What is whole body vibration?Whole body vibration (WBV) training is a method for muscle strengthening that is increasingly used in a variety of clinical situations. Key descriptors of vibration devices include the frequency, the amplitude, and the direction of the vibration movement. In a typical vibration session, the user stands on the device in a static position or performs dynamic movements. The vibrations stimulate muscle spindles and alpha-motor neurons, which initiate a muscle contraction. An immediate effect of a non-exhausting vibration session is an increase in muscle power. Most studies of the longer term use of vibration treatment in various disorders have pursued three therapeutic aims: increasing muscle strength, improving balance, and increasing bone mass.
Background on whole-body-vibration Originally developed for Russian cosmonauts to preserve muscle and bone mass in zero gravity conditions, whole body vibration is gaining confidence among health practitioners particularly those who treat athletic populations and people compromised by disease, age or disability. Whole body vibration is already employed extensively in Europe and Asia. And practitioners in the United States are becoming aware of its systemic effects and therapeutic applications. What does whole body vibration do to the body? Like aerobic and anaerobic exercise, whole-body vibration increases physical strength, dexterity and endurance. Heightened circulation increases oxygen uptake, while mechanical oscillations create tendon stretch reflexes to stimulate involuntary muscle contractions throughout the body. The human body responds to movement. At just the right frequency of vibration, and range of vertical displacement, the body senses intense exercise, and responds with a flood of beneficial effects. Blood flow and lymphatic drainage increase, natural hormone production and muscle strength improve, and joint flexibility and bone density are enhanced. In some cases, studies have shown WBV can boost muscle strength more than ordinary weight training in a shorter time period. Physical Therapy and rehabilitation WBV has been used as a therapeutic modality for people with paraplegia, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. By stimulating muscles that the brain cant control, WBV helps minimize lower-body atrophy and, in some cases, reconnect the signal from the brain with previously atrophied muscles. Patients with postural problems often report new awareness and control over lower abdominal muscles after WBV sessions. In addition to whole body strengthening and improved endurance, WBV is being used as in therapeutic role in helping with boosting bone density, relieving joint pain, lymph drainage and improving circulation in postoperative recovery.