Whole Body Vibration – Summary Findings

How long has Vibration been around?

The ancient Greeks used vibration to improve healing as many as 2,200 years ago. They observed that using vibration to increase circulation significantly improved healing. In the late 1890’s Dr. Kellogg, of the breakfast cereal fame, used vibration with his patients at his Michigan sanitarium to treat cancer and other diseases.

Who first used Whole Body Vibration?
In the early 1960’s Russian space program scientists were the first to apply vibration to the whole body. They found that vibrating their cosmonauts prior to sending them into space put their bodies in peak physical condition and allowed them to stay in a zero-gravity environment in space up to 3 times longer than before applying vibration to their bodies.
What are the general benefits of Vibration?

• Low back and disc degeneration improvements
• Promotes energy and endurance
• Improves athletic performance
• Specific strengthening exercises once a patient has shown improved functionality
• Stronger, more effective core muscles and better performance
• Increases bone mineral density, which is a viable solution to reverse bone loss and to combat osteoporosis
• Enhances blood circulation and lymphatic drainage
• Improves flexibility, agility
• Increase in range of motion, balance and mobility
• Increases metabolic rate that is critical to weight loss and maintenance
• Reduces joint/ligament stress, along with the risk of joint/ligament related injuries
• Neuromuscular stimulation and enhancement (increased joint proprioception, muscle rehabilitation and retraining muscle holding pattern s)
• Reduces back pain and stiffness, improves spinal curvature, improves vertebral spacing
• Elevates HGH (Human Growth Hormone), testosterone, collagen (needed for healthy skin), and serotonin production (feel good hormone) while suppressing Cortisol (hormone triggered by stress)

How does Whole Body Vibration work?

A vibration plate applies from 1 to 50 Hz (hertz) to the entire human body. This vibration causes involuntary muscle contractions (1 Hz = 1 contraction). These contractions provide neuromuscular, cardiovascular and flexibility benefits.

Is Vibration training safe?

Whole Body Vibration utilizes a very specific frequency range that is both proven in research and safe and effective. Every object has a resonance frequency. For example, internal organs and the spine have a resonance frequency between 5 and 10 Hz.Extended vibration at frequencies lower than 5 HZ is not recommended. Whole BodyVibration stays within the safe range. This is why countless hours of exercise have been performed using Whole Body Vibration and there have been no adverse effects.

How much research is behind Vibration?

Vibration training has 40 years of research behind its science. With any technology, the individual needs to take a critical look at the research and validity behind it. Whole Body Vibration has been featured in such prestigious and influential peer reviewed journals as Spine, Journal of Bone and Mineral Density, and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. With its potential applications, new research is constantly being initiated across numerous North American and European Universities.

What makes Vibration different than traditional exercise?

Whole Body Vibration has the competitive advantage over conventional training due to its ability to provide a more effective and efficient exercise without the constraints associated with regular training, such as joint stress, lengthy repetitions and time commitments. Research has shown similar strength gains to conventional resistance training at a fraction of the time. Fifteen minutes of Vibration exercise produces similar results to 30-45 minutes of conventional training. In addition, there is less stress on the joints, ligaments and tendons with Vibration training when compared to regular resistance training. Therefore, Whole Body Vibration provides an effective solution to those that may benefit from weight training, but are unable to engage in the program.

What is the science behind Vibration?

The Stretch Reflex: The movement of the vibration plate with amplitude of 4 mm simulates the body’s natural ‘stretch reflex’ (Tonic Vibration Reflex). This is similar to the knee jerk reaction that occurs when the knee is tapped by a reflex hammer in a doctor’s office. Without thinking about it, your body responds with a strong involuntary muscle contraction, leading to your leg ‘kicking out’. With Whole Body Vibration technology, these strong muscle contractions can be repeated at a rapid rate. At a frequency of 6 to 30 times a second, Whole Body Vibration can produce up to 1800 muscle contractions in 1 minute.

Nearly 100% Muscle Recruitment: Due to its involuntary effect on muscle contraction, nearly 100% of the muscle fibers are recruited. Compare this to conventional training where there is only on average 40% muscle recruitment. This benefits the rehabilitation patient looking to add stability and strength to all muscles around their joints and to the athlete looking to maximize strength gains.

Increased Blood Circulation: The gentle rapid contractions of up to 3000 times per minute allow the muscle to work as a pump in introducing blood to even the smallest blood vessels. This leads to the ability of the body to carry off waste products much faster, leading to increased peripheral circulation.

Does Whole Body Vibration replace traditional exercise?

Published clinical research indicates that WBV training is a safe and acceptable alternative to cardiovascular exercise for people who cannot participate in cardiovascular exercise; these reasons include functional limitations, beta-blockers, heart disease related limitations/risks and refusal to participate. Combining resistance/strength training and WBV produce rapid results while causing much less stress to the body and joints. The body is loaded naturally with vibration rather than unnaturally with weights, thereby reducing the incidence of injury and joint degradation. Vibration amplifies any motion performed on a vibration plate by a factor of 8 to 10 times.

What is the age limit to Whole Body Vibration training?

There is no upper age limit to vibration. By itself, it does not indicate a contraindication. Whole Body Vibration has many benefits for the elderly population, including positive effects on bone density, improvements in blood circulation, and increase in strength, balance and flexibility. All this is accomplished with less stress on the joints, tendons and ligaments than conventional exercise.

How many calories are used with Whole Body Vibration?

It has less to do with the number of calories burned during a vibration session and much more to do with increasing metabolism. Our metabolism is unique to us. Metabolism is our body’s ability to burn a certain number of calories each day. The higher our metabolism, the more calories we burn and, more importantly, the more energy we have. Whole Body Vibration exercise has been shown to increase our resting metabolism. Vibration will allow you to burn up to 30% more calories each day than before vibration training. This will help in preventing a drop in metabolism if you reduce your daily caloric intake and, especially, allow you to maintain your weight loss over time.

What are the Neuromuscular benefits?

Vibration causes an involuntary contraction in 100% of the muscle, both slow and fast twitch fibers (40% slow twitch and 60% fast twitch). Traditional isometric exercise stimulates only slow twitch fibers. Ten minutes of WBV training provides better results in just ten minutes than 45 minutes of traditional strength training. In fact you can expect similar results in just one month with vibration that would take ten months with traditional weight training.

What are the Cardiovascular benefits?

WBV also produces vascular improvements similar to cardiovascular exercise. In fact WBV can cause up to 3 times more circulation than running on a treadmill. The massive circulation caused by vibration improves vasodilatation of the vascular wall. The rapid repetitive contractions occur all the way down to the cellular level, causing a more permeable cellular wall allowing increased uptake of oxygen and micro-nutrients. The result is rapid transport of much healthier blood throughout the body. This improves the body’s natural healing process, reducing healing and recovery time by up to 50%.

What are the Flexibility benefits?

Vibration causes an increase in muscle flexibility and pliability. It is impossible to effectively stretch cold muscle tissue. Vibration causes rapid circulation and warming of the muscles. You can expect much better results when stretching muscles with the help of vibration.

What are the Bone Density benefits?

Vibration applied to soft tissue and bone causes an immediate reduction in bone loss and profound improvement in the density and strength of human tissue and bone. Muscle contractions generated through vibration also play a major role on the force (g-forces) exerted on bone. The vibration signals can be anabolic and anti-catabolic and increase the structural strength of the tissue. They further have shown to accelerate the regeneration of bone within defects. Bone density improvements of up to 12% in one year have been documented in clinical studies. No vibration side effects were observed in any clinical study.

What are the Joint benefits?

Vibration stimulates soft tissue, including tendons and ligaments. This effect causes a strengthening and density improvement in joint soft tissue. Studies have shown an improvement in joint function and increase in joint flexion. The reduction of Cortisol, an inflammation marker, causes a significant reduction in joint inflammation.

What are the Cellular benefits?

Vibration stimulates human cells causing increased permeability of the cell wall allowing for vastly improved cellular uptake of oxygen and micronutrients. The rapid transport of healthier cells throughout the body improve respiration and reduce healing time by up to 52%.

What is the effect of Cortisol on the human body?

Cortisol (hydrocortisone) is a steroid hormone, more specifically a glucocorticoid, produced by the adrenal gland. It is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through glycogenolysis (harmful for diabetics); suppress the immune system (slow the body’s healing process); and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also decreases bone formation by increasing the production of osteoclasts, speeding long-term development of osteoporosis. Additionally, Cortisol increases blood pressure and widespread vasodilation, stimulates energy storage in fat cells, causes muscle and bone loss, disrupts sleep and recovery, damages kidney function, shuts down the reproductive system, reduces serotonin levels in the brain, and impairs learning and memory retrieval of already stored information. Essentially elevated levels of Cortisol put the body in a ‘survival’ state causing significant negative effects on the human body.

What effect does Vibration have on Cortisol?

A single session of Whole Body Vibration training induces hormonal and immune responses, playing an important role in the long-term adaptive process. Whole Body vibration (WBV) has also been shown to affect long-term hormonal responses. Evidence suggests improved Cortisol reduction due to the increased neuromuscular load caused by vibration. A significant reduction in Cortisol directly after a 10-minute WBV session reduces Cortisol by up to 32%.

What is the effect of Growth Hormone (GH)?

Growth hormone is a peptide hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates growth and cell reproduction, increases lean muscle tissue, decreases adipose tissue(belly fat), increases bone density, improves sexual function and performance, strengthens immune system, increases circulation and improves blood lipid levels (HDL/LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides).

What effect does Vibration have on Growth Hormone?

In two separate published clinical studies WBV increased the natural secretion of GH by 320% and 464%.

What effect does Vibration have on Heart Disease?

Whole-body vibration training reduces arterial stiffness and blood pressure. The high volume of circulation created from the rapid contraction of muscle fiber provides nearly identical benefits to what is typically seen from cardiovascular exercise. Vasodilatation and increased VO2 (volume of oxygen uptake and cardio-respiratory efficiency) is observed in every clinical study involving WBV. Blood pressure and lipids are also positively impacted and lowered from vibration training. WBV is provides a low-risk, effective and comfortable alternative to traditional cardiovascular exercise.

What effect does Vibration have on Stroke treatment and prevention?

Postural control and balance remain a major problem for stroke patients. WBV training improves proprioceptive control of posture in stroke patients. Clinical results provide evidence that stroke patients benefit from combined whole body vibration and balance training more than from a comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation program in terms of trunk stability, postural control, and muscle tone. It is also a safe and effective means of neuromuscular stimulation and improved quality of life for stroke patients.

The benefits of regular exercise include a substantial reduction in the risk for stroke. Primary and subsequent stroke prevention guidelines include the improvement of blood pressure and total cholesterol. WBV studies show blood pressure reductions and total cholesterol reductions in study subjects.

What effect does Vibration have on Anti-Aging?

There are many factors that go with aging. Inactivity and stress are two. Vibration exercise has been shown to significantly decrease the stress hormone Cortisol and increase Serotonin in as few as just three 10-minute sessions per week.

What effect does Vibration have on Balance and Stability?

In geriatric, stroke, neurological disease and neuromuscular disease populations, balance and stability remain a critical issue. WBV provides a safe and effective means of improving balance and stability in all disease populations.

What effect does Vibration have on Balance and Stability?

In geriatric, stroke, neurological disease and neuromuscular disease populations, balance and stability remain a critical issue. WBV provides a safe and effective means of improving balance and stability in all disease populations.

What effect does Vibration have on Fibromyalgia?

Major goals in the treatment of Fibromyalgia (FM) include reducing pain, inflammation and fall risk. WBV is extremely effective at reducing Cortisol and its associated inflammation; a major cause of pain and discomfort in FM patients. Treatment effect after12-weeks of tilting whole body vibration therapy were 57.1% on overall balance and stability and 66.6% on anterior-posterior balance and stability. In another study women with FM increased their Medio-Lateral Stability Index (MLSI) by engaging in a 6-week traditional exercise program with supplementary WBV. This provides support for the use of WBV for falls prevention in this patient group.