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Doug: Okay well today I’m really excited to have Jo-Anne Weltman from smile therapy for kids on uh for our expert interview uh about Hypervibe and I just really appreciate your investment time Jo-Anne so welcome.

Jo-Anne: Thank you so much I’m so excited to be here.

Doug: My pleasure. So, I’m curious Jo-Anne if you don’t mind share a little bit about your business and what it is that you do at smile therapy for kids.

Jo-Anne: Smile therapy for kids is an all-inclusive holistic therapy clinic for children with various needs normally developing children to children with special needs and we have all the services here so we provide to physiotherapy or physical therapy speech language pathology we have RMI functional therapy we have vision consultants. We bring in as many different people as we can to service all the needs of the children that we see.

Doug: Wow so what is the with the typical age or like when do you see children like from what age all the way to what age.

Jo-Anne: We start from birth and um the oldest children we have right now are about 15-16.

Doug: Fascinating and so um what um what are some of the main challenges or conditions that you typically see children for based upon your experience and just what you’re seeing with your business

Jo-Anne: We see children with any diagnosis so it could be neurological and things like cerebral palsy and we have different genetic conditions that we see down syndrome we have spinal conditions and we also see normally developing children with orthopedic conditions as well and one of the we see children post surgeries and one of the big surgeries that we’ve seen kids um now um undergo uh is the selective dorsal rhizotomy which is SDR and that’s normally with children with cerebral palsy.

Doug: Oh, wow very interesting so and then you’ve been at this for how long and why would you I think.

Jo-Anne: My goodness I’ve been at this forever um I feel like a dinosaur. I’ve been I think close to 30 years now um working in pediatrics and I’ve been fortunate enough to pursue this career not just in Toronto Canada but all over the world so I started in south Africa, Johannesburg, San Diego California my favorite spot in the whole wide world Auckland New Zealand but I’ve been in Toronto for 24 years now. So, I’ve met so many people from around the world I’ve worked with experts in every area there is because that’s one of our passions that smile is to reach out consult um do courses with anyone and everyone who’s got the knowledge to increase the level of care that we can provide to the children that we see the more knowledge we have the more we combine different approaches the more we can help each child because each child has a different sensory system a different nervous system and they respond to different input and to find the right combination for each child takes a lot of um exploring and investigating and trying of different techniques

Doug: Wow that’s fascinating so I’m curious then you know within physical therapy and you see so many different conditions that you treat and I’m sure there’s a number of different modalities and modalities and approaches that you utilize how is it that you first heard about the whole body vibration and became aware of the benefits of full body vibration.

Jo-Anne: So with whole body vibration um I came across it because I try and keep up with research as much as possible so I’m constantly if I’m in the car I’m listening to podcasts um on any kind of research and I listen to different experts giving talks and presentations and I came across it through a combination of listening to the podcasts dealing with research and other experts and became quite curious about this vibration plate so I actually got myself a very basic vibration plate and that’s how I started but then soon learned that that actually wasn’t good enough and we can go into that a little bit more

Doug: Yeah sounds great um so with that I am I’m curious um what as you’re doing this research and understanding um the potentiality of the benefits for whole body vibration with different conditions what stood out for you in terms of specific conditions and what it could help um the body for and again in your case with children’s bodies.

Jo-Anne: So, what we started hearing more and more about vibration especially with the kids that come back from um having SDR selected dorsal root rhizotomy uh where they cut the sensory nerves in the spine to get rid of spasticity and a lot of work was done with the height of the vibration plates in saint louis with Dr Park he’s one of the first people that started to suggest that children start using this post-surgery. That’s when I got the basic vibration plate we started to use it with a lot of the kids that came back and then I started doing more and more research into the different vibration frequencies and the different machines and how they actually worked we started using it mostly with the children who had the surgery and then found it very effective in a lot of our children with different conditions whether it be neurological or orthopedic and for different reasons. The sensory information that they get from the machine itself affects all children. When you have the surgery that cut the sensory nerves so there’s a loss of that sensory input that we know we’ve got the sensory motor loop that needs to occur for the brain to so the sensory comes in and the brain needs to react with the motor output and that is missing. One of the great things that the vibration plate does is it does give that very strong proprioceptive sensory information for these children to almost replace what is now missing. For those children we found it absolutely essential to be used and post-surgery but honestly, it’s been life-changing for a lot of the other kids that we work with. Not just because of the sensory but because of the um the strengthening the stretching out of muscles the relaxation the normalization of tone. Many years ago, when I worked in neurodevelopmental therapy in South Africa when we were working with stroke victims and we were taught by the Bobaths to use vibration to normalize tone. So, way back when um I knew about vibration but this vibration that you can elicit as a therapist by handling and then there’s this level of vibration that the machine can give which is totally different. Another thing that we find a lot with our kids is that they suffer from osteopenia osteoporosis because they’re not moving enough, they’re not getting enough muscle contraction. Muscle contraction we know and makes stronger bones and we have kids who will roll over and fracture a bone. So, the vibration in itself we know especially with all the studies with older people it’s one of the most important outcomes that you can get from this machine is that you can strengthen bones. We’re giving a lot of different things happening with this vibration plate not just strengthening you get muscle relaxation the you know increasing bone density um this is something that helps a lot of the children that we that we work with.

Doug: You know I appreciate that night and I know that you and I share uh a common belief and passion about how important movement is for children and adults. That you know even going back to the original studies and the reason why whole body vibration really came onto the scene was the research with astronauts that go into space that when the body’s not being um exposed to pressure or gravity in this case that that muscles start to atrophy bones become less dense and unfortunately in our society today so many people are not moving their bodies as much as they used to. You know multiple generations ago because we have a more of a sentient lifestyle where people are watching television sitting in cars adults certainly sitting in their work environments for extended periods of time and the body’s not moving and therefore over time starts to gradually decay. And children specifically oftentimes yes their bodies are not being exposed to movements and therefore muscles and bones are not developing so I’m sure I think what I’m hearing from you is that experience of seeing one the research as well as an actual application that you’re actually seeing benefits by having children be exposed to whole body vibration in controlled environments so it’s safe but while also very stimulating.

Jo-Anne: Exactly and one of the recent studies that I was just looking at now was on children who have osteogenesis imperfecta which is brittle bone disease. I actually thought it was a contraindication to put a child with OI onto a vibration machine but um the studies show that it’s actually helping them to improve their bone density so if it can help those children it can help anybody.

Doug: That’s fascinating so I’m curious how you first found out about Hypervibe and what specifically stood out with Hypervibe um and the distinctions that you notice between that and other platforms that you were right?

Jo-Anne: Right, so, actually I’ve been able to compare it to a few platforms so the very basic platforms that you get and that you can go on to Amazon you can go on you can buy them from anywhere those basic platforms sometimes they go move side to side sometimes up and down but the frequency of vibration is only good enough to maybe do a little bit of balance retraining that’s it and you’re not going to get much of a vibration that will move into tone reduction and strengthening and I realized that very quickly when I did get the Hypervibe the difference is incredible and the results totally change. That vibration those vibration plates are great but not good enough. So, I started doing research because I needed to get something better for the children than the basic vibration plate. I did I looked into the comparison between the Hypervibe and the other vibration plate out there that is comparable and there really is just the two of them with the mechanics that allow you to get to that level of vibration to make those changes. I did I compared I looked at the research I spoke to experts and I had to remember that this technology it’s great that kids come in for therapy and they can access the vibration plate but I needed something that other their parents could get for home something that was cost effective but worked. If I was going to use that device and my parents were going to use that device, I wanted to make sure that I was giving them just as good a device to use at home and not to buy something cheap that wasn’t going to have the effect because these children need that therapy every single day. With Covid we’ve realized with all the parents that we’re working with the changes that are made because the parents are actually working every single day with these kids is unbelievable so um yes they need to have a really good machine so I actually had both of the top side by side next to each other and I compared them in the vibration and I can say that the Hypervibe is more comfortable it’s smoother it’s less jerky and the input is just more tolerable and easier to work with. That was one of the big things that I found with the Hypervibe cost I mean you cannot get better than the Hypervibe for what you’re getting in the ability to you know to afford it as a parent and it’s doable it’s really doable. The other device is excellent as well I’m not going to say it’s not but the cost is quite extreme.

Doug: Yeah so and one of the things I do love about the benefits of the Hypervibe is having that capacity to one have the pivotal platform because as you know our hips move independently of one another so the linear platforms don’t give that that capacity for the hips to move independently and then the other thing is the capacity to also go into the lower frequencies does as you mentioned earlier it can help with balance and proprioception. So you do benefits on the lower frequencies and there’s like almost like I’m not a golfer but on a golf course you have different um you have different clubs for different ranges and so in certain cases you may want to have that power but in other cases you may want to also go a little bit slower and be able to work the balance and so having that benefit of being able to do both with the Hypervibe is another great thing as well that we see a lot of our people um you know just sharing and having benefits from. So, I’m curious um with um your experience working with Hypervibe and your client of what are some of the your favorite stories or experiences that you’ve seen first in terms of outcomes and benefits?

Jo-Anne: We’ve seen so many different um improvements with the children one of the uh major things that I’ve found um children have something called dystonia so the children with cerebral palsy and there is this um stop almost the start or the switch off that they get with movement or if they’re emotional and the Hypervibe I think it’s more sent the sensory input almost seems to tone that down um that is one of the things I’ve seen with one of the children ice that we’ve seen that have had SDR now the spasticity is removed and they have this dystonia and it’s almost like they trying to maintain me standing in their village to stay up but it’s the sensory lack of sensory and awareness causes them to startle and they have less feeling of where they are in space so without the Hypervibe they said tend to startle a little bit too much and they get the switch off in their muscles with the Hypervibe and that sensory input that constant input and giving them a lot more information to where their joints are in space they don’t startle as much they start to calm settle organize the muscles get stronger and the proprioceptive information from their joints becomes stronger in itself as well and they feel more confident in space in their own startles so that is something very different than a lot of people don’t talk about when it comes to vibration um it’s very unique um the other things we’ve seen and we know because um the children go for obviously the bone scans um and they found that they their density has improved they’ve had improvements in um alignment so scoliosis that’s improved um there’s the muscle ranges have improved because you do a lot of stretching and strength is um these kids are getting stronger in all areas of their body so the posture is improving because they getting the proprioceptive input and as you said the side to side rocking motion um that you have that that mimics gate and it almost loosens up the joints um as the as they’re on the machine all of this is impacting the child um and their pelvis and their postures um we have children who don’t sit on their own but you put them on the Hypervibe and they start to learn to sit up by themselves because of the sensory information because of the vibration that is increasing tone all of that all together at once is making those changes and these children are feeling what it’s like to submit own they then the brain is registering the sensation and what it feels like and um it’s impacting the ability to sit on the own on the floor same with standing we have some children who cannot push up against gravity in space because they’re just not getting enough information from gravity from the environment you put them on the Hypervibe and that extra information that you get as you said like the astronauts it’s giving you extra gravity extra support they can stand that’s that support is given to them and they can strengthen next stand and they can hold their the right combination of muscles they can activate them all and coordinate that activation and learn what it feels like to maintain a position in space and then off the machine it’s the same thing they start to put it all together

Doug: Yeah it’s that concept I think of neuromuscular re-education uh I’ve gone through that myself I had an l5s1 microdiscectomy and my s1 nerve which is the nerve that connects to the left calf was very damaged and for nine months after surgery I couldn’t lift my heel off the ground on my own I and so the nerve wasn’t connecting to the muscle and so uh by using the Hypervibe for myself it even my surgeon said Doug you may never you may never get the use of your calf back again it just you just need to kind of be prepared for that and I’m one of those people like that’s a challenge and I said okay game on and how can I how can I work with that but so much of the um the different therapies I was doing for myself weren’t working and I know that using that and standing on my calf and doing the calf raises over and over again it gradually came back over time so it does do something to stimulate that and when you’re looking at the number of vibrations per second and the signals that’s being sent to the brain it’s helping to the brain either learn or relearn how to have that movement back again and stimulating those connections.

Jo-Anne: Right and the opposite to that we have our toe walkers who number one they need to stretch out their calf muscles but they also need to learn just where to stand in space because they’re used to some of the tall walkers are more sensory based and their settings in their brain is to be more forward and so their weight is through the ball of the foot they’re not used to staying back on their heel so that sensory information and it gives them where they should be standing is huge.

Doug: Yeah absolutely.

Jo-Anne: One of the other things I want to mention and one of my passions is the developing hip so we have a lot of children with cerebral palsy and other conditions it could as I said before many genetic conditions where they’re not standing now the hip is a joint that needs to form and grow um with the child as their weight bearing um the acetabulum starts to cover the hip joint um sorry the femur the ball and socket um it needs to start to grow um and the angles need to change for a proper secure joint to form. Now these children are not standing they’re not getting that benefit of standing yes they can stand in a stander but with the Hypervibe we’re also stimulating that acetabulum to form the bones to grow up and form and that joint to form correctly so getting these kids onto the Hypervibe and getting them standing for periods during the day will help with that.

Doug: Wow that’s fascinating I didn’t even think of it that way that’s uh it makes complete sense though.

Jo-Anne: Yeah and you do you need that you need the pressure of the weightbearing for it to occur.

Doug: Yeah absolutely yeah I mean even for ourselves and I have a stand-up desk right now that I’m communicating from and that was the first investment my surgeon told me to get uh after surgery but just the number of hours that the average person and child is sitting and sometimes it’s because of the condition they’re not capable of it but if that’s happening the bones aren’t developing the muscles aren’t developing and even for ourself I look at uh or me and even standing if i’m not moving i’m not getting that circulation of blood going through my system and i’m not activating my muscles that’s also not beneficial so every few hours I just make it a point to go stand on my Hypervibe for a couple minutes and it activates also just the um endorphins in my body and everything else so it’s almost like a nice cup of coffee or tea and I don’t have to have a stimulant I actually get the natural stimulant just by getting on this and then I get to come back I have a more heightened sense of focus and everything else has been activated as a result so i’m sure that that actually works for children especially for those that don’t have the current capacities to be as physically active and therefore they’re not developing at the same rate that other children would be that would otherwise not have those uh those conditions.

Jo-Anne: Yeah so we find that it is very alerting as well because there’s a lot of sensory information that will wake up and alert the system another thing that we are quite curious about is the um the visual in the vestibular system and how it’s impacting our kids with that because they really have to stabilize horizon at the horizon on this machine because there’s so much vibration um and the visual um vestibulo ocular system is one of the more important systems that needs to develop as well with the kids um and unfortunately those kids who are not moving enough don’t get that connection being made because they do not experience the variety of positions that they should um and when we work with the children of the Hypervibe we do we change up the position there’s a lot of that sensory information they the vibration you do have to stabilize when you’re on the machine because of the vibration your vision needs to work a little bit harder to maintain where you are in space so there’s so many so many different um effects that this machine can bring to these kids

Doug: Yeah I appreciate that and so it sounds like also you had mentioned that you know for your business especially in the culvert environments and people being at home much more frequently having time with their children that uh not just while they’re in your um in your office enrollment uh but also kind of giving homework for parents to have their children out at home but you can give hat level of guidance to re to remotely consult your patients so they can actually continue to have that development and not have to come in if it’s not as convenient or even when they are coming in every few weeks or however often it might be to meet with you and your staff that they can actually do things every single day at their home.

Jo-Anne: Right and it’s quite an easy tool to teach parents to use there are so many simple easy exercises that they can do on the Hypervibe and the kids can gain so many benefits for parents handling sometimes can be difficult facilitating and moving children with the Hypervibe it’s pretty easy to teach it really is um there’s so many different ways and bits of equipment that we can add to the Hypervibe to get different um to challenge the child in different ways but it’s still simple enough for the parents to use

Doug: Well what I love about this world that we’re in today even using our video conference software here that we’re on and we’re able to have a conversation from San Diego to Toronto and um and you know understanding that the way that our economy and our way of life is being changed forever after the results of what we’ve been going through here recently with the global pandemic and understanding that um that medical professionals such as yourself can work with and do remote consultations and have patients not just in your necessarily geographic area that are coming to your physical facility but also through video conferencing that you would even have the ability to have um a client from their home with their child and coach them uh on the Hypervibe and give them the exercises and activities and be able to observe their movements um and again nothing in my opinion um is um equal to a physical in-person environment but it’s a very close second um in terms of being able to still be able to give guidance to people and be able to work in a remote environment and ensuring that each one of your patients and clients and children are able to have the steps to continue moving forward in a positive way.

Jo-Anne: Yeah it’s actually um advice or a tool that we use that actually provides quite an intensive intervention in the home compared to many of the other devices or tools that we can use with the parents so not only they getting an intervention but they’re getting a really strong intervention for their child that’s going to make lots of good changes and really easy to teach at home over telehealth really easy.

Doug: Well and I was going to say with telehealth it’s great that you have that ability to be able to still you know if your families have a Hypervibe in their home that you can work with them and really guide them and then the beautiful benefit of it is too with the hyper vibe for those parents that are looking for something for their child if there are any potential challenges or conditions to overcome that it’s also the benefit for the parent too which is great.

Jo-Anne: Exactly, exactly we often get the parents to try the exercise and we get lots of complaints from them because they realize how hard it is and you do need to work and um yep, we have some parents who are using the Hypervibe just with their kids and feeling great.

Doug: Yeah, yeah that’s amazing well I really appreciate your investment time today is there anything else um just top of mind or a message that you would want to share for anyone that may be watching this or discovering or learning more about your business or whole body vibration at Hypervibe?

Jo-Anne: Obviously we are a teaching facility as well we love to share and teach and reach as many parents and therapists as we can and are always open to questions if people have got questions just to email us we’ll get back to you as soon as possible and we often share different exercises and little snippets of ideas that we’re coming up with every single day we come up with something new on the Hypervibe and the kids challenge us so we come up with new things um and you can often see our snippets here and there on our Instagram page that’s mostly where we share information um and yeah if people have got questions we happy to share and do more just let us know

Doug: I appreciate Jo-Anne we will have the smiletherapyforkids.com uh site linked within this uh window here for people to be able to access and please do visit your website and I really appreciate your investment time today and just honor and appreciate the fact that you are working with young children that have conditions there’s such a need for that in our society and I know beyond Hypervibe and whole body vibration it’s just this need that we have in our society for families and children to have access to um different approaches and modalities to get their body moving and activated and stimulating the health and well-being that we all have access to on some life it’s just helping to support that process so thank you so much for your time and I look forward to.

Jo-Anne: I actually have one little thing I forgot to mention just remembered. From a physical therapy or physiotherapist point of view that when you are using the Hypervibe vibration tool you can actually combine it with other therapies it works with other therapies as well so we’ve often combined it with things like the rations muscle stem and you’re just getting extra bang for your back. It’s easy to combine it doesn’t have to be used alone so just remember that as a last little snippet of information that it is multifunctional for many different uses.

Doug: Awesome well thank you so much and I definitely look forward to continuing the dialogue with you.

Jo-Anne: Good thanks so much.

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