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Diseases & Illnesses

Besides personal fitness, vibration plate machines have also shown to be effective means of therapy for various illnesses and injuries. A number of issues in the body are related to inconsistencies or a lack of circulation in the body’s various systems. Why struggle with complicated and expensive medication regimens if the solution could be much easier and less expensive?

Vibration therapy is currently utilized for both sport and the therapeutic uses, including treatments for osteoporosis, sarcopenia, plantar fasciitis, and various other conditions. Vibration therapy has also shown to be effective for controlling emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, arthritis, and rheumatism. It’s incredible that so many biological and physical circumstances can all be eased with vibration therapy.

How does vibration therapy accomplish these tasks? Several different studies have proven that vibration therapy can increase blood circulation, which includes delivery of oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. One of the primary causes to several of these conditions (especially those concerning the bones and major muscles) is a lack of nutrients in the specified area. Read on for how vibration therapy can help you on your path to overall wellness!

  1. Central Nervous System
  2. Skeletal System
  3. Circulatory/Cardiovascular System
  4. Digestive System
  5. Immune System
  6. Muscular System
  7. Respiratory System

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Of all of the body’s systems, the nervous system is the most vital. This portion of the body coordinates all of the body’s actions, voluntary and involuntary. It is broken into two major groups:

1. The central nervous system (CNS), which contains the brain and spinal cord.
2. The peripheral nervous system (PNS), which contains the nerves for all of your other extremities

We can exercise to improve our strength in different parts of the body, but the nervous system is nearly impossible to strengthen. Neurons, the structural unit for the nervous system, will gradually stop increasing by the age of 18. After that point, you still have the ability to replace existing neurons, but it takes extraordinary stimulation in order to signal your brain to produce more neurons.

Whole body vibration allows the body to fire off neurons more frequently than conventional exercise. The central role in neural communication is played by action potentials, which are the short electrical bursts used by cells to send information. WBV stimulates approximately 300 more action potentials per minute than standard training. By continually activating the brain, vibration training has proven effective in mental health maintenance and longevity. It has demonstrated benefits for individuals with neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, including improved balance, gait, etc.

A study conducted in 2007 explored the effect of whole body vibration on individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Parkinson’s is an incurable degenerative disorder that attacks the central nervous system. Early symptoms include rigid and sluggish movement of joints and body parts. Later symptoms of PD include thinking and behavioral problems, with most cases being followed by dementia and sleep-related effects. Because their movement is restricted, patients with Parkinson’s cannot complete traditional exercises without extreme difficulty. Researchers structured the study to have patients undergo different frequency levels and duration times on the vibration plate. The study then measured patients’ muscular fitness and compared those numbers with the patients’ baseline scores. At the conclusion of the study, researchers showed that the test group (those using whole body vibration) showed increased levels of muscle activity, indicating that whole body vibration would be a viable method for preventing muscle atrophy or degeneration of cells.

Multiple sclerosis is another neurological condition that has been clinically proven to benefit from whole body vibration. Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that attacks the immune system of the nervous system by targeting the myelin sheath of our nerve fibers; this sheath is what allows us to send signals to and from the brain. Without the myelin coating, the brain will not receive signal pulses from all parts of the body. Without a return signal, the brain treats those parts of the body as no longer functioning. This is how multiple sclerosis eventually leads to disability. MS patients have limited movement and range of motion, making standard fitness practices nearly impossible. Due to the limitations MS patients struggle with, researchers at the University of Konstanz proposed whole body vibration training as a solution. The group created a study designed to examine the effects of low frequency vibrations on muscular efficiency and postural control. It was structured by testing patients over a three week period, at varying time lengths and frequency levels, followed by analyzing their flexibility, muscle endurance, balance, and mobility level. At the conclusion of research, the study demonstrated that the individuals who utilized WBV showed statistically significant improvement in muscle endurance and walking mobility, which could allow for an improvement in quality of life.

It is clear that vibration machines are an effective means of therapy for those with nervous system diseases and conditions. WBV’s ability to enhance neurogenesis (the process of creating new nerves) can help a broad spectrum of CNS patients. [Back to Top]

Skeletal System

The skeletal system is one of the most essential components of the human body—without the skeletal system, we wouldn’t be going anywhere! It provides us with support, protection for our major organs, and structure that allows us to move. The structural units for this system are the bones, cartilage and joints.

Our skeletal system continuously reproduces cells and nutrients to build new structures and eliminate faulty or nonfunctioning ones. As we age, however, the minerals and cells necessary for bone health diminish, causing our bones to deteriorate over time. Several conditions can further accelerate this process and some which can render the skeletal system to nonfunctional. These conditions include osteoporosis, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other bone-related disorders. A primary contributor to each of these diseases is a loss of bone density. In each condition BMD (bone mineral density) is reduced, causing rigidity, high risk of fracture, joint pain and difficulty in movement. This decalcification of bone can only be remedied with a combination of exercise and dietary supplementation. Unfortunately, for those who have progressed into their illness, conventional exercise can be too challenging or dangerous. Whole body vibration fills the gap between conventional exercise and dietary supplementation, allowing for bone density building exercise with minimal impact on the bones and joints.

Several studies have shown the positive relationship between WBV training and bone density:

1. A 2005 study by Keio University’s department of Sports Medicine compared BMDs (bone mineral densities) between two groups of individuals, those whose means of exercise was whole body vibration exercise, and those who exercise was walking. They found that those in the WBV group had a higher increase of bone mineral density compared to those in the walking group.
2. A 2003 trial by the University of Aarhus studied the relationship between varied vibration training and bone development. After testing the effect of different vibration frequencies on ossification (process of bone formation), researchers found that at a frequency of 45 Hz, bone formation rates increased and bending and compressive stress levels decreased.
3. A 2004 study in Belgium tested the effects of vibration plates on postmenopausal women. After comparing a group of women who utilized WBV machines to groups that had traditional training and control groups with no training, researchers found that those who underwent vibration training had increased muscle strength and hip bone mineral density. Those who participated in resistance training and those in the control group saw no gains.

Whole body vibration is a proven stimulator of bone density growth. Millions of people are at risk for developing osteoporosis, arthritis, and rheumatism, making vibration training a tool for both prevention and symptom alleviation. [Back to Top]

Circulatory/Cardiovascular System

The circulatory system carries nutrients and minerals throughout the body and carries waste out of the system. It is often mentioned as part of the cardiovascular system, which is made up of the heart, blood, and blood vessels.

When the circulatory system is not working at full capacity, total health suffers and the body is unable to send nutrients or remove waste products. Waste products include low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—the “bad” cholesterol. If this failure of the circulatory system occurs, it can cause a number of unhealthy conditions.

Illnesses affecting the circulatory system can include atherosclerosis, ischemia, and even myocardial infarction. Arthrosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries caused by cholesterol build up over time. Ischemia is the name for the condition caused by a shortage of blood supply to tissue in the body. It can affect the heart, bowels, brain, extremities and skin. A myocardial infarction is generally called by its common name: a heart attack. A heart attack results when part of your heart is blocked and cannot receive blood or oxygen for so long that it is either permanently damaged or dies.

Whole body vibration training can keep the circulatory system in peak condition and help you prevent illnesses of the circulatory system. A number of studies have shown the ability of whole body vibration to increase circulation:

1. A 2012 study by Florida State University explored the idea that whole-body vibration (WBV) training may serve as healthy and viable option for obese individuals who are not able to perform conventional exercise. After six weeks of testing, researchers found there were decreases in both brachial and aortic systolic blood pressure, as well as a reduction in arterial stiffness, in those that underwent vibration training. The study results confirm that WBV training improves heart health and circulation, especially in those unable to participate in traditional fitness routines

2. A study published by the Scoieta Stampa Sportiva (Rome) tested the effects of whole body vibration training on blood hormone concentrations in men. At the conclusion of the trial, researchers found there were statistically significant increases in the concentrations of growth hormone and testosterone. The study also showed a significant decrease in cortisol (stress hormone) levels. A reduction of inflammatory cortisol improves circulation, allowing the body to more effectively transport hormones, nutrients and waste.

Vibration training improves circulation by amplifing muscle contraction. As the plates oscillate at different frequencies, muscles contract at increased and varying speeds, which initiate the movement of larger amounts of blood and nutrients throughout the body. Not only does this action boost circulation, it also helps cleanse the body of toxic build-up and waste material, making it an ideal therapy for those with circulatory or cardiovascular risk. [Back to Top]

Digestive System

The digestive system allows the body to break down and process food. It is critical for its ability to extract nutrients for energy, growth and repair throughout the body. The pathway for digestion begins through the mouth once food is ingested, then down the esophagus and to the stomach, where it is broken down by stomach acids, and then sent to the small intestine to distribute the remains to the necessary body parts, followed by excreting the excess food and wastes. Digestion is a vital component to daily living and longevity. Some of these diseases affecting the digestive system include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastric and peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Treatment for these conditions can be difficult and most digestive disorders are life-long. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms but is not always successful.

Whole body vibration's unique ability to lower cortisol (the inflammatory hormone that causes pain and damage throughout the body) and increase healing circulation allow it to be an effective addition to therapy for a variety of digestive disorders. Reducing inflammation can reduce pain from chronic conditions and may help prevent further damage. [Back to Top]

Immune System

The immune system is the body’s main defense against infection and illness. Problems with this system can lead to serious health conditions, such as immunodeficiency, thyroiditis, diabetes mellitus, asthma, fever and chronic fatigue. If our immunity is compromised, at any level, substances as simple as pollen in the air or the foods we eat could pose a serious threat to our health.

Whole body vibration can assist the immune system by increasing circulation and increasing bone density. Studies have demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between bone mineral density and white blood cell numbers. By increasing bone density, whole body vibration doesn’t just help you prevent osteoporosis, it also helps keep you healthy overall. [Back to Top]

Muscular System

The muscular system is the made up of the structures and components that control movement. Diseases affecting the muscular system include sarcopenia, myopathy, and muscular dystrophy. Ailments affecting the system cause symptoms such as degeneration of muscle mass and loss of fiber strength. Illnesses affecting skeletal support muscles can also cause severe joint pain and pain when performing everyday tasks. In healthy individuals, muscle fibers are strengthened and increased through physical activity, but for those with diseases of the muscular system, traditional training is all but impossible. Vibration therapy offers a proven alternative to traditional training that is brief enough to complete and low impact, to avoid further pain.

A 2013 study published by the University Medical Centre in Freiburg showed that whole body vibration was effective in assisting children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a debilitating form of MD linked to the X-chromosome that causes increasing weakness due to a progressive deterioration of muscle. Spinal muscular atrophy is a recessive disease that causes general muscle wasting and impairs mobility. Therapy allowing any alleviation of symptoms for either condition is a great relief to patients and parents. At the conclusion of the eight-week trial, researchers noted a mild improvement of symptoms and clinical markers in patients with DMD and a marked improvement in the walking ability of children with SMA.

What makes vibration machines so successful for therapy is its ability to activate the muscular system without high impact or long lasting training sessions. Since traditional physical training can be too taxing or too painful for those with muscular disorders, whole body vibration offers a means of training without the time or difficulties of standard workouts. [Back to Top]

Respiratory System

The respiratory system allows us to exchange gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide within our body. It is critical to have a functioning respiratory system. There are several diseases affecting the respiratory system, including emphysema, asthma, and bronchitis. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two main conditions of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), an obstructive breathing disease that attacks the lungs and respiratory system, making it difficult to breathe. COPD is a serious condition and the third leading cause of death in the United States. While therapy is vital for reducing symptoms, it is extremely difficult to complete for those suffering from respiratory ailments. Whole body vibration allows those with respiratory illness to strengthen their muscles and improve circulation without the dangers and difficulties of traditional cardiovascular exercise. Vibration training’s positive effect on the respiratory system is well documented:

1. A 2011 clinical trial conducted by the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Schoen Klinik Hospital (Germany) tested the effects of whole body vibration for endurance and strength training of patients with COPD. The study placed eighty-two subjects in one of two groups, one utilizing vibration machines and one using standard fitness practices. After three weeks, researchers found that subjects in the vibration training group had a statistically significant improvement in timed walking distance (6 minutes). The sit-to-stand test (which marks the amount of time required for a patient to rise from sitting to standing) was also markedly improved in the WBV group. Researchers concluded that whole body vibration training serves as a promising exercise option for individuals with COPD, especially in combination with traditional medical intervention.

2. A 2013 study by the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department of Mataro Hospital (Spain) explored the effect of whole body vibration training on functional capacity. 51 subjects completed the 18 trial sessions. After the study’s conclusion, researchers found that those who incorporated vibration machines into their training showed significant improvement in knee flexor and extensor strength, muscle endurance, and pulmonary pressure. These improvements made it possible for subjects to see greater symptom improvements due to increase blood oxygenation during and after the sessions.

The abilites to stimulate muscle innervations and increase oxygen circulation are what set whole body vibration apart as a treatment for COPD and other respiratory ailments. WBV also reduces blood cortisol levels, allowing for reducing inflammation, which may also increase blood oxygenation levels for those suffering from inflammatory airway diseases. [Back to Top]