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Tom Stoppleworth – ROM Owner Since 2007 (Click on this to read full story)

The ROM is a difficult issue to figure out through internet sleuthing. Their website could use a bit of polish and they have the medicine, health, and exercise industries instantly dismissing their implied claims. There’s a lot of noise a potential ROM customer has to wade through to get to the gestalt of the ROM issue.

Here’s something to add to the pile. It is something I wrote as a review and as testimonial to being a ROM owner:

News stories on the ROM The problem with the news stories I see on the ROM is that most of them do very little hands on research. How do they investigate? They consult an expert or what they perceive to be an expert and contrast what the experts tells them with marketing materials of the ROM.

The various articles can be summarized as such: Reporter: ROM says you can have the benefits of a complete workout in 4 minutes. What do you say about that, expert? Expert A: There’s no evidence to support the claim. I don’t buy it. Or Expert B: It goes against everything we know about human physiology therefore it can’t be possible. Reporter: There you have it folks. I fulfilled my word count for my paycheck. Have a nice day. It’s not real thorough investigative journalism and given the time and budget constraints on the journalist, the end product is no surprise.

What’s an expert A real expert has direct first hand experience with the subject in question. The majority of experts consulted in those articles admit to never having tried the ROM. If a consulted expert has no direct experience with the ROM then their expertise is clearly in question regarding the subject. The etymology of the word “expert” is rooted in the Latin word “experiri” which means to directly use. If these consultants admit to not having used the ROM then they are by definition laymen, not experts.  

Here are some arguments to the non expertus responses: The “we don’t need to try it because our education tells us it doesn’t work” argument It’s a classic appeal to tradition argument which is, of course, a fallacy. The experts who are making a claim that it doesn’t work must fulfill a burden of proof to back their claim. One must be careful to not fall in to the trap of academic debate rules that state one is not required to prove a negative. Since it is unknown whether the ROM (or any other device) works, claiming it doesn’t work is equally a positive claim as stating that it does work.

Automatically accepting every claim of a negative because of the absence of proof of positive prohibits any mode of discovery. This line of reasoning is almost as bad as blindly accepting positive claims without proof. Some folks have appointed themselves as experts without much qualification and use their blogging persona to ridicule. Here is an example: “My education tells me all manner of things that would be a waste of time (or worse) to try. For example, I know that pounding 10 penny nails through my feet would not be an effective way of gaining traction on slippery winter roads, without having to pick up a hammer. I know not to try breathing under water as a way of increasing oxygen input while swimming, even though by weight, there's more oxygen in water than there is in the air”.

Anyone with common knowledge (and sense) could determine these examples are absurd because most anyone is already an expert with the cited examples above. Folks have accidentally hit themselves with a hammer or have stepped on a nail or something sharp, had water go down the wrong throat while drinking, etc. It’s a reduction ad absurdum argument with heavy mockery overtones.

With that said, the logical burden of proof still rests with Romfab to prove their claims despite the fallacious arguments from folks who are inexperienced with ROM There’s no evidence to support the claim Instead of saying the ROM will not work, some experts play it intelligently safe by saying there is no published evidence to support Romfab claims. They are correct in that regard. Romfab has not provided much, if any, direct evidence to support their claims. All Romfab has are numbers without citations, customer testimonials, celebrity clients, and organizations not directly mentioned by Romfab as using the ROM.

Is Romfab being evasive on purpose to avoid being exposed as a scam? Do they believe so resolutely in the effectiveness of their machine that they do not feel insecure enough to actively defend their claims? Romfab claims 1 in 3 machines sold produce an additional referral sale. Perhaps that contributes to not feeling threatened by negative press nor feel compelled to scratch a litigious itch.

Romfab has been in business since 1990 and there hasn’t been one lawsuit relating to fraud despite thousands of machines sold. One would think that considering the price and claims by Romfab someone would have legally done something successfully by now if the machine didn’t live up to the expectations painted by Romfab in their advertisements.

There is the counter argument to this that states that people who spent $15k on an exercise machine would be too embarrassed to admit that it doesn’t work. Speaking as someone who has spent their own money on the machine, I think people who pose this argument don’t completely grasp the scale involved. If I spend that amount of money and it’s not providing me a fitness benefit I’d be sure to get my money back on the purchase. This isn’t a $19.95 infomercial plastic exercise gadget.  

The ROM is industrial grade machine quality and the price of a small car. If you bought a new car and the engine didn’t turn over, wouldn’t you be talking to the dealership in a demanding tone? You certainly wouldn’t be telling other people your new, non-functional car runs great.

What ROMFAB claims While lacking any direct evidence, Romfab does go to great lengths to cite hard evidence in studies about High Intensity Interval Training as well as high intensity short duration exercise. The studies cited are peer reviewed and credible. However, proof by textual osmosis is not a logically sound method of directly proving Romfab’s claims. HIIT information is still relatively new. Safe expert opinion at the moment is that HIIT is to be used in conjunction to low intensity steady state aerobic exercise instead of as a substitute. The evidence though is pointing to short duration anaerobic exercise as providing a larger fitness benefit than low intensity long duration aerobic exercise. In fact, there is evidence that suggests only doing low intensity aerobic exercise can actually be risky in the long run due to elevating cortisol levels above the counteracting growth promotion hormones thereby shrinking muscle mass, lung capacity, and heart rate variability.(1-3) 1. “Exercise is medicine: the anti-inflammatory effects of high intensity exercise” Jade Teta, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients,  Nov, 2006 2. “Effect of Exercise at Three Exercise Intensities on Salivary Cortisol” Dean E. Jacks et al, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2002, 16(2), 286–289) 3. “The Single Solution to Heart Rate Variability and Ischemic Preconditioning” Irving Dardik

Does it work? Writing as someone with a year’s worth of first hand experience with the ROM, I can say that it certainly does live up to the expectations Romfab conveys in their ad copy regarding intensity. The 4 minute workouts are relentlessly intense and quite uncomfortable (but thankfully short). However, the workouts are never painful to the joints since there’s no impact during movements. There’s no need to listen to music or read a magazine during the ROM workout like most people do to alleviate their boredom on conventional aerobic machines. Your brain is devoutly hard at work firing muscular neurons and has no time to read the latest issue of People.

While incredibly intense, the workouts are not hazardously difficult. The dynamic resistance of the machine is tuned just right for whoever is using it at the time. It would be hard to overexert yourself on the machine unless you are highly motivated to do so. The ROM goads you in to giving your all but also withdraws just enough so you don’t hurt yourself. It’s a dynamic and delicate balance that the ROM pulls off well.

The End Result All of this has turned my health around in a positive way. I am bounding up flights of stairs I would have normally had plodded up before the ROM. I have done nothing but use the ROM 5 times a week at 4 minutes per time to improve my physical fitness over a year. It does work and it’s a shame a fraction of a percent of the population will ever know there is a more efficient way to exercise than treadmills, aerobics classes, weight machines, and free weights.

Tom Stoppleworth