The gym that I go to has a simple hand-held body composition measuring device, but the trainers themselves told me that the small device was not entirely accurate and the results should be taken as only a rough estimate and guideline. To perform a more precise reading, it was recommended that I go to the municipal public clinic, where they perform body composition examination for free.
Before I went I read up on what such equipment actually does. Such devices use what is called bioelectric impedance analysis, a technology that was developed in the 1980s and has since been refined by various manufacturers. There are other ways of measuring body composition, but bioelectric impedance analysis is said to be easy and cost-effective and thus has become a very popular method in the consumer and fitness market. Basically these devices measure opposition to the flow of an electric current through body tissues which can then be used to calculate an estimate of total body water, which can then be used to estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight, body fat.
The most accurate measure of calculating body fat, I read, was basically immersing a person in a pool of water and using the difference in density between fat and muscle to figure out a person's body composition. Since I don't have access to my personal pool, unfortunately, I went to the aforementioned clinic. The technician called the device "the InBody", and as I discovered the brand is synonymous in Korea with body composition measuring machines. Using the device was exceedingly simple: on command I simply stood on what resembles a large scale and held onto the two arms of the machine, and it do its work. The results were printed on a sheet of paper and gave me my body weight, muscle mass and total fat, and the ratio between body fat, muscle mass and water. The machine was able to identify not only the amount of body and abdominal fats, but also intestinal fat, useful information since fat in different areas affect health in different ways. In addition, the printout included optimal and target levels appropriate for my age and activity level, and even included the optimal caloric consumption level.
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InBody, the brand name for these devices manufactured by Biospace, has, as noted above, has become so well-known that the brand name is synonymous with the entire process of bioelectric analysis. Biospace offers its main product in several versions based on application and the needs of the user, and even has a model for bed-ridden patients who can't easily stand on the device for the measurement. Biospace claims that its 8-point tactile electrode method is the world's first such technology in body composition analysis, having received patents in the United States, Japan and several European nations. Approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Biospace actively exports its products to major markets in America and Japan as well as other nations around the world.
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