Medical research and literature has shown that Whole Body Vibration Therapy helps build muscle strength, bone density, and improve both flexibility and circulation.
History of Whole Body Vibration
Vibration has been used as a therapeutic tool since the late 1800s. The use for muscle, bone and performance began in the late 1960s / early 1970’s with the development of a vibrating pulley system by one of Russia’s key sports scientists, Dr. Vladimir Nazarov. Dr. Vladimir Nazarov first introduced this training technique to Olympians, ballet dancers, and the Russian Space program.
The Russian Space program, the European Space Agency, and NASA are actively using Whole Body Vibration Therapy in ongoing studies for the maintenance of muscle strength, muscle mass, and bone density in low gravity environments. There has been a duplication in research in Whole Body Vibration Therapy and there are over 600 studies dealing with the effects and benefits of Whole Body Vibration Therapy. The first commercially available platform was a German Pivotal platform called the Galileo, discovered in 1996.
Galileo laid claim to exclusivity of the Pivotal vibration method via an earlier patent. Years later, numerous other Pivotal machines emerged. These platforms also produced Pivotal vibration. Because the Galileo patent was so strong, it gave rise to the next vibration method, Lineal vibration. Dr. Carmelo Bosco, an Italian scientist who initially let the way in Whole Body Vibration Therapy research with the Galileo platform, soon developed his own machine.
This Lineal platform was called the NEMES. Many people believe that the existence of such a large number of Lineal platforms on the market is a reflection of its superiority, but it is a reflection of the lack of any existing patent and the ease at which this platform type can be reproduced.
Despite the emergence of seemingly different technology since then (i.e. spiral, triplanar etc.), since the original Galileo and NEMES, there has not been any drastic changes to the way Whole Body Vibration Therapy is delivered to a user.
b. Side Alternating
The plate of a Pivotal platform in a Whole Body Vibration Machine moves similar to a seesaw and exerts its influence on the body in an alternating right and left vertical motion.
As the platform moves up and down, it places a vertically directed force on each lower extremity (or upper extremity when training the upper body) in an alternating state.
The design of the Pivotal platform was based upon observing the mechanics of human gait with specific attention to the superior and inferior motions of the lower extremities and pelvis.
A Lineal platform exerts its influence on the body by moving both lower extremities (upper extremities) at the same time. As the platform moves up and down, it places a vertical force on both legs at the same time.
Furthermore, the Lineal platform design on a Whole Body Vibration Machine occurred after the Pivotal platform was patented and is thought to have a less functional benefit to the user, as it cannot train a reciprocal movement pattern.
Clinically Supported Benefits of Whole Body Vibration Therapy:
Increased Muscle Power & Force
This is achieved through increasing the level of acceleration (gravity) that the body works against (force). Additionally, innate to Whole Body Vibration Therapy training, is improving the speed of contraction or force generation (power)
Increased Muscle Flexibility
This is achieved by utilizing vibration to release fascial tightness while also increasing local circulation.
Improved Balance and Reduced Fall Risk
This is achieved on three primary levels. First is by increasing joint proprioception. Second by increasing flexibility so movement is capable when stability is challenged. Third, Whole Body Vibration Therapy increases muscle power and can therefore enable a more rapid response in the muscle when stability is challenged.
General Proprioception and Postural Stability
This is created through Whole Body Vibration unique ability to stimulate nerve receptors, while also directly activating the muscle spindles.
Increased Bone Density
This is accomplished through both local circulatory changes in the bone as well as the “mechanostat theory” whereby bone and muscle communicate. When increases contractile force is generated, bone responds with corresponding changes in density.
Increased Circulation & Oxygenation
This is achieved through both local vibratory effects as well as increased muscle activity.
Pain Reduction and Improvements in Quality of Life
This is achieved through “gate control theory” principles as well as typical changes in strength, stability, and movement.
Improvements In Functional Outcome Measures
This is accomplished through a wide variety of benefits provided by Whole Body Vibration Therapy.
Increased GH / Testosterone Production & Reduced Cortisol Levels
Multiple theories exist as to why this is the case. A high percentage of it focuses on power training effects of Whole Body Vibration Therapy. A handful of studies placing Whole Body Vibration Therapy Training against traditional methods have shown it to be equally effective, but requiring less time as well.
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