Whole body vibration (WBV) dates back to Ancient Greece and more recently has been reinvented as a form of exercise. In the 1800’s Russian physician Gustav Zander created a vibration machine for therapeutic purposes. In 1895 Dr John Harvey Kellog (as in Cornflakes) developed a vibrating chair that he introduced into his health practice.
Health and wellness was the focus of vibration technology engineered by Germans in the 1960’s and in the space race the Soviets quickly realised that WBV had benefits for their cosmonauts. The technology was also quickly taken up and used by Russian atheletes training for the Olympics.
WBV is used in the 21st Century for a variety of purposes in both medical and sporting facilities, offering a form of physical exercise that has fitness and health benefits, and there have been over 400 contemporary papers published on WBV.
Some of the research and benefits of WBV are discussed below.
In 2010, a 12 month study~ funded by a doctoral grant sponsored by the Artesis University College of Antwerp, Belgium, was conducted into the effects of whole body vibration (WBV) compared to diet only and fitness (aerobic & strength) training (caloric restriction was identical in all 3 groups). Data was collected on 61 participants at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
Over the course of the study the diet-only group experienced the highest drop-out rate (from an original 79 participants) and the study showed that exercise seems to play a more crucial role in the maintenance of weight loss. International guidelines state that a weight loss of 5–15% over a period of 6 months is realistic and of proven health benefit.
Only VIBRATION managed to maintain a weight loss of 10% or more in the long term and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) changed most in VIBRATION showing that WBV may have the potential to reduce VAT more than aerobic exercise. VIBRATION was the only group where a waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference was also significantly reduced.
#After 3 months the VIBRATION group had lost an average of 7.6kg with FITNESS only losing an average of 5.3kg. After 6 months the FITNESS group managed to lose an average of 7.0kg. VIBRATION was 50% faster in losing the recorded weight loss.
~Vissers, D., Verrijken, A., Mertens, I., Van Gils, C., Van de Sompel, A., Truijen, S., & Van Gaal, L. (2010). Effect of long-term whole body vibration training on visceral adipose tissue: a preliminary report. Obesity facts, 3(2), 93–100. doi:10.1159/000301785
The Vibration Group experienced 50% faster# weight loss compared with the Fitness Group
Visceral fat was significantly decreased in the Vibration Group, but NOT the Fitness Group
Waist circumference decreased the most in the Vibration Group and was the ONLY group where Waist to Hip Ratio significantly decreased.
Vibration was the ONLY group to achieve and maintain an average weight loss greater than 10%.
Whole body vibration (WBV) technology is grounded in cutting edge scientific research. A growing awareness of whole body vibration and its effects are the focus of research by many scientists from around the world. Research has demonstrated that WBV may have similar effects to a treadmill in reducing weight and that just 20 minutes a day on vibrating platform over the course of three months reduced fat.
“Visceral fat is a type of body fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity. It’s located near several vital organs, including the liver, stomach, and intestines. It can also build up in the arteries. Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as “active fat” because it can actively increase the risk of serious health problems.” (Healthline.com)
A 2010 research identified that WBV contributed to significant weight loss and reduction in visceral fat with a sustained long term weight loss of at least 5-10%.
In a recent article, Forbes discussed a 3 month research showing that just 20 minutes a day on a vibrating platform can reduce body fat.
WBV has been shown to create metabolic responses that are similar to other forms of exercise with a significant increase in blood flow identified after WBV exercise on a vibrating plate. This increase in blood flow replicates mild forms of exercise for the cardiovascular system.
3 sessions per week of WBV is more effective than walking to reduce two major causes of bone fractures and the chance of osteoporosis, with an added benefit of 29% improvement in body balance demonstrated over 8 months of research study.
Research has linked WBV as an anabolic, non-invasive stimulus to improved bone density, strengthening bones aganist conditions such as osteoporosis.
The World Health Organisation collaborated on a study reporting that just six weeks of WBV, three times a week, improved the quality of life, and the walk, balance and motor capacity of elderley people (average ages of 79 to 84). The report identified an increase of 143% in the physical functions of elderly using WBV with a 77% improvement in equilibrium.
Research indicates people with low back pain have a less refined position sense (clumsiness and uncoordination) than healthy people. This research identified muscle vibration (an element of WBV) can be an expedient for improving reduced proprioception resulting from lower back pain. Reduced proprioception is also experienced by stroke patients and WBV has been identified as a method to improve body posture and control.
WBV was shown to improve recovery from an ACL (knee) rupture with positive effects on joint stabalisation and improved circulation.
Research identified WBV as an approach to improving mobility of motor-impaired children and adolescents.
A study concluded that WBV can improve functional ability, preserve bone mass and decrease fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The jump capabilities of athletes showed improvement with WBV.
WBV has been shown to offer a viable alternative to other types of training, including resistance training.
Research shows that WBV may be as effective as running on a treadmill in helping lose weight and improving bone strength.
WBV can be used as an effective exercise intervention for reducing the ageing process on skeletal muscles.
WBV has been shown to benefit people with reduced mobility, capacity or desire to undertake exercise, preventing weight gain and improving functional capacity and bone health.
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^Results may vary for individuals & depend on exercise undertaken. Any weight loss program relies on maintaining a calorie controlled diet and regular exercise.
#After 3 months in a 2010 study the VIBRATION group had lost an average of 7.6kg with the FITNESS group only losing an average of 5.3kg. After 6 months the FITNESS group had managed to lose an average of 7.0kg.