Whole Body Vibration therapy is one of the biggest things in fitness right now. Health centers dedicated to this passive form of exercise are popping up all over the country and indeed the world.
Vibration exercise proponents say that it delivers a total body workout which promotes weight loss, tones muscles and increases bone density. They also claim that it can assist with pain management.
Sessions on the machine are relaxing and invigorating at the same time, and 3 x 15-minute sessions a week will get results.
In this article, we will look at the Whole Body Vibration Machine – AKA the Vibration Platform or Vibration Plate. We will also take a closer look at the potential benefits of Whole Body Vibration Therapy.
Origins of Whole Body Vibration Machines
Whole Body Vibration therapy dates back to 1857. Invented by a Swede, Doctor Gustav Zander, Zander developed approximately 70 exercise machines and founded a chain of health clubs known as the Zander Institute.
Some 38 years later in 1895, a Whole Body Vibration Machine in the form of a chair was invented by Kelloggs Cornflake creator, Dr. John Harvey Kellog. Said to be a cure-all for everything from back pain to headaches, and constipation, unlike the gentle vibration of today’s machines, Dr. Kellog’s model shook violently. Kellog later went on to create a Vibration Platform, which the exerciser used while standing. The aim of this machine was to stimulate the internal organs.
Fast forward to 1960 when the Germans began using vibration therapy as a form of exercise. Known as Rhythmic Neuromuscular Stimulation, vibration exercise techniques soon caught the attention of Soviet gymnast and sports scientist Dr. Vladimir Nazarov. A chairman for sports biomechanics at the State College in Minsk, Dr. Nazarov introduced vibration exercise to the medical field, professional athletes and ballet dancers of the day.
It’s claimed that the primary reason Russian cosmonauts were able to spend a record-breaking 420 days in outer space was due to their use of vibration exercise and its positive effect building and strengthening the bones and muscles. This is in stark contrast to NASA astronauts who were forced to return to Earth after 120 days due to a loss of bone density and muscle tissue caused by exposure to zero gravity in outer space. At the time, American astronauts used traditional exercise equipment to train for missions. NASA has since included vibration exercise in their training program.
How do Vibration Plates Work?
The platform of the WBV machine vibrates rapidly at around thirty times per second. When standing on the platform, our body “thinks” it is about to fall. To maintain balance, our muscles involuntarily contract very rapidly in a process known as “stress reflex”. Stress reflex is said to be responsible for most of the benefits the Vibration Plate delivers.
Depending on your reason for using it, you can also recline or sit on the Vibration Plate.
What are Whole Body Vibration Benefits?
Proponents of Whole Body Vibration therapy count among its benefits increased muscular strength, improved circulation, flexibility and stability, a greater range of motion, core conditioning and a faster muscle recovery time after exercising. It is also said to improve muscle tone, without putting stress on the joints. This is particularly beneficial for people who are unable to do strenuous exercise due to joint or health problems.
Other possible Whole Body Vibration benefits include a faster metabolic rate and an increased sense of calm. This is due to a reduction in cortisol (the stress hormone). Additional advantages include a higher HGH level, better lymphatic flow, and an increase in bone density.
Other Whole Body Vibration benefits attributed to the therapy include that it can reduce cellulite and stimulate the production of collagen, for smoother and more youthful skin.
Does WBV Therapy Really Work?
Medical professionals have widely acknowledged that Whole Body Vibration Therapy does indeed have merit, with it being able to increase bone density to a level considerably beyond that traditional exercise can deliver. Healthcare professionals also tend to be in agreement that it is effective for improving circulation and stimulating the muscles.
With few studies undertaken, some are skeptical about WBV’s ability to promote weight loss and reduce cellulite. On the other hand, there are many fans of the machine who claim to have steadily lost weight and eliminated or greatly reduced their cellulite since regularly engaging in vibration exercise.
Final Thoughts on Whole Body Vibration Therapy
Not everyone agrees on all of the advantages of vibration exercise. However, its ability to deliver some significant therapeutic benefits is not in dispute.
Though I don’t use a Vibration Plate myself, my mom does, and she swears by it. The brand she uses is the Confidence Fitness Vibration Plate. With regular use, mom is back at a weight she hasn’t been for 20 years. Her muscle tone has improved, and her cellulite has all but disappeared. More importantly, mom attributes the apparatus with ridding her of debilitating back pain.
Mom’s always had great skin, so whether WBV sessions have built more collagen, I can’t say. Her skin does seem to have more of a glow these days, but that could be due to her feeling happier and better in herself.
I can’t promise Whole Body Vibration therapy will work for you, but knowing the difference it has made to my mom’s appearance and quality of life I have no hesitation in recommending it, especially to anyone who has chronic pain and is unable to partake in traditional exercise. It would also be a great option for those who want to do all they can to prevent osteoporosis and stay more fit and healthy as they age.