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Hummingbird for POTS?

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I recently noticed a FDA approved "Hummingbird Device" that is currently used for fibromyalgia.

When I read this description, I was surprised to find that the way it worked was to increase blood flow from legs to the upper part of the body. This sounds like exactly what a POTS patient needs.

"How Does the Hummingbird Work? Many fibromyalgia sufferers have underactive or inactive soleus muscles, causing fluid to pool in the legs. When the heart, upper body and brain don’t get adequate blood circulation, the results can be widespread pain, lack of energy, poor sleep, and “fibro fog." In a nutshell, The Hummingbird applies precise micro-mechanical stimulation to the nerve-endings in the plantar surface of the foot. This stimulation activates the soleus muscles in the calves which, in turn, improves blood flow throughout the body."

Has any one tried it for POTS/CFS?

What are your thoughts on it?


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Sounds quite interesting but the statement is an advertisement,  so I'm not convinced. Medical devices need almost nothing to be cleared by the FDA. Not at all like approval for drugs. There's a really good (and scary!) documentary about this on Netflix called The Bleeding Edge. Very worth a watch. Medical devices can be cleared by being vaguely similar to another medical device (which may have been cleared in the same way etc. etc.) and this can lead to some terrible devices being cleared. I'm not saying this is necessarily one of those terrible devices, but it's quite expensive and I'd want to see some science before considering it.

I also wondered whether the effect--if there is one--is only a temporary thing or if it could lead to permanent changes. I assume temporary which makes it somewhat impractical.

I agree that if it works it would be interesting to try for PoTS.

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Sorry I didn't see this.  I was just reading an article and posted a separate post about this.  I was interested in trying it, but I don't know.  From the article I read, it said:

it "sells for $395 (or $495 with a package which includes a Fitbit 2). It comes with a risk-free guarantee. Pay for it now and if it doesn’t produce results over the next 45 days, return the device and get your money back with no restocking fee."

Seems expensive, but you could always send it back and get a refund if it doesn't work.  If it does, it would be amazing!  Would love to hear more about this if anyone tries it.  I am going to ask my doctor about it.  Another doctor that works at my doctor's practice was actually quoted in the article as saying it was helpful!


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  • 6 months later...

I just had a look at this as obviously anything that potentially helps blood back upstairs or even maintains muscle tone in non upright folks could help. 

Whilst I am not convinced it would be hugely beneficial, I cannot see any way for it to be harmful other than financially or in terms of disappointment. 

There are a number of similar devices around which do the same thing, so you may be able to get one of those for less, or alternatively see if you could buy one second hand. It looks like the sort of thing people would get as an unwanted gift or fad which they only used a few times, so there are likely some on ebay or similar. 

I know it is something different to this but I have a seated pedaller called gym mate which also gets the blood pumping & can be used seated/reclined or even lying on a floor mat. It cost much less than the hummingbird & also provides cardiovascular exercise rather than passive vibrating. 

B x


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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought this in February and found that it didn’t help with my dysautonomia/POTS, though I also have a diagnosis of ME/CFS, cardiac preload failure and small fiber neuropathy (all confirmed by a workup and iCPET by David Systrom at Brigham & Women’s).  Poor venous return is a major issue for me, at least according to Systrom, so I thought the Hummingbird might help but was wrong. I used it for about 3 weeks straight and I found it made leg muscle fatigue worse, not better.

I am not aware of any doctor who specializes in POTS and autonomic dysfunction who is recommending the Hummingbird, though it is admittedly fairly new to the market. 

It is also quite expensive for what you get. It seems like it should sell at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $40. 

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I didn't return it.  By the time I determined that the Hummingbird wasn't helpful, the 45 day return window had already ended.  I also have very limited mobility and I thought I would try the Hummingbird again at some point down the road, so I have held onto it. 

But I am not aware of any complaints that the manufacturer, Vital Motion, doesn't honor its no-questions-asked return policy.

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Call me crazy, but if one can contract their own soleus muscles, wouldn't that have the same positive effect as this is supposed to cause? It says that it makes the soleus contract. 

I do find my sequential compression device to be helpful, but that actually squeezes blood up my leg in stages... the effect doesn't feel like anything I could accomplish with exercise. I'm going to try to actively work my soleus muscles whenever I think of it. It sure won't hurt!

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