Vibration plates are used by NASA astronauts, professional athletes and celebrities, but do they really work? Or are they all just fancy equipment for the wealthy and famous? We have scoured countless literature on Whole Body Vibration and Vibration Exercise to bring you the truth behind this surprisingly well-researched technology, backed by more than a century of research and application.
Vibration plates may seem to be the latest technology to take the health and fitness world by storm, however, the technology is in fact nothing new and it applications dates back to as early as the 1800’s. Whole body vibration therapy was developed by Swedish inventor, Gustav Zander (1835 – 1920), with the aim of improving health and well-being. His vibration machines grew so popular he established his therapeutic centres in 146 countries by 1906 and successfully gained traction in the USA by 1910. Russian astronauts and Olympians went on to further develop the use of vibration training to prevent muscle and bone density loss in zero-gravity space and to improve the performance of athletes as early as the 1960’s. Today, astronauts and professional athletes continue to use vibration training to boost their muscle performance and bone density.
Even though the technology has been used avidly in space, sports and the health industry, it is only up until the 2000’s that this highly beneficial technology trickled down to the masses. With companies realising the benefits of whole body vibration and creating sleeker, easy-to-use vibration plates at more affordable price points, consumers are starting to pay attention to this wonder exercise machine which promises to do it all.
Whole body vibration is usually implemented through the use of a vibrating platform. You can choose to use a passive stance on the platform (e.g. standing, sitting, etc.) or an active stance (e.g. squats, push ups, bicep curls using additional resistance straps, etc.) to target different problem areas for a variation of results and benefits. The vibrations are generated by motors underneath the platform and transmitted to the user on the machine. The varying frequency, amplitude and direction at which the vibration platform moves determines the intensity and results you will achieve. For a more in depth guide on what to look out for in a vibration plate, see here.
During Whole Body Vibration, muscles throughout the body are stimulated through the destabilising effect on the user, once he/she steps on the vibrating platform. To regain the loss of balance, muscles throughout the body are tensed of flexed. Depending on the stance you assume on the vibration plate, muscles around the joints involved will be stretched and stimulated. This is picked up by muscle spindles (sensory receptors within muscles), which sends the signal to the central nervous system and brain, and from the brain back down to the spinal cord so you instinctively contract your muscles throughout your body to balance yourself. Due to the involuntary nature of the muscle contractions, as well as the higher frequency in which these muscle contractions occur on the vibration plate, more muscle fibres are activated as compared to conventional conscious exercise, increasing the overall muscle activity and shortening the time taken to achieve your desired results.
Anti-aging through Maintaining Healthy Muscle & BonesScientists have found health problems suffered by astronauts to be not only due to the absence of gravity.
There has been ample evidence to show the positive impact of the force of gravity on the human body. In “bed-rest” studies where test subjects remain in a horizontal position for weeks and months, not even sitting up to eat, bathe or go to the toilet, even though the person is still on Earth and a normal amount of gravity is exerted on them, they do not experience the normal directional force of gravity and suffer the same detrimental health consequences as an astronaut would in space. These changes include balance disorders, muscle loss, bone loss, spinal dysfunction and cardiovascular dysfunction.
These negative health effects are not merely a consequence of inactivity. Subjects undertaking intensive cardiovascular exercise while horizontal were not able to completely prevent cardiovascular dysfunction, bone loss and other effects. In spite of strenuous exercise in space, for several hours every day, loss in bone, muscle and cardiovascular function happens ten times faster in space than on Earth. Exercise without the right directional force of gravity is simply ineffective in counteracting muscle and bone loss. It is crucial to experience the vertical pull of gravity through the spine of the human body to effectively mitigate muscle and bone mass losses.
To the rest of us who will probably never leave the Earth’s gravitational field in our lifetime, this means remaining active in an upright standing position is imperative to a healthy body. For the most of us who are deskbound and enjoy being absorbed in our mobile devices even in our free time, standing on a vibration plate for 10 minutes a day could mean the difference. The movement of the vibration plate induces a higher gravitational force or g-force on your body through the increased muscle activity throughout your body (you are trying to stand up and balance yourself i.e. acting against the force of gravity). Best of all, there is no additional load or effort required on your part. Just step on the vibration plate and enjoy loosening up in the therapeutic vibrations.
The Importance of Gravity & How Vibration Exercise Counters Muscle & Bone Loss
With our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, sitting has become the new age smoking.
A toxic body is usually lethargic, often plagued with aches and pains, digestion problems, and a dull complexion. Detoxification is crucial for a healthy body immune from disease, ailments and glowing from within. Our body naturally has a detoxification process, removing impurities from the blood through our liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. In a perfect world, we would all be eating balanced diets so our liver is able to flush out the toxins in our system adequately. However, modern day diet and lifestyle is quite the contrary. With the irregular sleeping hours, high-stress environments and processed food laden meals, coupled with the lack of sufficient exercise, we are all likely courting our doom, whether or not we like to think that way. Whole body vibration presents an opportunity to squeeze in exercise and circulation right at home, without the need to specially take out the time to engage in rigorous workouts most of us dread. Just a few minutes on the vibration plate can help you energise and detoxify your cells.
Toxic Blood Cells
Unhealthy blood cells with the lack of oxygen and nutrients are usually clumped together and unable to receive the required oxygen and nutrients it needs from the network of capillaries throughout your body. The health of your blood cells determines the health of your body. This is one of the major reasons why you may feel tired easily and require more rest.
Healthy Blood Cells
Healthy blood cells are usually far apart from each other and able to move freely throughout your entire body, getting into every capillary to provide energy for your whole body. A healthy circulation and plenty of hydration is important for a good rest. With healthy blood cells, your body will be optimally replenished during your sleep and you will require less time to feel your best. Blood cells have a negative charge on the outside and a positive charge inside; this is what keeps them healthy and far apart from each other. However, when your body is overly toxic, your blood cells are stripped of its negative charge.
Unhealthy red blood cells vs Healthy red blood cells
The Importance of Lymphatic Drainage
Our lymphatic system is our natural detoxification system and what keeps our body functioning healthily. Toxic is being accumulated in our lymph nodes and not drained away due to lack of activity which prevents toxins from being flushed out of our body. Unlike blood, which has the heart as a pump to oxygenate the blood cells running through our body, our lymph nodes do not have a pump. The best way to drain out the harmful toxins in your body is through massage and exercise. Fortunately, vibration plates are able to deliver both exercise and circulation, through varying settings and stances on the vibration plate.
The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels and ducts which transports fluids throughout the body. It is responsible for removing toxins from healthy cells and carrying essential chemicals to the antibodies to help your body fight off viruses and bacteria. By improving the function of your lymphatic system, you will be able to improve the fluid balance throughout your body, your fatty acid distribution and raise your immunity towards viruses, bacteria, and diseases.
Although the lymph moves through the lymphatic system to naturally detox our body, it does not always perform optimally due to the lack of its own pumping mechanism. Whole body vibration plates enables you to reinforce your natural lymphatic drainage by heightening movements in the skeletal muscles and smoothing muscle cells to pump the lymph from tissues. This also increases blood circulation, meaning more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your tissues and cells, especially in areas where circulation is poor as a result of injury or disease. Lymphatic obstruction can lead to serious detrimental health problems, including Lymphedema – swelling especially in the arms and legs due to the removal or damage to lymph nodes, commonly found in cancer patients.
With a vibration plate, you will be able to boost your immune system, improve your blood circulation, lymphatic drainage and overall health right a home, without splurging on expensive treatments and therapies or rigorous exercise.
How Whole Body Vibration Helps Detox & Recharge Your Body
Several hundred peer-reviewed papers have been published on the effects of Whole Body Vibration, and the number of research studies conducted every year is accelerating. Effects described in the studies, include muscle strength and toning, cellulite reduction, improved bone density, heightened secretion of hormones associated with exercise, and depressed response of hormones associated with stress.
Vibration therapy has been used in the treatment of osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, spina bifida, brittle bone disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and even neurological and hormonal therapy. The involuntary stimulation of muscle contractions throughout the body including the spine and bones makes vibration therapy an indispensable technology in medical treatment, where in many cases, the patients are unable to perform conventional exercise due to weak bones and joints. More importantly, vibration plates offers a means to prevent and in some cases reverse the deterioration of illnesses previously perceived to have no cure or difficult to treat.
One important difference between conventional training methods and Whole Body Vibration is there is only very minimal load exerted on the patient. No additional weights are necessary, ensuring passive structures, such as bones, ligaments and joints are not overexerted. Apart from being highly suited to people suffering from old age, illness, disorders, excessive weight or injury, vibration plates are also highly suitable for professional athletes who want to stimulate and strengthen their muscles without overloading their joints and wish to reduce their risk of injury.
Vibration therapy induces compression and remodelling of the bone tissue, activating the osteoblasts (cells which secrete bone substance), while reducing the activity of the osteoclasts (cells which absorbs bone tissue). Repeated stimulation, combined with the increased pull on the bones by the muscles, increases bone mineral density over time. With improved circulation usually accompanied by vibration therapy, better nutrient penetration to the bone tissue have been found as a contributing factor to bone perfusion in studies as well.
In the Berlin Bedrest Study, it has been proven that 10 minutes of vibration training 6 times a week prevented muscle and bone loss, over the course of 55 days. Increased muscle power, postural control and balance are also factors important to prevent patients from falling and risking bone fractures. Studies involving elderly subjects have shown an improvement in these areas through the use of whole body vibration.
These results and findings are a testament to the real science behind vibration technology and its true benefits. Patients undergoing regular vibration therapy usually start seeing results from the third month and with continued use, the possibilities of vibration exercise seems to know no bounds.
Vibration Therapy Help Patients Recover the Use of Their Legs
How Vibration Exercise Cured My Fibromyalgia
Scientists, doctors, athletes and celebrities trust and stand by whole body vibration exercise because it delivers real results, based on real science. Now, you can benefit from this amazing technology too.
For more information on VibroFit vibration plates, see this.