Balance, Strength, Flexibility, Endurance, Healthier Skin, Anti-Aging, Toning and Weight Loss , Reduces Varicose Veins, Improves Circulation, Reduces Cellulite, More Energy.

Belief in therapeutic vibration dates back at least to the 19th century. Two of the better known early proponents of therapeutic vibration were Gustav Zander (1835 – 1920), a physician, gymnast and inventor who developed multiple therapeutic exercise machines that utilized vibration; and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yes, the Corn Flake founder), who developed a vibrating chair he claimed could help any number of ailments.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE BENEFITS OF WHOLE BODY VIBRATION?

The most important benefits are: Increased Balance, Muscle Toning & Weight Loss, Reduction of Varicose Veins, Increased Strength, Improved Circulation (especially for diabetics), Increased Flexibility, Increased Energy, Increased Endurance, Heathier Skin, Anti-Aging and Reduction of Cellulite.

Concurrently, the platform that the subject stands on moves rapidly up and down (generally 1 to 3mm) or side to side (up to 8 or 10mm). This makes WBV a weight bearing exercise and actually creates an enhanced, or plus, gravity effect. Also, by activating the body’s innate reflexive response to disruptions in stability, WBV stimulates and enhances muscle strength by challenging the proprioceptive system.

Because WBV can be utilized in so many ways, it can deliver wide ranging benefits to incredibly diverse populations, from deconditioned couch potatoes to Olympic athletes and seniors.

As a fitness training tool, WBV delivers an unparalleled combination of flexibility, balance, core and strength training. Wellness benefits include dramatically improved circulation, lymphatic drainage (which aides in flushing toxins from the body), hormone balancing, reduction of cortisol (which contributes to weight loss), endorphin release even and increase in growth hormone (which has anti-aging benefits).

Perhaps the biggest non-fitness news about WBV relates to its apparent ability to build bone mineral density (BMD), which is a big weapon in treating (or preventing, or even reversing) osteoporosis. While numerous studies have shown promise, two studies in particular seem to prove that WBV increases BMD. The first study was a 24-week study of post-menopausal women that broke the subjects into three groups—vibration, strength training, and control. At the end of the first study, the WBV group had increased BMD of the hip by 0.93%, while the strength training and control groups had no increase in BMD. In addition, the WBV group increased both isometric and dynamic muscle strength by 15% and 16% respectively.

The second breakthrough study was an 8-month study of post-menopausal females comparing WBV to walking. This study, which used pivotal vibration, showed an incredible 4.3% increase in BMD of the femoral neck in the WBV group and no BMD increase in the walking group. A significant side benefit was a 29% improvement in balance for the WBVgroup.

These are just two of the more significant studies, but there are literally hundreds more that indicate WBV may be beneficial for conditions as diverse as Parkinson’s to ACL surgery rehab.

For fitness and wellness, it is important to note that many of the benefits of WBV can be realized in just a few 10- to 12-minute sessions per week. Because WBV does not require a lot of time, and because it is literally “fun” to do, many people find it is the easiest-to-stick-to exercise program they have ever tried. And, once they quickly start feeling better and seeing results, they remain highly motivated—a classic “win-win.”

(1) Verschueren S.M., Roelants M., Delecluse C., Swinnen S., Vanderschueren D. & Boonen S. (2004), Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

(2) Gusi N., Raimundo A. & Leal A. (2006), BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

By Albert Kessler