Whole Body Vibration: ‘True’ Therapy Or Just Another ‘Weight Loss’ Gimmick?
It’s often said by Whole Body Vibration Therapy Experts that ‘ten minutes of vibration a day’ can be close to if not equivalent to an hour spent working out. Additionally, Whole BOdy Vibration Therapy is also said to improve muscle tone and circulation, and accelerate weight loss.
It’s an extremely compelling idea: passively standing on a platform and doing, well nothing, while your body seemingly tones and loses weight on its own. Is there substantial evidence to back up these statements?
How Does Whole Body Vibration Work?
Whole Body Vibration Therapy was originated for athletes to help improve the effectiveness of their training. Whole Body Vibration Machine would be included in some daily conditioning and gym exercises such as:
Whole Body Vibration Therapy is undertaken by standing, sitting, lying or doing exercises on specifically designed equipment that oscillates, typically in a horizontal plane, at relatively high frequencies.
The Whole Body Vibration Therapy theory is that the vibration signals are transferred into body tissues, tendons and muscles, which ultimately increases muscle contractions and thus improves muscle strength, coordination and balance. In the long term, such contractions would assist in increasing muscle mass and energy expenditure, leading to better control of blood sugar levels as a result.
The current Whole Body Vibration Therapy theory also suggests bone cells are sensitive to this vibration and respond by increasing bone density. This has a further impact on better sugar control.
Nonetheless, these are still theories. The overall effects of Whole Body Vibration Therapy remain elusive, as scientific studies vastly vary in the vibration parameters used.
Can Whole Body Vibration Help With Weight Loss?
A review of trials for whole body vibration therapy in humans showed the outcomes were far less convincing. Whole body vibration therapy alone (without exercise) – usually three times per week, ten to 60 minutes per day over periods of six to 52 weeks – does not support meaningful weight loss (considered to be more than 5% body weight).
While small individual studies report weight loss, their methodologies often combine diets or other exercises. Take into consideration that such benefits are rarely seen with whole body vibration therapy alone.
Regardless, isolated whole body vibration therapy in comparable time doses (30 to 60 minutes) does help promote:
And functional capacity to a similar extent as the currently suggested 30 to 60 minutes of light to moderate exercise per day.
Other Health Benefits Of A Whole Body Vibration Machine
Whole Body Vibration Therapy has now been tested as a potential stand-alone therapy in a variety of patient groups where their mobility, capacity or desire to undertake exercise is limited but it is a recommended therapy.
These groups include those who have suffered cerebrovascular events, such as a stroke; those with osteoarthritis where mobility is limited; those with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases who find exercising difficult as they struggle to breathe; and those with type 2 diabetes and postmenopausal women who may have limited motivation to undertake exercise.
In addition, the studies discovered benefits of Whole Body Vibration Therapy in these groups. But it was limited to improved bone health and capacity to walk or transitioning from a seated to standing position. These outcomes ultimately reduce risk of falls and fractures, and increase capacity to undertake activities of routine living.
So this means body vibration may have a role in preventing weight gain and improving functional capacity and bone health in groups of people where normal exercise or physical activities are significantly impaired.
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