We've learned a great deal about the effects of rebounding and try to keep up with current health and fitness studies, especially those that have some relationship to rebounding, which allows us to share information or advice with our customers. Because of all this, we felt that I’d be a good choice to provide a response to the wordpress blog post "How not to be conned by bellicon USA":
The webpage contains a lot of material, making it a bit difficult to address every particular in a single statement (as much as we would like to), so I’m going to focus on the credibility of the posts themselves as a way of addressing the reliability of them as a whole.
Quite honestly, having just finished reading all of them, I think everybody is remarkably open-minded to reserve judgement and to contact us. If I had read those things without knowing what I do about rebounding, and the bellicon in particular, I’d probably have begun shopping for a stationary bike.
Let me first address the Wordpress blogs, which are the most troubling, before responding to the Ripoff Report posting about the durability of our bungee cords.
Regarding the Wordpress blog posts:
Not only is all of the information lies, but whoever wrote them spent a good deal of time and effort putting them together, which makes the whole thing particularly disturbing.
In the first blog post, “Why would an Ex Employee of Bellicon start a blog?,” the author says that they had worked with the “R&D” department until they “left the company Bellicon USA in Chicago IL” in 2010. They go on to say that they had been a researcher at bellicon USA and had discovered problems with the bellicon’s performance while preparing a report to get FDA and Consumer Product Protection Agency (CPPA) approval. They conclude by saying that, after presenting their findings to bellicon USA’s board, they were fired.
And now the real facts: In 2010, when the blogger says all of this happened, the entire staff of bellicon USA consisted of Philipp von Kunhardt and his sister, Saskia. That’s it. They had just moved to Chicago that year and launched the company in the fall. It wasn’t until 2012 that they hired their first full-time employee, and it wasn’t until 2013 that they hired their second: me. All of this information can be found on the “About Us” page of our website:
https://www.bellicon-usa.com/support/about-us. Also, bellicon USA has never even had an “R&D department” because the research and manufacturing of the bellicon is done in Cologne, Germany by a separate branch of the company. And mini-trampolines don’t need certification from either the FDA or the CPPA, so the supposed “report” to them makes no sense. (You can find a list of of product types the FDA is responsible for at the beginning of this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Drug_Administration.) I could go into more detail, but I hope this is sufficient to show that the “ex-employee,” along with all of his “analysis,” is fictitious.
Regarding the 2nd and 3rd blog posts:
Even though the supposed “ex bellicon employee” doesn’t exist, which in itself discredits everything in the blogs, I’ll address the arguments they make. I’m going to respond to the 2nd and 3rd posts together since they can both be refuted with the same logic and some easily available information.
The gist of his arguments is (as you mentioned in your email) that the size of the bellicon frame is too large (creating an unhealthy dip in the mat) and the depth of the bounce is too great (producing a bounce cycle with too many g-forces sustained for too long a period of time) which all leads to “muscoskeletal problems.” Not only is all of this false (you’ll notice that they mention a lot of “studies” but can’t include a single link, footnote or name, which is simple to do, because none of it exists), but it’s also contrary to the fundamental principles behind rebounding exercise itself.
“Rebounding” took off as a popular exercise after the publishing of a 1980 NASA study in which exercising on a trampoline was shown to be superior to running, weight lifting and isometric exercise in a number of ways, including cardiovascular activity, oxygen processing and strengthening of bones (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7429911). The whole “mini-trampoline” industry is an attempt to emulate the positive effects of bouncing on a full-sized trampoline but on a smaller, more convenient and more affordable platform. No mini trampoline can give you the same degree of benefits described in the NASA study, only a full-sized trampoline can, but the closer a mini-trampoline comes to offering the performance of a full-sized trampoline, the closer it comes to providing the same benefits. (If you’d like to get an idea of the impact of the NASA study on the industry, do a Google search of “NASA” combined with “rebounding”…it’s mentioned on pretty much every website that goes into detail about the benefits of rebounding.)
So, when the blogger asserts that a larger frame (the single defining characteristic of full-sized trampolines) and a deeper bounce (another fundamental characteristic of full-sized trampolines) are bad…he’s left all rationality behind. Which is why you won’t find anyone else making the same false, bizarre and counter-intuitive claims.
For more specifics about why bellicon’s bungee-based rebounders are superior to spring rebounders, please take a look at this page from our website:
Regarding the blog about “bellicon injuries”:
Suffice it to say that, just like the previous blog, absolutely everything in it is a lie. Rather than refuting each of his individual, completely invented and unsupported assertions, I’ll instead show you where they stole some of the images they used as “evidence” and then you can reach your own conclusions about the truthfulness of his statements.
First of all, the most gruesome image, the close-up of a compound fracture with exposed bone, is from an article about a YouTube video. The video shows a man performing a stunt where he jumps off of a high wall onto a full-sized trampoline…but hits the frame by mistake and breaks his leg. The article includes the still image of the fracture that was used in the blog. Here are the links to the article and the YouTube video (please be aware that it’s not a pleasant thing to watch):
The two photos of the young man in the wheelchair are both Associated Press photos of Stephen Merrill, who “leaped from a platform into a pit full of foam blocks, and he shot right through the protective barriers and landed on his head.” The blogger stole them from a commercial image site. Here’s the link to the pages, which include information about the subject of the photos:
Interestingly, each of these images included the word “trampoline” in their description: Stephen Merrill was in a trampoline park when he fell off the wall, and the stuntman who broke his leg was aiming for a trampoline when he missed. So, I’m guessing our blogger was searching for some graphic images of mini-trampoline injuries and, when they couldn’t find any, chose a few of the worst images they came across and simply changed the descriptions.
So, as to whether the blogger is “legitimately trying to do a public service, or is just a really disgruntled employee,” the answer is: neither. They are a liar and a fraud.
My current belief, as I’ve indicated, is that the blogger is the creation of someone very jealous who had tried to find credible information that would refute bellicon’s claims of superior benefits and performance, but couldn’t find any because it doesn’t exist. Their solution? To invent a fictitious expert, one with incredible insider information about cover-ups and health risks and whose secret research shows that rebounders are only dangerous when they include the exact characteristics of the bellicon’s design, materials or proportions. I’m guessing their next post will expose the carcinogenic effects of logos which feature the letter “B”.
Not only is the bellicon the best product of its kind on the market in every category: performance, design, materials, etc., but it also has the gentlest, most efficient bounce cycle, creating the least stress on your joints, vertebrae and soft tissue than any other rebounder…by far.
On a separate note, I’d like to say the the folks at bellicon USA are about the most capable, conscientious, ethical and personable people you can imagine, and that the health, safety and satisfaction of our customers is always our primary concern. All of which makes these attacks on the ethics of the company itself, and the safety of the exceptional product we sell, even more nauseating and despicable.
Content and Communications Director, bellicon USA