“Get amazing abs in just minutes a day while you rest!”
“Fabulous abs can be yours while you watch TV from your easy chair!”
“Get that 6-pack of ab muscles you’ve always wanted without breaking a sweat!”

The claims are pretty incredible.  Imagine being able to build impressive muscles while you solve the day’s crossword puzzle.  I use muscle stimulation in my practice, and often patients ask if the muscle stimulation that we use is similar to those machines advertised to build muscles without any active effort.  The answer to that question is that muscle stimulation which is used therapeutically is similar to the type that is available from the companies that advertise super abs in minutes a day.  The other answer, of course, is that those machines do not build abdominal muscles while you vegetate on the sofa.  In reality, the amount of muscle stimulation that would actually build the elusive six pack would be unbearably painful.  I had knee surgery in 1989 from a snow skiing accident, and during physical therapy my quadriceps muscle would not contract properly after atrophy from several months in a cast.  My physical therapist had to use a mode of stimulation to teach the muscle to contract again, and let me tell you it was no picnic regenerating the tone in my leg.  The therapy was excruciatingly painful, but it did work.

There is simply no shortcut to muscle tone.  Period.  Get used to it.  You must put in the time and effort to eat properly and get appropriate amounts of exercise in order to tone your body.  There is no magic pill or potion or machine which will do it for you.  Unfortunately we live in a very busy world and people are searching for shortcuts to everything.  Marketing companies will capitalize on the desires for us to take the easy way out, but there is no shortcut to fitness.  If you want great abs, put in the work to get them.  Find a personal trainer who will lay out a program for you to follow or buy a video tape which will outline the proper exercises to build abdominal muscles.  The key is that you must do the work.  No trainer or video or muscle stimulation machine will do for you what must be done. 

The same principles apply to reaching true health.  Without your participation, no one can make you healthy.  The cornerstones of health must all be strong.  You must get the proper amounts of rest, eat a balanced diet that is not full of fat and sugar, get some type of exercise on a regular basis, and make sure that you remove any obstacles to reaching your goals for health and happiness.  You will want to keep your nervous system clear of interference, and make sure you manage the stresses that come your way.  There is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy, but you must first make a conscious decision to do those things.  Ask for help if you need it.  Form a group of like-minded people to keep you motivated, and set concrete goals that are easy to reach.  Then raise the bar a little bit.

If you happen to be one of the people who bought the ab stimulator machines, don’t just throw it away.  It can be used therapeutically to assist in pain management and muscle spasm relief.  Ask your health care provider how to use it to your benefit.  Your chiropractor or physical therapist should be able to tell you where you can acquire additional electrodes so that you can use them in the future.

Life is very much like a huge smorgasbord.  Anything and everything you could possibly want is out there and is available to you, but if you wait around  for someone to bring it to you, you will be left out.  You have to get up and get it yourself.  Treat yourself well.