Five bizarre things that may be good for you

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Barefoot running, vibrating exercise platforms, tongue scraping - goofy gimmicks or good for you? An expert weighs in.

On February 26, writer Chistropher Wanjek, author of books Bad Medicine and Food at Work, reported on health and news website LiveScience five wacky trends that may actually have good health benefits, starting with the mildly freaky to the truly out of the ordinary.

Vibrating exercise platforms - Perhaps you've spotted these at your gym or spa? The idea is to stand on a vibrating platform for a few minutes before stepping off and performing your exercise, which the vibration claims to help you perform better and faster. While research at this time is scant, LiveScience reports that the machines hold some promise to help muscles heal faster and build bone density in older people with osteoporosis.

Tongue scraping - An ancient Indian medicine technique, tongue scraping requires a special cleaning device and several minutes of gag-inducing scraping. But it can help cure bad breath and may reduce your chances of developing gum diseases and even colds.

Barefoot running - As long as you don't step on any broken glass, barefoot running may be better for your shins, knees, hips and back than your pricey trainers. A study published last year in the journal Nature reported that running in trainers can send a shock up your legs that is virtually non-existent when running barefoot.

Parasite therapies - Curing allergies by ingesting parasites? Some researchers are claiming that the lack of parasites such as hookworm in industrialized countries may be contributing to the soaring rates of allergies. But before you swallow that tasy hookworm, perhaps it's better to let the scientists explore how these creatures play a part in the human immune system.

Fecal transplants - In the world of gross-out science, doctors are looking into fecal transplants - "in which doctors inject several teaspoons of a sample of fresh feces into a person's gut via a tube in the nose (yes, teaspoons)," states the article - as a cure for diarrhea-causing bacterial diseases, and even as a possible treatment for Parkinson's disease and diabetes.

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To watch a video on barefoot running: