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Ads for Juvent keep popping up in my Facebook feed. It is a small micro-impact vibrating platform that looks similar to a bathroom scale. Standing on it for only 10 minutes a day is said to provide these benefits:

  • Better Bone Health
  • Less Joint Pain
  • Better Range of Motion
  • Better Circulation
  • Better Lymphatic Drainage
  • Faster Recovery
  • Enhanced Strength

They claim that “it is impossible to achieve total health without a sufficient amount of skeletal impact.” Standing on the Juvent platform for 10-20 minutes a day just 3 days a week “has been shown to help improve blood flow, ease joint, knee and back pain, and increase stability.” I couldn’t find any studies to support that claim. Its software allegedly “calibrates frequency to your body’s unique composition”, finding your body’s specific resonant frequency between 32 and 37 Hz. Within 12 seconds, it “adjusts to ideally fit his or her body, so multiple users of any shape and size can safely benefit.” Its patented mechanism moves you up and down by less than the width of two human hairs.

They call it “high frequency”, but 32-37 Hz is a very low frequency. Why do they think the body’s resonant frequency is between 32 and 37 Hz? And why do they think supplying it is beneficial? I question whether it is appropriate to speak of the specific resonant frequency of a whole living organism. A 2001 study by engineers assumed it was, but they said that exposure to the resonant frequency may cause undue stress and discomfort in the human body, and that researchers had determined the human whole-body resonant frequency to be either 5 Hz or 10 Hz. Other researchers have reported different resonant frequencies for different parts of the body.

The cost of the regular platform is $4,995.00; the “Pro” version costs $5,195.00. The only difference from the standard unit is the color. They try to justify the high price by saying they test extensively and calibrate the devices to within one 10,000th of an inch. They bad-mouth less expensive devices and brag that their motherboards are gold-layered for corrosion resistance and durability.

Juvent is “registered” with the FDA, a process that does not require premarket review. It is not “FDA approved.”

Testimonials

They provide lots of testimonials reporting improved balance, relief of pain from injuries and arthritis, improved golf swing, reduced PSA levels, relief of knee pain and swelling due to Lyme disease, relief of knee pain from medial meniscus tear injury, complete relief of restless leg syndrome, reduced swelling, and much more.

One woman says she has used Juvent every day for 4 ½ years and her balance and bone density have improved, and the inflamed nerves in her feet have healed. Her medical knowledge is shaky; she says “I AM USING A NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT (PROTOCEL) FOR MY BREAST CANCER AND I MUST BE ABLE TO EXERCISE DAILY IN ORDER TO CLEAN OUT MY LYMPH SYSTEMS OF DEAD CANCER CELLS AND I USE MY JUVENT DAILY TO DO THIS.” The National Cancer Institute website tells us “The ingredients thought to be in Protocel have been tested, and none of them have been shown to be effective in treating any form of cancer. Protocel is not available in the United States.”

The evidence

As evidence, they offer “white papers”. In a clever marketing ploy, they make you sign up to get access to their evidence; and when you do, they start bombarding your email account with messages. The papers cite a few studies, but they are not actually evidence for the specific device they are selling. Many of the studies looked at whole body vibration. Juvent makes a big deal of distinguishing between Juvent’s low magnitude, high frequency micro displacement technology and the high to mid magnitude, high frequency, high displacement technology of whole-body vibrators. They even offer a table differentiating [PDF] between the two types of vibration.

They cite mouse studies whose findings may not be applicable to humans. One of them failed to show enhancement of bone or muscle by low-intensity vibration training. A study of human patients with spinal cord injury showed no improvement of bone density in response to vibration training.

They mention a study showing that Micro-Impact Therapy improves bone density in pediatric cancer survivors. And a study showing that low-magnitude high-frequency vibration enhances bone remodeling in osteoporotic rat femoral fracture healing. They cite a number of other studies that show benefits for whole body vibration. Juvent does not supply whole body vibration, and in a small study of 8 men with spinal cord injury (SCI) and 10 men without, when Juvent was compared to WAVE whole body vibration plates, the patients with SCI preferred the WAVE.

The NASA connection

They call it “Space Age Technology”. What are they talking about? Astronauts have decreased bone density after their sojourn in space. That’s not from lack of vibration, but from lack of gravity. They claim that micro-impact vibration is essential to health for everyone, not just returning astronauts. They say we used to get the vibrations by going barefoot, and now we need to get it from their machines. I guess they don’t want you to go barefoot, because they offer ridiculously expensive sandals. They also sell water filters and dietary supplements. Their HydroxyBMD AM/PM Bone Health System starts at $165.78. It contains a strange mixture of ingredients.

Conclusion: no good reason to buy Juvent

They extrapolate from a few suggestive studies and the evidence of bone loss in astronauts to say that everyone would benefit from using the Juvent device. They promise you will “feel better every day.” They fail to make their case. It might benefit some people with osteoporosis or poor balance, but the evidence is far from clear, and there’s no evidence that it would benefit people who didn’t have those problems. The marketing is slick, but the claims are not credible. I wonder how many potential customers will be seduced by the hype. I predict that they probably won’t sell many devices because the cost of $5,000 will be prohibitive for the average consumer.

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Posted by Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc, is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. She received her BA and MD from the University of Washington, did her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so),  and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base. During a long career as an Air Force physician, she held various positions from flight surgeon to DBMS (Director of Base Medical Services) and did everything from delivering babies to taking the controls of a B-52. She retired with the rank of Colonel.  In 2008 she published her memoirs, Women Aren't Supposed to Fly.