Toning beds are motorized devices that gently exercise and stretch the muscles in the body. They often are used for rehabilitative purposes or as an exercise program for senior citizens and others who have difficulty doing traditional exercise programs. Some people simply enjoy using the toning beds, which typically are offered at specialty fitness salons or tanning salons.
Some reported benefits of using toning beds are increasing muscle tone, correcting posture, losing inches around the waist, increasing strength and flexibility and reducing cellulite. By contrast, critics say the machines do not provide an aerobic workout. As with any exercise program, the benefits and results can depend on the amount of persistence and effort a person puts into it.
Fitness salons often emphasize the convenience of using toning beds. The exercises can be done in street clothing, eliminating the need to buy expensive exercise workout clothes. Little to no sweating also occurs, so there usually is no need to take a shower after using one.
These beds resemble a medical doctor’s examination table or a hospital bed. A person typically sits or lies on the bed to perform an exercise. The position of the person using the bed depends on the specific muscle group being stretched or exercised.
Toning beds work by isolating certain muscles, which is similar to the techniques used in exercise programs such as Pilates or yoga. Although the beds are motorized, some effort is required by the user. This typically is done by tightening certain muscle groups or moving them slightly to receive maximum toning benefits.
All areas of the body can be exercised without placing any stress on the joints. Various type of these beds target the waist, stomach, inner and outer thighs, legs and hips. To see the best results, some fitness salons recommend using the toning beds for at least a total of two hours per week.
A exercise program also can include the use of a machine that provides a gentle vibrating motion across the body. This is intended to increase circulation and loosen excess water or toxins in the body. The lymphatic system then carries toxins away from cells and sends them to the kidneys where they are processed and eventually released by the body.
Toning beds trace their roots back to the 1930s. Biochemist Bernard H. Stauffer is credited with inventing the first device after studying anatomy, physiology and body movement. The first one was called an Induced Rhythmic Motion (IRM) table.