Bakersfield resident Joanne Brinkley has had osteoporosis for two years, which has led to a cracked shoulder and ribs, and vertigo. Doctors suggested injections to help her, but the side effects were not worth it. 

Instead, she's been doing a short 15 minute workout once a week for five months at OsteoStrong, where she exerts hundreds of pounds of force to trigger bone growth. So far, she explained, the results have been positive: her bone density has gone up 9.6 percent since September 2019, and her balance has improved.

"I don't feel like I'll pass out whenever I do something strenuous," Brinkley said. 

The need for increasing bone density has become more and more important. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Additionally, one in three women 50 and older will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one in five men worldwide. People are living longer and are not as active as they once were, which contribute to bone loss.

Since OsteoStrong opened in Bakersfield last January at 4000 Stockdale Highway Suite C, two clients have gone from having osteoporosis to having osteopenia, where bone loss is not as severe. One client has even increased their bone density so much they no longer have osteopenia, explained co-owner Vikram Deol, who operates the center with his father, Dr. Shivinder Deol, a family doctor who specializes in preventative care and anti-aging.

The secret these clients have discovered is all in the amount of force they are putting on their body. 

"When you go to the gym and you’re lifting a 15 pound weight, that isn’t enough pressure put on the body to strengthen the bone," Deol said.

It takes around 4.2 multiples of body weight to trigger lower body bone growth, so for every 100 pounds a person weighs, they need 420 pounds to see growth.

"You can’t do that at the gym, but you can do it here safely," he added.

When members come in for a weekly session, they warm up on a vibration platform and then hop on four different devices — a chest press, leg press, core pull and vertical lift — that target four major parts of the body.

The difference is these machines don't have any weights on them. Instead, as users pull or push, electronic displays show how many pounds of force they are exerting.

Interested clients receive a free trial session and bone scan to test the equipment out.

First-time user Debbie Loomis saw the center advertised on her Instagram feed and decided to give it a shot on Jan. 23. Though she said she isn't experiencing any problems, she had Ménière's disease in the past, which is an inner ear disorder that causes vertigo.

As she tried out each machine, it seemed like she was fully expecting a tough and sweaty workout. Instead, "It feels like nothing," she said to Deol, even as she produced 246 pounds of force on the upper growth trigger machine and 260 pounds of force on her her core.

But that's one of the attractive parts of OsteoStrong, Deol said. There's no sweating or exhaustion involved, but in just 15 minutes once a week, the results could be drastic.

Rebecca Seitz has experienced improvements like Brinkley. She has had osteoporosis for five years, and after almost a year of weekly sessions has noticed she's gotten stronger and that her balance has improved.

Deol himself went from a bone density scan showing results of -1.2 in 2018 — which indicates osteopenia — to -0.3 this year, which is normal bone density.

"You can come into this place right after work, on your lunch break, you don’t have to change, it's on your way to your daily activities and you do your body so much good," he said.

Those interested in learning more about OsteoStrong can call 661-306-7836 or email info@osteostrongbakersfield.com.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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