Can Whole Body Vibration and Vibration Platforms Help With Weight Loss, Improving Bone Density, and Pain Reduction?

Posted by Joel Gottehrer on

Can Whole Body Vibration and Vibration Platforms Help With Weight Loss, Improving Bone Density, and Pain Reduction?

We all want to find ways to help with overall bodily wellness -- especially for things like weight loss, bone density and pain reduction. For many of us these things are very top of mind and looking for a solution is not always easy. 

Many have praised the use of vibration plates as a significant way to help overall bodily wellness and the reduction of many ailments. 

However, up until now, Whole Body Vibration (WBV) and Vibration Platforms (VP), or vibration plate machines, were limited to research settings like universities and labs. Luckily for us --  this is not the case anymore.

Vibration platforms such as those seen here by Lifepro are showing up in fitness centers and neighborhood gyms everywhere. Scientific evidence is mounting that these valuable tools can be useful in achieving a growing variety of health goals.

So the question arises -- can vibration platforms and whole-body vibration be effective for weight loss, pain reduction, and even improving bone mineral density?

 

To answer that question we need to first understand exactly what a whole-body vibration is (WBV).  

The first serious appearance of whole-body vibration was in the Russian Space program where it was used on Russian cosmonauts to simulate weightlessness and to combat the loss of muscle tissue associated with life in space.

After seeing significant results, the use of WBV then moved to elite athletes as a way to enhance performance. It was at this point that the benefits of WBV were no longer speculative and science stepped in to prove its practical use. 

So what do vibration plates do?

 

WBV and vibration platforms are grouped in a type of exercise called “passive exercise”.  Passive exercise is defined as movement, usually of the arms and legs, without any effort from the individual. 

But don’t be fooled…

Passive does not mean the individual using a vibration platform is doing nothing at all.

Physical Therapist Ben Quist explains it this way, “The vibrations trick the body into thinking it’s falling.  This activates a ‘stretch reflex’ – an extremely rapid muscle contraction.”

It’s these contractions that produce the benefit.

The platform can be used in various positions, but usually in a standing position on the platform with their knees slightly bent at roughly 30 degrees while the platform is moving.

Here’s how the Mayo Clinic defines Whole-Body Vibration:

“With whole-body vibration, you stand, sit, or lie on a machine with a vibrating platform. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to your body, forcing your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second. The activity may cause you to feel as if you're exerting yourself.”

Now let’s see what the studies have to say about the primary uses of WBV.

Weight Loss

 

In one of the largest studies of its kind, the European Association for the Study of Obesity concluded that when used correctly, vibration platforms may help users lose weight and trim the particularly harmful belly fat between the organs. 

Scientists found that overweight or obese people who regularly used the equipment in combination with a calorie-restricted diet were more successful at long-term weight loss than those who combined dieting with a more conventional fitness routine. 

This is great news for people who may have limited mobility or painful joints that prevent participation is more strenuous exercise routines.

Pain Reduction

 

One of the more intriguing uses of WBV is in the area of pain reduction. 

In a study from Indiana University, it was discovered that whole-body vibration exercise may reduce pain symptoms and improve aspects of quality of life in individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. 

Patients often avoid “traditional” exercise out of fear of pain that comes from increased activity.  Over time, these individuals see continued weight gain because of their inactivity.  This often leads to a downward spiral of a more sedentary lifestyle, increased weight gain, and a subsequent worsening of symptoms.

It should be noted that the vast majority of fibromyalgia sufferers are women.

But, the benefits of whole-body vibration are not limited to fibromyalgia. 

Many users find relief from knee pain caused by past surgery and even osteoarthritis.

Another study concluded that people suffering from chronic pain due to osteoarthritis in the knee demonstrated lower pain intensity when they used whole-body vibration along with a home-based exercise routine than individuals doing the exercise alone.

THIS VIDEO is an example of the pain reduction benefit in action!

Bone Mineral Density

 

Quist went on to say, "I've seen some remarkable results in terms of bone density -- working better than conventional exercise -- plus good effects on circulation and muscle stimulation for those who can't do conventional exercise."

This result is of powerful significance to elderly users.

Poor bone mineral density is strongly associated with bone fractures, particularly in the hip; another condition that is more common in females.

Science seems to back this up.

In one study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in 2004, 90 postmenopausal women used a vibrational platform for 30 minutes, three times per week for a total of six months. Belgian researchers found an increase in bone mineral density of nearly 1%.  Additionally, they found a measurable increase in muscle strength. 

These unique characteristics of WBV can have additional benefits, as seen in another study showing that elderly people, who could not participate in traditional strength training programs saw improvements in muscle strength and speed of movements; This from a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Additional Benefits

 

Under the proper conditions, the research says there are even more areas in which whole-body vibration can provide relief; such as:

Convenience of use

 

Early versions of vibrational platforms were very large and completely impractical for non-commercial settings like homes.

That’s all changed.

Universities and research labs have been using and testing vibrational platforms for years. 

And now we’re seeing the acceptance of this technology by gyms, physical therapy clinics, and fitness centers, but how practical is whole-body vibration for home use?

The benefits of this approach are now within easy reach of the general public, thanks to the engineers are Lifepro. 

Lifepro now has five models of vibration plates available.  Depending upon your needs, you can easily find a suitable option and stay within your budget.

From the information above, it’s easy to imagine yourself improving your balance, losing weight, controlling joint, and back pain by acquiring your own “in-home” model.

For a complete list of features and to determine which model would work best, you can CLICK HERE.

What to look for in a whole-body vibration platform

 

How do you decide which vibrational platform is right for you?

Everyone is unique.

That’s why Lifepro has such a varied lineup.

Each model addresses the following needs:

  • Fat loss
  • Strength
  • Circulation
  • Toning
  • Lymphatic drainage 

As the models increase in power, there comes an increase in versatility. 

The base model is called the Waver and provides all the above benefits.

The addition of a second motor in the Turbo and Hovert units allows for stretching, core training, balance training, a calming effect on the nervous system, and something called Level 1 Bone Mineral Density improvement.

If you have significant experience with vibrational platform training or intend to use the platform for more advanced purposes such as sports preparation, the Rumblex model will fit your needs. 

This model adds a third motor, providing additional protocols for Level 2 Bone Mineral Density work…along with many more bells and whistles on the unit itself, such as Bluetooth speakers, lights, and an exercise mat.

This model also ramps up the power to 40Hz.

For many users, stability and balance are a major concern.  To address this Lifepro has produced the Rhythm model, complete with side support rails to hold onto and an easy-to-read console; ideal for older users.

Again, you can easily compare the available options side-by-side RIGHT HERE

You can get a feel for how simple it is to reap the benefits of whole-body vibration by checking out this short video that walks you through the setup and use of one of the many home models available. 

You can also checkout the Lifepro Vibration Plates here!

 

Sources:

  1. European Association for the Study of Obesity. "Vibration Plate Machines May Aid Weight Loss And Trim Abdominal Fat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508045323.htm>.
  2. Indiana University. "Vibration exercise study finds some relief for fibromyalgia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529154009.htm>.
  3. Ben Quist, DPT, director, Form and Fitness Health Club and Rehabilitation Center, Milwaukee, Wis. Gerard Varlotta, DO, director, sports rehabilitation, NYU Medical Center's Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine/Hospital for Joint Disease; clinical associate professor, NYU School of Medicine. Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer, American Council on Exercise. WebMD Medical News: "Vibrate to Keep Fat Off? Study Weighs In."
  4. Rehn B, Lidström J, Skoglund J, Lindström B. Effects on leg muscular performance from whole-body vibration exercise: a systematic review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2007;17(1):2-11.
  5. Rhea MR, Bunker D, Marín PJ, Lunt K. Effect of iTonic whole-body vibration on delayed-onset muscle soreness among untrained individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(6):1677-1682.
  6. Álvarez-Barbosa F, et al. Effects of supervised whole-body vibration exercise on fall risk factors, functional dependence, and health-related quality of life in nursing home residents aged 80+. Maturitas. 2014;79(4):456-463.
  7. Olivares PR, Gusi N, Parraca JA, et al. Tilting whole-body vibration improves the quality of life in women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(8),723-728.
  8. Sañudo Corrales FDB, Hoyo Lora MD, et al. The effect of a 6-week exercise program and whole-body vibration on strength and quality of life in women with fibromyalgia: a randomized study. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2010;24:5-10.
  9. Cardinale M, Bosco C. The use of vibration as an exercise intervention. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2001;31(1), 3-7.

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