Whether you are an avid runner, soccer mom or weekend warrior – everyone is trying their best in today’s fast pace world to maintain optimal health and fitness through breakthrough technology and exercises. Current fads include dry needling, cupping, tabata/HITT workouts and most recently Whole Body Vibration therapy (WBV). Now WBV isn’t exactly new, but is resurfacing as an effective treatment to increase bone density and maintain/restore muscle strength. Vibration therapy has been used for thousands of years and was first well acknowledged in 2002 when NASA implemented vibration therapy to fight muscle atrophy (wasting) and bone density loss with their astronauts on space missions. Recent research has found that WBV is beneficial for seasoned athletes, pulmonary patients (COPD), neurologic diagnosis (CP and Parkinson’s disease), as well as the aging patient.
Treatments usually consist of the patient holding a static position(s) for 3-10 minutes. The main principle behind WBV is that a patient is exposed to 3D vibrations while standing/lying on the vibrating platform. The rapid vibrations force muscles to contract to maintain your position which ultimately provides a form of exercise. The vibrations stimulate muscle spindles and alpha motor neurons causing relaxation/contraction of muscles to enhance neuromuscular learning. Weight bearing along with vibratory perturbations will help to stimulate bone growth to avoid or reduce the effects of osteoporosis and loss of bone density in community dwelling adults. Significant improvements in gait speed and balance were also noted due to WBV mimicking natural perturbations during ambulation.
Benefits of WBV:
- Increased bone density
- Increased muscle and tendon strength
- Improved muscle performance (power and coordination)
- Increased flexibility
- Improved circulation
- Increased body awareness
- Improve walking/functional balance
- Pain reduction
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased spasticity
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- Acute injuries
- Unhealed/recent fractures
- Recent arthroplasty (joint replacement)
- Kidney/Gall stones
- Pregnant women
WBV is a newly accepted form of treatment, and research has proven that WBV can be beneficial to a variety of diagnoses and populations. If you are interested in learning more about WBV or starting a WBV therapy program, ask your trusted Synergy physical therapist or check out the ‘Synergy Recovery Room’ for more details and other therapy options.
Kayla Roof, SPT
Student Physical Therapist
Synergy Manual Physical Therapy – South Office