from an injury that inhibited their neuromuscular function or a weight lifter that has a stubborn muscle that they can’t seem to properly target.

 

Performance – Guided Reps Mode: These settings are designed to create a tempo/pace during training so that you can perform cleaner and more effective repetitions. Two of these settings also utilize much higher frequencies (100hz+), which have been shown to dramatically increase maximal strength and power output. Another great thing about these high frequencies is that they’ve been shown to allow users to achieve the same level of muscle activation while lifting lighter weights, therefore increasing muscular stress while reducing the mechanical load on the muscle and therefore reducing the risk of injury during lifting.

Use Cases: These settings are great for building tempo during normal weight training or for use during prehab exercises where you’re trying to restore biomechanics and improve performance. These settings also provide a much stronger sense of stimulation and serve as a great alternative to the standard performance settings for more experienced weight lifters or people rehabilitating from more serious injuries that have resulted in loss of feeling (nerve impingement, etc.). Additionally, these settings are a great tool for patients recovering from serious injury and or surgery who medical professionals do not want to stress with high effort or heavy weights.

 

Recovery Mode: These settings utilize higher frequencies (30hz+) in order to aid muscle relief and speed up recovery. Because of the high frequency, these settings will also trigger the tonic vibration reflex (TVR), which has been shown to enhance the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells and support their functioning, resulting in improved blood circulation.

Use Cases: These settings are great for anyone in need of muscle relief and can be used while resting for gentle pain modulation, reducing soreness, and relieving tension. They can also be used during PNF stretches post exercise in order to increase range of motion and flexibility. This is especially great for athletes or other fitness enthusiasts dealing with DOMS, tightness, or aching muscles 1-3 days after intense training or activity. This serves as a great alternative to massage guns for people that want to be able to go about their day while recovering or want a more gentle and comfortable alternative.

 

Best Practices:

 

  • Pause the vibrations in-between sets. When you keep the vibrations on in one spot for more than ~20 minutes at a time, you will experience neural fatigue which inhibits your ability to feel the sensation of the vibrations.
  • Utilize higher frequency settings (like in the Guided Reps Mode) for more experienced weight lifters that require more stimulation.
  • If you have high body fat or high muscle density, you may want to apply pressure to the device by putting it under a compression sleeve (which we are releasing over the coming weeks), KT tape, or tight clothing in order to get the vibrations to penetrate deeper. Same goes for someone that has very moist or hairy skin and needs help keeping the device in place.