At a Fibromyalgia Coalition International  conference this past May, I saw a postcard that declared a device called the Hummingbird  could provide fibromyalgia symptom relief. I was immediately intrigued. How could a small foot rest make a difference in how I experience fibromyalgia?
Stepping outside of my comfort zone the next week, I made a cold call to the number on the postcard and suggested they send me one of the Hummingbird devices to try out and report on to ProHealth readers. And they said YES!
What’s in the box?
In just a matter of days, a small box was delivered to my door. My first note of appreciation was for the minimal packaging. Next note was for the clear instructions and the easy set-up of the device. Put the Hummingbird on a flat surface that you can reach with your feet and connect the power cord into an outlet, then connect the power cord to the device itself. Easy.
Put your feet on the device – there’s a handy decal showing you how to place your feet – and begin to feel the soft vibrations. I used an iPhone app to control the timing and intensity, but Vital Motion also sells a handheld remote.
As I was using the device just to get the hang of it, the power cord broke after about the third try. I emailed Vital Motion and had a new power cord within days. Great customer service!
How does the Bird fly?
The Vital Motion website offers both scientific  and anecdotal reports of the way the Hummingbird works to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. It’s all connected to how blood circulates in our body. The Hummingbird applies micro-mechanical stimulation to the nerve endings in the plantar surface of the foot (Many of us are frenemies of plantar fasciitis, right?) and that stimulation activates the soleus muscle in our calf, which then improves blood flow throughout the body. I read the more than 20 pages of scientific reports, as well as the patient reviews.
And I remained skeptical.
The recommended usage is 30 minutes twice a day. I found that difficult as I work a full-time job, and while the Hummingbird is small, it’s kind of a hassle to put it in the box each morning to take it to work. So, I focused on 30 minutes in the evening while we watched television.
I can’t say that I noticed a significant difference after a couple of weeks of the daily 30-minute sessions, when Bradley Saveth, the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Vital Motion, called to see how I was liking the device. We talked about my experience and I mentioned the problem with carrying it back and forth to work. Bradley reiterated that the most benefit would be gained from twice-daily sessions and guess what? The next week I received a handy travel bag to make it easier to transport my “Bird.” Did I mention how impressive their customer service is?!
I flew the coop – but came back to my Bird!
I started the morning sessions with my Bird underneath my desk while I responded to email and continued the evening tv sessions.
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Life then interrupted with a variety of health and family challenges and my beloved Bird got cast aside.
I was encouraged to get back to flying with my Bird, though, after hearing about my friend Angel’s experience. Her sister Gina won a Hummingbird device at a Fibromyalgia Awareness event in September, and they both offered glowing reports about using it.
Angel is a cancer survivor and she found the Hummingbird very helpful for her mild neuropathy, achieving a reduction in tingling of her toes for approximately 40 to 60 minutes following a session. She also surprisingly found using the device very relaxing, almost meditative-like after each use; she achieved this state when using the device in a closed room without any other distractions or multi-tasking.
Gina enjoyed the relaxation she found while using the Hummingbird and she felt a reduction in her pain from plantar fasciitis. Both Angel and Gina reported that the device was super simple, and they loved the ability to plug and go without having to log into a computer to record results or get feedback.
Gina loves being able to share her device with other family members, all of whom seem to like the mental and physical results after just a few short sessions. Angel appreciates her sharing because she finds the price ($395) to be outside her budget right now for her own machine.
Rest and Relaxation
As we know, rest – real rest, not multi-tasking – is vitally important in living with fibromyalgia. The Hummingbird provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy a few minutes – 30 of them actually – while helping to repair my body, and I was shortchanging myself. After hearing from Angel and Gina, I committed to twice daily sessions of using my Bird to rest, relax and repair – no more checking emails or watching television.
The results are truly quite amazing. I still have insomnia, fatigue and pain. But I find my overall wellness improved, with less life interruption because of pain and fatigue, and I credit the Hummingbird with some of that improvement. I will continue my flight with this Bird.
You might want to put the Hummingbird on your Christmas list!
Cindy Leyland is ProHealth’s Fibromyalgia Editor. Cindy also serves as the Director of Program Operations at the Center for Practical Bioethics  and the PAINS-KC Project Director. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, enjoys hiking, reading, and being Gramma Cindy.