Readings 5 Elements Tiatsu ™

Whole Body Vibration

Vibration Therapy

Whole Body Vibration

Whole Body Vibration in the office
$10 for a 12 minute session or $55 for a 6 session punch card

Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is one of the most astounding modalities to come along in a long time. There are very few people or conditions that cannot benefit greatly from this amazing therapy. I know, I know, I know. In an age of hyped-up everything, WBV sounds too good to be true. It's not. Whole Body Vibration is backed by hundreds of peer-reviewed Scientific Studies from some of the most prestigious institutions on the planet. 

The reality is that Whole Body Vibration is nothing new. The ancient Greeks were using similar technology to increase athletic performance as did the Eastern Bloc countries of the Cold War era. One of the things that was noticed during the research / testing process for the early vibration machines, was that WBV seemed to increase bone density. Of course, this got the attention of NASA, who got into the WBV research game while looking for something to prevent bone loss in astronauts spending weeks, or even months in a zero gravity situation. 

One of the amazing facts about WBV is that it works not so much by repetitive strength exercises (like lifting weights, riding a bicycle, rowing, swimming, etc), but by stimulation the part of the nervous system that controls strength (muscle contraction). Interestingly enough, it seems that WBV is also a great way to stimulate the Cerebellum, which among other things, coordinates the spinal postural muscles (can anyone say Brain-Based Therapy?). The bottom line is that it works.

Expert in the field, Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, Dr. Chantal Vella of University of Idaho, explains it this way:

The current theory is that whole-body vibration stimulates the body’s natural stretch reflex and causes muscle contractions in much the same way that a doctor’s tapping below a patient’s patella with a reflex hammer elicits a knee-jerk response. The stretch reflex is controlled by stretch receptors called muscle spindles that are located in skeletal muscle. Muscle spindles are usually activated when a muscle is under a static stretch or is quickly stretched or overstretched, causing a reflex contraction of the muscle. With whole-body vibration, this reflex action is continually stimulated, so a muscle continues to contract and relax until the vibration stops. In addition, studies have reported that activation of one muscle spindle will cause a reflex contraction and relaxation in many adjacent muscles (Issurin & Tenenbaum 1999; Cardinale & Lim 2003).

Muscle spindles work by activating motor neurons (nerves) in the spinal cord; these neurons initiate movement by sending signals from the brain to the muscles. Voluntary activation of motor neurons is a limiting factor in muscular force production. The improvements in muscular force production with whole-body vibration are a direct result of increased motor neuron activation by muscle spindles, leading to increased motor unit recruitment and force production. Whole-body vibration stimulates fast-twitch (type 2) motor units, which are usually recruited during high-intensity, explosive movements or whenever slow-twitch (type 1) motor units are maximally recruited. As a result, long-term, exhaustive exposure to whole-body vibration can lead to muscular fatigue and muscle soreness.

I included the research first for a reason. You will see lots of claims about WBV's ability to help with a diverse and seemingly unrelated number of health problems. In fact, if you click on the link above, you will see that WBV is being touted for its ability to help neurological problems like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Cerebral Palsy, as well as several others. There is strong evidence that WBV is capable of helping people with everything from Diabetes to Obesity, Osteoporosis to Cardiovascular conditions, Fitness to Fibromyalgia. It is also helpful for many people suffering with balance disorders. My theory is that WBV is seriously strengthening the Cerebellum --- the part of the brain that not only contains your vibratory sense, but also controls spinal postural muscles. Although people that suffer from specific health problems or diseases may or may not find WBV to be a solution for their particular problem, I am going to leave you with a list that cannot be debated. The following is a list of the things that WBV has been clinically proven to do in the peer-reviewed Scientific Literature.....

Increased Flexibility & Range of Motion (Decreases Muscle Tightness)

Improved Balance / Equilibrium and Coordination

Provides Benefits of both Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercise

Increases Physical Strength, Coordination, and Endurance

Reduces Joint Pain as well as Ligamentous Stress

Improves Bladder Problems / Incontinence by Aiding Pelvic Floor Function

Helps Relieve Menopausal Symptoms as well as PMS 

Increases Neurotransmitters Serotonin and Neurotrophins ---- Reduces Depression

Decreases the Body's #1 Stress Hormone --- Cortisol 

Enhances Conventional Athletic Training Results and Speeds Training Recovery 

Increased Proprioceptive Stimulation --- Pain Reduction 

Improves Collagen Production 

Relieves Tension and Chronic Pain in Ankles, Knees, Back and Neck

Better Posture

Increased Circulation, Oxygenation, and Lymph Drainage

Decreased Blood Pressure

Increases Secretion of Hormones Critical to the Regeneration and Repair Processes. These Include HGH (Human Growth Hormone), IGF-1, and Testosterone

Increased Tendon Strength 

Increased Basal Metabolic Rate 

Accelerated Weight Loss 

Increased Bone Strength and Bone Density
Helps Fight Osteoporosis 

Oh, the research is there all right. Not the kind of research done in some fly-by-night, rinky-dink, never-heard-of-that-one-before type of places. But instead; major Universities, Medical Schools, and even people associated with NASA. Here are a few studies for you. You can look them up if you want to read them.

”The feasibility of Whole Body Vibration in institutionalized elderly persons and its influence on muscle performance, balance and mobility: a randomized controlled trial” I. Bautmans, E Van Hees, J.C. Lemper, T. Mets, BMC Geriatrics 2005 Vo 22 pp5-17.

"The Influence of whole body vibration on jumping performance” Bosco et al; Biol Sport 1998 Vol 15 pp 157-64.

”Controlled whole body vibration to decrease fall risk and improve health-related quality of life of nursing home residents.” O. Bruyere, M.A.Wuidart, E. Di Palma, M. Gourlay, O. Ethgen, F. Richy, J.Y.Reginster. Arch. Phys.Med. Rehabil 2005 Vol Feb 86(2) pp 303-7.

”Strength increase after whole-body vibration compared with resistance training.” 2003 Vol Jun 35(6) pp1033-1041.

”Effect of whole-body vibration exercise on lumbar bone mineral density, bone turnover, and chronic back pain in post-menopausal osteoporotic women treated with alendronate" Vol Apr 17(2) pp 157-63 chronic back pain).

”Whole-body vibration exercise leads to alterations in muscle blood volume.” Clinical Physiology 2001 Vol May 21(3) pp 377-382.

"Vibratory stimulation for the alleviation of chronic pain” T.C. Lundeberg; Acta Physiol Scand Supple 1983 Vol 523 pp1-51.

”Effects of 24 weeks of whole body vibration training on body composition and muscle strength in untrained females.” Int J Sports Med 2004 Vol Jan 25(1) pp1-5.

”Balance training and exercise in geriatric patients.” J Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interact 2000 Vol Sep 1(1) pp 61-5.

”Will whole-body vibration training help increase the range of motion of the hamstrings?” R. Van den Tillaar;J Strength Cond Res 2006 Feb: 20(1): pp 192-6.

”Effect of 6-month whole body vibration training on hip density, muscle strength, and postural control in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled pilot study.” Verschueren SM.; Jbone Miner. Res. 2004 Vol Mar 19(3) pp 352-9. 

The truth is, if you go online and start looking, you'll find hundreds upon hundreds of studies on this topic.