If you use a wheelchair, accepting that you'd be forever cursed with a flat butt was a hard truth to swallow. But now a miracle has happened, and it's not due to a saint or the handiwork of a plastic surgeon. A miracle in the form of an FES (functional electrical stimulation) bike has appeared, and I'm just catching wind of it now. Apparently these bikes can do a lot more than just stimulate your leg muscles.
I'll be honest - I'm a woman and omg I've always hated my flat butt since my injury. But today, I heard something amazing - that FES can give me my butt back. Wat?? Wha?? That's right, my new physical therapist has filled me in on FES' "higher" uses, and holy cow am I psyched. FES traditionally (in 1983 when it first debuted) was made to get people up and walking, using electrodes on their legs and with walkers. Amazing technology.
Not surprisingly, a lot of SCI folks now have a FES bike at home. FES bikes have been developed as a way to keep muscles toned waist-down. They cost around $15,000 for a good one (here's an overview of FES exercise systems, which can do a much better job explaining it than I could). All you need to know is that FES sends small electrical signals to paralyzed muscles.
But FES was also created for loads of secondary issues too, like helping to prevent and reverse osteoporosis, improve lung function, restoring bladder and bowel control and helping improve blood flow in the body. And we all know when you improve blood flow, you prevent pressure sores (always a good thing).
But along the way, they discovered that FES bikes also have a "booty enhancing" effect. And this is really exciting, and (lol) not only for pure vanity/J. Lo-dreamin' reasons. It's HUGE because it's giving us that long-lost padding we've been needing to prevent pressure sores (something you know you've wished many times). Yes, real actual butt muscle is created as the result of doing FES, and that's a huge thing for someone with a nearly complete injury like mine. But the kicker - you have to stick with it if you want to retain it.
The good news, though: FES is no longer a thing only the "rich" folks can access. FES is becoming more available each year at rehab centers. I know in my area, the rehab center by me is offering free FES bike use (you can bet I'll take advantage of that). But if FES isn't available near you, you should definitely start jockeying for it somehow. Try proposing the idea to fitness centers, even if you don't live near a rehab facility. You never know who might be interested.
So there you have it. FES is the magical booty-returning miracle we've been waiting for. Egads, so excited. Time to replenish my g-string panty collection.
Have you used FES and seen booty-enhancing results?
Photo courtesy of Karen Apricot New Orleans