Meeting old friends and new at ESSA Research to Practice event

By Published On: 18/05/2024

I was humbled by the support my Balance Mat invention and I received at the Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Research to Practice event held in Sydney from 2 to 4 May 2024.

Research

On the “Research” side of the equation, a poster paper by long-time friend Dr Isaac Selva Raj, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Exercise and Sports Science at Edith Cowan University. was on display at the conference. Entitled “The reliability and validity of the Balance Mat,” the paper outlined Isaac’s study results after comparing the Balance Mat against a force plate.

Ian Bergman beside Dr Isaac Selva Raj at ESSA Research to Practice

Isaac assessed the Balance Mat as “a valid and reliable tool for assessing postural sway” and found “strong to very strong correlations between data from the Balance Mat and the force platform.” There were also “very strong positive correlations” between the Balance Mat postural sway data and the two test-retest trials he conducted. At the time of writing on 18 May 2024 a paper outlining Isaac’s research is under review for publication in the Journal of Biomechanics.

As the “inventor” and developer of the technology without a medical or allied health background, my understanding is that force plates measure the centre of pressure (COP) as an index of postural stability – in other words, indirectly – whereas the Balance Mat is unique in that it measures postural sway directly.

An important difference between a force plate and the 12-test Neurometric Balance Mat is that force plates work primarily in a normal stance, whereas our system enables balance testing in the feet together and normal stances too.

Also the tandem and semi tandem stances can’t be properly accommodated by a force plate and don’t work well because force plates typically give measurements of the left and right sides rather than down the middle like the Balance Mat does.

The key point here is that our system measures balance in multiple stances and gives sensitive readings in real time that can be used by allied health practitioners with a variety of clients, not only sportspeople, due to the Balance Mat’s non-threatening and portable floor-mat-like interface that elderly people and people with neurodegenerative conditions can shuffle onto because it’s not a great big piece of machinery – the system is based on a small floor mat that’s only 6mm thick.

Practice

On the “Practice” side of the equation, I was very well supported by ESSA exhibitors Hassan Qureshi from Holistic EP in Western Sydney and Andrew Curry from Ikigai Imports in Goulburn.

Andy Curry and Jane Goodfellow from Ikigai displayed the Balance Mat at ESSA event
Andy Curry and Jane Goodfellow displayed the Balance Mat at the Ikigai exhibition booth.
Hassan Qureshi at ESSA event 3 May 2024
Hassan Qureshi from Holistic EP also had the Balance Mat on display alongside his MyClerk app.
Abishek Shrestha with Andy Curry at ESSA Research to Practice 3 May 2024
Balance Mat Pty Ltd employee and PhD student Abishek Shrestha tested attendees’ balance at Andy Curry’s Ikigai stand.
Andrew Curry, Ian Bergman and Brent Nicol at ESSA Research to Practice in May 2024
Andy Curry and I met with Brent Nicol from ESSA at the recent ESSA Research to Practice event.

Hassan has been a pioneer user of the Multimetric Balance Mat since November 2023. A lover of technology, Hassan supported Balance Metrix and myself by demonstrating the Balance Mat at the event alongside his innovative MyClerk app which aims to streamline clinical administration processes for exercise physiologists.

Andy showcased the BESS, Multimetric and Neurometric Balance Mat products, alongside NeuroFlex virtual reality headsets and the Reaxing neuromuscular indoor training treadmill that tilts in all directions while walking or running.

I was elated to see how the simple balance measurement system that I’ve developed over eight years fits within the larger Ikigai health assessment ecosystem. Andy helped me to understand that the Balance Mat occupies a particular niche in a vestibular clinician’s toolbox, as part of the ‘differential diagnosis’ process. That’s where a qualified allied health clinician or medical practitioner will often employ different testing regimes and techniques to determine what’s causing a client’s dizziness before either carrying out an appropriate health intervention or referring them to a doctor or specialist.

As a supplier of vestibular products under the Ikigai brand, Andy is considering including the Balance Mat in his product range. Watch this space …

Accredited exercise physiologists Jane Mun and Danny Miller (Rehab on the Road and The EP Network) were excited to learn about the Balance Mat at the event. At the time of writing in mid May 2024 Danny has just taken delivery of a Neurometric Balance Mat and she and her staff are about to start measuring their clients’ balance. Watch this space too …

Exercise physiologists Jane Mun and Danny Miller at ESSA Research to Practice
New Balance Mat friends Jane Mun and Danny Miller made me feel very welcome at the Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Research to Practice exhibition in Sydney.
Jane Mun having her balance tested by Abishek Shrestha at ESSA Research to Practice 3 May 2024
Balance Mat Pty Ltd staffer Abishek Shrestha tested Jane Mun’s balance (it was excellent!) at the Ikigai Imports stand.
Exercise physiologist Danny Miller from the EP Network and Rehab on the Road
Danny Miller was promoting World Exercise Physiology Day and The EP Network.
Ian Bergman from Balance Metrix supporting EPs everwhere
I was and remain more than happy to promote exercise physiologists everywhere.

A huge thank you to everyone involved!

All in all, the ESSA Research to Practice was a wonderful event where I met so many wonderful people. I am more than happy to do my bit to promote the upcoming World Exercise Physiology Day on 23 September 2024.

READ ALL MY BLOG POSTS:

Meeting old friends and new at ESSA Research to Practice event

By Published On: 18/05/20240 Comments

I was humbled by the support my Balance Mat invention and I received at the Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Research to Practice event held in Sydney from 2 to 4 May 2024.

Research

On the “Research” side of the equation, a poster paper by long-time friend Dr Isaac Selva Raj, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Exercise and Sports Science at Edith Cowan University. was on display at the conference. Entitled “The reliability and validity of the Balance Mat,” the paper outlined Isaac’s study results after comparing the Balance Mat against a force plate.

Ian Bergman beside Dr Isaac Selva Raj at ESSA Research to Practice

Isaac assessed the Balance Mat as “a valid and reliable tool for assessing postural sway” and found “strong to very strong correlations between data from the Balance Mat and the force platform.” There were also “very strong positive correlations” between the Balance Mat postural sway data and the two test-retest trials he conducted. At the time of writing on 18 May 2024 a paper outlining Isaac’s research is under review for publication in the Journal of Biomechanics.

As the “inventor” and developer of the technology without a medical or allied health background, my understanding is that force plates measure the centre of pressure (COP) as an index of postural stability – in other words, indirectly – whereas the Balance Mat is unique in that it measures postural sway directly.

An important difference between a force plate and the 12-test Neurometric Balance Mat is that force plates work primarily in a normal stance, whereas our system enables balance testing in the feet together and normal stances too.

Also the tandem and semi tandem stances can’t be properly accommodated by a force plate and don’t work well because force plates typically give measurements of the left and right sides rather than down the middle like the Balance Mat does.

The key point here is that our system measures balance in multiple stances and gives sensitive readings in real time that can be used by allied health practitioners with a variety of clients, not only sportspeople, due to the Balance Mat’s non-threatening and portable floor-mat-like interface that elderly people and people with neurodegenerative conditions can shuffle onto because it’s not a great big piece of machinery – the system is based on a small floor mat that’s only 6mm thick.

Practice

On the “Practice” side of the equation, I was very well supported by ESSA exhibitors Hassan Qureshi from Holistic EP in Western Sydney and Andrew Curry from Ikigai Imports in Goulburn.

Andy Curry and Jane Goodfellow from Ikigai displayed the Balance Mat at ESSA event
Andy Curry and Jane Goodfellow displayed the Balance Mat at the Ikigai exhibition booth.
Hassan Qureshi at ESSA event 3 May 2024
Hassan Qureshi from Holistic EP also had the Balance Mat on display alongside his MyClerk app.
Abishek Shrestha with Andy Curry at ESSA Research to Practice 3 May 2024
Balance Mat Pty Ltd employee and PhD student Abishek Shrestha tested attendees’ balance at Andy Curry’s Ikigai stand.
Andrew Curry, Ian Bergman and Brent Nicol at ESSA Research to Practice in May 2024
Andy Curry and I met with Brent Nicol from ESSA at the recent ESSA Research to Practice event.

Hassan has been a pioneer user of the Multimetric Balance Mat since November 2023. A lover of technology, Hassan supported Balance Metrix and myself by demonstrating the Balance Mat at the event alongside his innovative MyClerk app which aims to streamline clinical administration processes for exercise physiologists.

Andy showcased the BESS, Multimetric and Neurometric Balance Mat products, alongside NeuroFlex virtual reality headsets and the Reaxing neuromuscular indoor training treadmill that tilts in all directions while walking or running.

I was elated to see how the simple balance measurement system that I’ve developed over eight years fits within the larger Ikigai health assessment ecosystem. Andy helped me to understand that the Balance Mat occupies a particular niche in a vestibular clinician’s toolbox, as part of the ‘differential diagnosis’ process. That’s where a qualified allied health clinician or medical practitioner will often employ different testing regimes and techniques to determine what’s causing a client’s dizziness before either carrying out an appropriate health intervention or referring them to a doctor or specialist.

As a supplier of vestibular products under the Ikigai brand, Andy is considering including the Balance Mat in his product range. Watch this space …

Accredited exercise physiologists Jane Mun and Danny Miller (Rehab on the Road and The EP Network) were excited to learn about the Balance Mat at the event. At the time of writing in mid May 2024 Danny has just taken delivery of a Neurometric Balance Mat and she and her staff are about to start measuring their clients’ balance. Watch this space too …

Exercise physiologists Jane Mun and Danny Miller at ESSA Research to Practice
New Balance Mat friends Jane Mun and Danny Miller made me feel very welcome at the Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Research to Practice exhibition in Sydney.
Jane Mun having her balance tested by Abishek Shrestha at ESSA Research to Practice 3 May 2024
Balance Mat Pty Ltd staffer Abishek Shrestha tested Jane Mun’s balance (it was excellent!) at the Ikigai Imports stand.
Exercise physiologist Danny Miller from the EP Network and Rehab on the Road
Danny Miller was promoting World Exercise Physiology Day and The EP Network.
Ian Bergman from Balance Metrix supporting EPs everwhere
I was and remain more than happy to promote exercise physiologists everywhere.

A huge thank you to everyone involved!

All in all, the ESSA Research to Practice was a wonderful event where I met so many wonderful people. I am more than happy to do my bit to promote the upcoming World Exercise Physiology Day on 23 September 2024.

READ ALL MY BLOG POSTS:

  • The Neurometric Balance Mat is measuring the balance ability of elderly Singaporeans at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). Pictured is Mr Leow Zhun Hong (study senior clinical research coordinator).

Research into balance and sensory health

08/03/2024|0 Comments

A team of leading ophthalmology researchers who have been using the Neurometric Balance Mat in Singapore for the past nine months have provided me with this brief research update. Known as the PopulatION HEalth and Age-Related ...