Planet Fitness franchises around the country have been adding a piece of equipment to their gyms called the Total Body Enhancement. In this article, we will explain exactly what it is, how you can use it and what the pros and cons of this latest piece of red light therapy technology.
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What is Total Body Enhancement?
Total body enhancement is the name given to a red light therapy booth combined with a vibrating footplate manufactured by a company called Beauty Angel and designed for use in planet fitness gyms throughout the country.
This piece of equipment looks like a stand-up tanning booth, and that is mostly what it is, minus the UV tanning tubes. The tanning tubes are replaced with Red Light Therapy tubes that emit a safe, visible red light. . The fluorescent tubes inside this booth emit minimum UV light, no more than a standard fluorescent tube you would find in an overhead light.
Each booth contains these red light tubes on every side, providing your entire body with a blast of rejuvenating red light.
The peak wavelength of light emitted by this machine is 618nm, along with peaks at 696nm, 702nm.
A small amount of blue and green light is also emitted from this device.
These three colour combined give the light a white/pink hue to the human eye.
In addition to the red light-producing bulbs, the booth contains a vibrating foot plate named the Vibra Shape. The Vibra Shape has four different intensity settings. We won’t go into the science of that on this page. Still, studies have shown that whole-body shaking can provide similar metabolic benefits as walking on the treadmill, excluding the cardiovascular benefits.
The below is taken from the Beauty Angel website about the Vibra shape platform
Thanks to Vibra Shape, the BEAUTY ANGEL not only offers an innovative Beauty Light treatment, it also provides training that is easy on the joints. The patented see-sawing function simulates normal walking, which means the side-alternating vibration plate is a 100% physiological training method. It trains all of the muscles from the legs up into the abdomen and back. Regardless of whether you are young or old: The four individual Vibra Shape programmes will help you to achieve your goal quickly. In the total privacy of an enclosed booth, naturally Beauty Angel website
How to use Total Body Enhancement
You can use total body enhancement whenever you like. The manufacturers recommend that you use the booth 2-3 times per week, for 12 minutes over a period of 90 days. and leave 24 hours between sessions.
Ideal use of the total body enhancement booth would be post workout. One of the best parts of red light therapy is that it stimulates natural repair and reduces inflammation which is ideal if you have either been lifting weights or have had a hard, cardiovascular workout.
The vibrating platform on its lower sessions acts like a massage by shaking your muscles with gentle vibrations. Great for loosening up after a workout.
The higher intensity levels are designed to mimic the effects of walking on a treadmill so you may want to avoid that if you have already had a hard workout.
You do not need to use if post workout. You could use it as a standalone treatment. We won’t go into all the benefits of red light therapy here.
A common question we are asked is “how do I use the machine?”. From people we have spoken to, the staff at planet fitness aren’t sure how and why people should use this and instructions are not freely available.
Planet fitness, if you are listening, add some instructions to the booth or at the very least train your staff how to use it!
We have tried to put together a explanation of how to use the machine below. You need to be aware that each planet fitness gym that has Total body enhancement booth may have slightly different models, but hopefully, the below picture should at least help guide you as you figure it out.
Total Body Enhancement User Guide
Before you begin, here are a few pointers:
- Remove all Jewellery, including piercings.
- For best results, remove any cosmetics
- Stand up straight and in the center of the device during the application.
- Bend knees slightly.
- Use overhead straps for support and to increase muscle tension.
- Wearing eye protection or keeping your eyes closed is recommended
Each 12 minute program starts with a warm-up phase and ends with a cooling-down phase. A vibration program normally lasts for 10 minutes of the 12 minute session. The lamps will remain illuminated for the entire 12 minute session. Voice guide prompts will inform you at the start and end of the VibraShape session.
The VibraShape allows you to choose from four different programs, each offering varying levels of targeted muscle stimulation, exercise and massage intensity.
To control the total body enhancement machine, you will need to use the controller that is located inside the booth.
Climb into the booth, close the door and position yourself in the middle.
Now you will need to select the vibrating intensity. To do this:
- Press left or right on the controller (#2 or #12 on the diagram) until the feet icon is lit up.
- Press up or down to select the required program.
You will see a number in the display, this is the program you are selecting. Number 1 is the gentlest and number 4 is the most vigorous.
It is recommended to start with number 1 so you can experience the vibration and see if you have any adverse effects.
To begin the 12 minute session: press the start button.
The platform will begin vibrating and the lights will come on. To just switch off the lamps but leave the vibrating platform on, press the start/stop button. To turn everything off, hold down the start/stop button.
You can turn the fan speed up and down too Just use the left and right arrows buttons to select the fan icon and then press up or down to choose a fan intensity level.
During this process you should hear a voice guide as you press the buttons. If you do not here this, you can switch it on. To do this, press left or right until the voice guide icon is lit (#10 on the diagram) and then press down.
What should I wear in the total body enhancement machine
If you are using the machine for the vibration feature only then it doesn’t matter what you wear. Just wear your usual gym clothes / active wear.
If you want to take advantage of the red light therapy then you must expose the areas you want to treat to the red light. Red light does not penetrate through clothes. It must shine directly on your skin.
We would recommend exposing as much of your skin as you can or as you feel comfortable with. If you are going to spend time in one of these machines you might as well take full advatage.
While we do not recommend going nude (you don’t want to give anyone an unexpected shock!) being in your underwear would allow you to preserve your modesty as well as exposing a very large area of your body to the light source.
Who should not use the Total Body Enhancement machine?
The manufacturer states that the following should not use the machine:
- People with a body weight of more than 300 lbs
- Pregnant women
- People with epilepsy
- People with illnesses which cause light sensitivity or are aggravated by light.
- People younger than 18 should have parental permission
- People who take medication or herbal remedies which cause light sensitivity (e.g. antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, antifungal agents or St. Johns wort).
- People with DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
- People with fresh wounds following an operation or surgery
- People with pacemakers
- People suffering from retinal detachment
- People with acute osteoporosis
Total Body Enhancement pros and cons
There really aren’t any cons to using this machine. Especially if you already have a planet fitness gym card. There are only two that I can think of;
- The lack of guidance about how to use the machine
- You will need to upgrade your basic gym membership to the planet fitness black card (more on this below)
In my opinion, both of these are minor points.
The pros are extensive. If you have read through this site, you will know that we are passionate about red light therapy and all the benefits it brings. For those of you who are going to a planet fitness gym already or are thinking about joining, below are just a couple of pros that I think you will find useful.
- Build up of Collagen in the skin
- Improved complexion
- Skin that feels better
- Reduction in skin roughness
- Fewer fine lines
Total Body Enhancement machine side effects
Other than feeling a little odd standing on a vibrating platform or a little stupid not knowing how to turn the machine on there are a couple of other side effects that the manufacturer warns about.
- Itching in regions of the body being trained
- Nausea and vertigo
- Rapid and brief drop in blood pressure
- Rapid hyperglycemia in the event of diabetes
These are all linked to the use of the Vibra Shape. Vibrations can cause or aggravate health problems. If you are unsure if you have a problem that could be aggravated it is wise to speak to your physician before using this machine.
While I have not experienced any of these, everyone reacts differently to different stimuli so you should be careful on your first try of this machine.
What I can inform you of with certainty is that there are no noted adverse side effects of red light therapy currently. In all the studies done (over 4000 to date) no negative side effects have been noted.
What is unlimited Total Body Enhancement?
Unlimited total body enhancement is a feature with the most expensive Planet fitness membership option. When I say most expensive, it isn’t expensive at all! It usually costs $21.99 per month although this does vary by location.
This membership is known as the Planet Fitness Black card. It allows you to have unlimited to total body enhancement sessions at no extra cost, provided the planet fitness franchise has one of these booths and is a participating location.
As red light therapy sessions in beauty or tanning salon can potentially cost more than this for one course, it is a good bargain
Who makes the Total Body Enhancement machine?
A German company called Beauty Angel makes the total body enhancement machines. Beauty Angel is a brand of a larger company called the JK Group. This group of German companies has been manufacturing wellness and beauty equipment for over 40 years and has representation in more than 50 countries.
Why are the lights white?
The lights may appear to be white/pink color to the human eye. This is because of the use of fluorescent tubes, which contain a few other wavelengths of light, rather than an LED source which has a much more narrow wavelength of light emitted.
They should not be bright white. If they are then this machine is not a red light therapy machine.