Celebrating 35 years of HUR

In June 2024 HUR distributors around the world, from more than 30 countries, met in Helsinki, Finland, to celebrate 35th anniversary of this Finnish Company that has grown to be a global success story of strength training with over 10.000 installation in five continents.

In 1989 a young aeronautical engineering student at Helsinki University of Technology, had the idea of using the pneumatic technology for resistance training equipment. A research study proved the success of the methodology, and defined the beginning of HUR, standing for Helsinki University Research, named after the origin of the technology. The innovative student, Mats Manderbacka, continued to innovate with research with one of the first pioneering research studies looking at the effect of strength training in older adults using HUR equipment in 1991. 

Since it’s beginning 35 years ago, HUR has been committed to continue to conduct innovative physiological, biomechanical and exercise as medicine research. Indeed, the innovative features and developed concepts of HUR, are based upon scientific work, created in accordance with recommendations from the world’s leading exercise as medicine authorities. In addition to its own in-house research and development, HUR is also involved in co-operation with several research institutions worldwide.

Throughout the three decades, innovation has been constant, responding to the needs of the users and research data with the current technology being the fifth generation. Whilst the principles of methodology started as an analog, push button air-based system, the first smart card technology, 3rd Generation HUR smart card with a local server was introduced in 2008, with the current 5th generation system providing a cloud based system, where training program is set, and monitored in real time, providing resistance increments as low as 100g, with the monitoring of not just resistance, but also power and range of motion among others.

Over the 35 years, HUR has grown into a global company, who prides itself for constantly improving its technology to respond to the current research.

Collaboration with multiple universities around the world, has allowed HUR to be part best-practice innovations. From this link you can find the full research index that includes research publications for many categories, such as balance, falls prevention and geriatric strength training, also including the original research for worldwide known and practiced projects such as SUNBEAM, FINGER, MUAD and PASSWORD.

The man behind the company, Mats Manderbacka, is still the head of the company, inventing together with the research and development teams, here seen at the Physiotherapy World Expo in Dubai in 2023. Mats can often be seen visiting the global teams, with Australia being the next destination this week at the retirement expo in Gold Coast. 

Whilst HUR is celebrating 35 years, we are happy to also celebrate 15 years of HUR Australia.

Through the hard work of managing director Ari Kallinen HUR Australia has become known for quality and safety especially for older adults. With more than 300 installations Australia wide, in all areas of senior exercise (Community care, Retirement living, residential care) as well as hospitals, rehabilitation, disability care and 50+ fitness. HUR equipment has been part of research studies that have changed the best-practice principles, as well as have been chosen for many facilities for the ease and safety of use. We are so proud to share the stories on our Newsletters and our testimonials pages. We will tell you more about our celebrations later.

As I am happy to laugh at myself and celebrate 30 years of being a physiotherapist, I’ll share a photo of my own first connection with HUR. One of my last clinical placements as a physiotherapy student was held at Peurunka Rehabilitation centre, in Finland, then focused on rehabilitation weeks for occupation health, cardiovascular health and neurology, among others. HUR equipment then provided the winning edge for the site, allowing everyone to train safely.

Whilst the two young physiotherapy students are having a great time, it’s great to notice that the twist and adduction/abduction machines, some of my favorites, are part of the selection, and look very much the same as today. This image is a nice reminder for me about returning back to moments from the past, allowing me to celebrate 35 years of HUR, and also 30 years of my path with HUR and physiotherapy.

I hope that we will get to celebrate all these milestones with everyone throughout the events this year.

Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman
Physiotherapist, Accredited Exercise Physiologist (ESSAM), PhD (Biomechanics)
Research Lead, Area Account Manager (Vic, Tas, SA)