Seren, 9, was born with mild cerebral palsy, although her symptoms did not become apparent until she was analyzed for delayed walking. At that point, doctors realised she had limited movement in her left lower leg and foot.
From Able Magazine #109 (January/February 2014)
Seren has little control of her left foot, due to nerve pathways being interrupted at the hip. In addition to her foot being slightly turned inward, her left leg is weaker than her right leg as the muscles are less well-developed. This causes Seren to use her right leg to bear most of her weight and manage her movement.
She is able to walk, with a limp, and can partake in most school sports and activities, with the exception of hopping or balancing on her left leg. Seren has learned to cope with her weaker left foot and leg and will manage this imbalance for the rest of her life.
Whole body vibration training with Power Plate® has substantially helped Seren’s ongoing healthcare. Engineered precisely to apply the science behind a body’s natural response to destabilisation, Power Plate technology uses a vibrating platform to amplify the effects of any exercise performed. It creates a consistent, controlled level of vibration – referred to as harmonic vibration – that moves the platform up and down, forward and back and side to side. The platform produces 25 to 50 vibrations per second, at precisely controlled amplitudes, which triggers reflexive contractions in the muscles, the body’s natural response to the destabilisation.
Seren’s mother Dani was inspired to try Power Plate with Seren, based on her own positive experience of the training method.
“I use Power Plate for its fitness benefits and enjoy the sense of the vibrating plate and the response of my muscles as they stabilise my body,” says Dani, 36. “Knowing that Seren has little control in her left foot and her muscles are weaker on that side of her body, it occurred to me that the Power Plate might help,” she says.
As the muscle contractions are involuntary, reflexive, rapid, and repetitive, even people who lack strength or control of their body and cannot exercise in the traditional way are able to use the device to gain the health benefits including increased circulation, muscle toning, and strengthening. In many cases, training on a Power Plate machine can help build sufficient strength and mobility to allow the individual to begin exercising independently.
Seren started off very gently under the guidance of Chrissie Rees, a personal trainer at ActiveVibe in Caerphilly. She immediately felt the muscles in her left leg being activated involuntarily in response to the vibrating plate. She thoroughly enjoys using the Power Plate and has one 25 minute session per week. In addition to stimulating her left foot and leg, she uses it to strengthen her core muscles and encourage better body balance.
“Power Plate helps Seren to be fully aware of her entire body and by strengthening her core and leg muscles, it can help her cope with the weakness in her left foot and leg,” says Chrissie. “Power Plate enables us to isolate Seren’s left foot and leg and really work these muscles specifically. As she gains more strength through her involuntary, reflexive muscle action she can minimise the impact of her weakness.”