I only became aware of Modius around a month ago, since then I have seen them pop up in media all over the place and they are creating quite a stir with their vestibular stimulation device that claims to help drop fat with no changes to diet or health.
Losing weight while making no changes is the ultimate dream, and a claim made by many snake oil companies in the past. Modius is a bit different though; there is quite a bit of research being done on vestibular stimulation for a variety of applications, including biomedical, pilot training, and entertainment.
Science behind Modius
In the case of Modius their science dates back to 1972 in NASA research paper on fat reduction in animals which showed a significant decrease in body fat. However, the researchers had mistakenly attributed their observations to non-specific effects and failed to appreciate that it was vestibular stimulation causing the animals to become leaner.
Fast forward 30 years and a study in 2002 noted that vestibular stimulation causes a significant reduction in the body fat of animals.
The authors of this study commented that ‘after eight weeks, percent body fat was significantly lower’, and that ‘it thus seems that the neurovestibular system can influence changes in body composition, particularly the mobilisation and utilisation of fat.’
This research led to the development of Modius and a lab test at the University of Southern California San Diego’s Brain & Cognition Centre. 15 users took part in this trial where they received vestibular stimulation and immediate, and the long-term impact was assessed.
An initial study looking at the effects of repeated stimulation over a period of 16 weeks, in nine of these subjects, observed a significant reduction in body fat as measured by whole-body DXA scans.
The average reduction in abdominal fat in the active group was about 8% with the range being between 2 and 14%. This was statistically different from the control group, and none of the volunteers changed their diets or exercise.
The founder of Modius, Dr Jason McKeown, used the device back in 2015, and he claims that it contributed to his 44% reduction in body fat, with a simultaneous 2kg increase in lean muscle mass. Though this was combined with an active and healthy lifestyle
Since the release of Modius, the following statistics have been reported
- More than 80% of users have lost weight.
- Users are losing between 12-15 pounds in an average period of eight weeks.
- The longer users use the device, the more weight they are losing.
All in all, the science behind Modius looks promising, and if the reported statistics are accurate, it is very promising. There are clearly some caveats though, for example, the lab test carried out was only on 15 people, so not exactly a considerable test which could create huge margins of error.
This week I started to test the Modius, even if some of the science is a bit thin, who wouldn’t want a chance to drop fat with no effort?
Just to be transparent, I am not exactly the ideal candidate to test this technology. I am extremely active and the first few months of the year when I am anti-social are when I tend to lean out regardless of fancy gadgets.
I am a former fat heavy drinker that got fit in the past five years. According to my Nokia scales, I sit at 16% body fat with 30.6lbs of fat, 155.2lbs of leans mass of which 147.5 is muscle. Obviously, these figures will not be accurate as electrical impedance scales are rubbish, but it is a base point to measure my progress.
I weigh in at 13st4lbs / 186lbs / 84.3kg and I am 6 foot 1 or 185cm tall. I was originally 19st/266lbs/120kg, and then I dropped to 11st/154lbs/70kg about three years ago. Since then I have gained quite a lot of muscle and a bit more fat than I would have liked.
With Modius making big claims about abdominal fat, my waist will be a good indicator, and that is currently 35-inch. However, as I am an ex-fatty, I am unfortunately carrying loose skin around my stomach so that figure is a bit higher than it would normally be.
I am currently trying to improve my endurance for a marathon, and a coast to coast bike ride which is 150m in one day. So, I am hopefully getting fitter each week.
What I do have a significant issue with is, as an ex-fat person that exercises a lot I have an insatiable appetite. I eat clean, but even then, I can still out eat the amount of exercise I do, so dropping below 15% body fat and/or 13st has always been a bit difficult for me. This is something I would like to achieve this year, mainly because carrying around less flab will make my endurance events a bit easier.
Modius makes several claims regarding the effects of the device, it is claimed that it will shift your bodies “Set-Point” from leaning towards storing fat to being leaner and also claims to reduce appetite
Former fat people are supposed to naturally gain fat back easier so the improved set-point would undoubtedly be something beneficial to me, and a reduce appetite would have a massive benefit. Though I don’t think anything could help that, apart from sewing my mouth shut.
Setting up Modius
The Modius device itself looks like something out of Star Trek, the white headset wraps around the top of your head, and some electrodes stick to the boney part of your head at the back of your ear.
When I received the device I was eager to use it, the sooner I start, the sooner I look like a fitness model. To get everything set up, you need to download the Modius app, create an account, fill out your details and then follow the guide on how to pair the device as well as attach the electrodes.
Unfortunately, it was unresponsive when I first tried it, so I left it on charge overnight. The next morning it was still unresponsive when unplugged, but would flash when charging and make beeping noises when the power was pressed. After some tips from the Modius support team, I managed to reset the device.
I then encountered more problems. I could not get the Modius to connect to my Blackberry KEYone; it would see the headset, then ask me to press the power button again, then it would do nothing. I then tested it on an iPad Mini 2, and it connected immediately.
With this being such a new device there are bound to be teething issues, and my Blackberry can be a bit temperamental with some Bluetooth devices. However, these problems are something I would hope Modius resolve when you spend £369 on something you don’t expect to have issues like this.
Thankfully, once everything is paired is quite a simple device to use. The hardest part I found was getting the electrodes to stick to your head. You need to clean behind your ears with the alcohol wipes and then attach the device, and you need to avoid any hair as much as possible. Even though the pads feel very sticky, they will fall off quite quickly. I was lazy one time and thought I would skip the wipes, and they just wouldn’t stay stuck on my head at all.
Once everything is on your head correctly you just need to press start, and the device will start shooting electrical zaps into your head. The device has ten levels of intensity, the default level 1 I couldn’t really feel anything apart from some tension near my temples, but I think that was the headset itself.
Upping the intensity and you start to feel the physical zaps, they are not painful, but they are noticeable. The first time I used it at level 10, there was a notable feeling on my cognition. I felt a little light headed and dizzy like I had vertigo. It wasn’t so severe that I had to stop work, so I just carried on with my various blogging tasks the time. After about 30 minutes the feeling went away.
Subsequent sessions, the strange feeling it produced was less pronounced, and if you keep yourself busy, I found I would not notice it at all.
I am only a week into using the device, so there are no possible conclusions yet, but I am cautiously optimistic, and I will be doing a follow-up review after I have finished using the device, which will be between 6 and 12 weeks’ time.
You can buy the Modius today for £369 and it comes with everything you need to get started. This is an expensive weight loss device but if it works it would be worth it for anyone interested in weight-loss. Modius offers a 90-day money back guarantee, and the minimum recommended time to see results is 6-weeks, or ideally 12-weeks, so if you don’t see results and are not happy with the device, you can always return it.
You can buy the Modius directly from modiushealth.com