Vibration Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

Vibration Therapy for Cerebral Palsy: Is It Effective?

Table of Contents

Cerebral palsy affects more than 1 million people in the US1 and over 18 million around the globe.2 It’s the most common childhood physical disability in the world.3

Because this neurological condition impacts so many people, there’s a lot of research into treatment and therapy. Every year, new techniques are tested and studied.

One such technique is vibration therapy. In the last decade, several different studies have shown that vibration therapy or whole body vibration training can help cerebral palsy patients manage their symptoms.4,5

If you’ve been interested in the possibilities of using vibration therapy (VT) to treat cerebral palsy, this guide is for you. Our goal is to give you the information you need to talk to your doctor about vibration therapy and see if VT could help you, too.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

If you or someone you know has been living with cerebral palsy for years, you may not need a refresher on the details of the condition. However, if you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the following information may be helpful to you, especially in understanding its connection to vibration therapy.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition caused by damage to the brain that impacts gross motor function such as movement, balance, and posture.6 It may also cause additional problems with vision, speech, or hearing, as well as seizures and scoliosis.

The list of potential CP symptoms is long because there are multiple types of cerebral palsy, including:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy – Patients with spastic CP experience muscular tightness that can cause their movements to be erratic. This is the most common form of CP, affecting approximately 80% of all patients.6
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy – Patients with ataxic CP have trouble with coordination and balance, and may feel unsteady when walking or using fine motor skills.
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy – Patients with dyskinetic CP have issues with uncontrolled movement in their arms and legs.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy – It’s possible for a patient to be diagnosed with more than one type of CP. For example, someone could have spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

The effects of these different types can vary. Some CP patients experience chronic pain but can otherwise walk on their own; others are unable to walk, communicate, or eat without assistance.2

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

As mentioned, cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the brain. Most cases happen during pregnancy; the CDC estimates that 1 in 345 children are identified as having cerebral palsy.7

However, CP can also develop after birth. Potential causes of postpartum cerebral palsy include1:

  • Head injuries
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Jaundice
  • Asphyxiation

Regardless of the cause, cerebral palsy has no cure at this time. CP patients rely on medications, physical therapy, and other treatments to manage their symptoms—that includes the increasingly common option of vibration therapy.

Introduction to Vibration Therapy

Vibration therapy is a technique that exposes part or all of the body to vibrations. These vibrations cause the muscles to contract and relax very quickly—a movement that can help with all kinds of issues and conditions.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of vibration therapy8:

  • Whole body vibration (WBV) – WBV sends vibrations through the entire body, typically through the use of vibration plates. Patients can stand or sit on the vibration plate and change the frequency (speed) and intensity of the vibrations to suit their needs. Some of the whole body vibration benefits include improved muscle strength and tone and reduced pain.
  • Low-intensity vibration (LIV) – LIV is similar to WBV, but the strength of the vibrations is much lower, feeling more like “buzzing” than “shaking.” As with WBV, patients also sit or stand on a vibration platform.
  • Local muscle vibration (LMV) – LMV concentrates the vibrations in a specific area. Devices include vibrating massage guns, foam rollers, or cuffs that can be applied to a particular body part, such as the ankle, thigh, forearm, or shoulder.

In clinical studies, vibration therapy has been used to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and delay muscle soreness after a workout.9 VT can even be used to “simulate” exercise through muscle activation from vibration, which is especially helpful for people who can’t participate in conventional high-impact routines.

These benefits of vibration plates and vibration therapy also extend to the medical field. VT has shown promise when used to treat patients with cerebral palsy.5

Along with CP, vibration therapy has been shown to help with the treatment of:

Because cerebral palsy usually affects the entire body, whole body vibration therapy (WBV) is the most relevant form of VT. As we explore the potential of vibration therapy for cerebral palsy, we’ll focus on WBV.

Is Vibration Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Effective? Research Findings

As we’ve already discussed, vibration therapy does appear to be an effective form of treatment for cerebral palsy. Multiple peer-reviewed studies have shown that VT has the potential to help patients with cerebral palsy and improve some of their symptoms. We’ll look at some of those studies in more detail shortly.

But first, we want to start with a disclaimer. Please keep in mind that the information below is not medical advice and should not replace the opinions of a doctor. Everyone is different, and only a healthcare professional can determine if vibration therapy will benefit a patient with cerebral palsy, as well as the proper positioning and the correct settings to use. Always talk to a doctor before trying a new treatment option.

With that said, the research is promising. Vibration therapy has demonstrated immediate results, as well as improvements that last one to two hours.5

So, let’s explore some of the ways vibration therapy has benefitted CP patients in clinical trials.

Improving Muscle Strength and Coordination

In a review of several previous studies, including those done on adults and children with CP, researchers found that whole-body vibration therapy was more effective than physiotherapy at promoting muscular strength and coordination.4

For example, four separate studies found that WBV therapy could significantly increase strength in the leg muscles.  

What’s more, four different studies also showed that WBV can help increase walking speed, which requires both strength and coordination. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific study results:

  • One study combining physical therapy (PT) with WBV saw significant improvements in gait speed, stride length, cycle time, ankle angle, and thickness of the tibialis anterior (which runs down the front of the shin) and the soleus muscles (located deep within the calf).
  • Another group of participants used WBV only, and experienced significant improvements in leg spasticity in the muscles just above the knee.
  • A study of children doing both PT and WBV showed faster walking speeds.
  • Another study of children involved WBV exercises for the abdominal muscles specifically. This group experienced improvements in gait speed during treatment, as well as muscle growth in all four core muscles (transverse abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, and rectus abdominis). 

While these studies are not definitive proof, they suggest that WBV can benefit CP patients who struggle with strength and stamina.

Reducing Spasticity

Spasticity is a common symptom of cerebral palsy. These uncontrolled muscle spasms can happen at random, making them very inconvenient for patients trying to complete tasks that rely on fine motor skills. Luckily, patients with spastic and mixed CP can benefit from whole-body vibration therapy.

As demonstrated in a separate review of VT and CP literature, multiple studies have shown that spasticity can be reduced with vibration therapy.5

It’s important to note that while one study saw improvements all over the body, most others found a reduction in spasticity in the feet and legs, specifically. Still, any improvement is welcome.

Enhancing Mobility

CP patients who experience muscle stiffness and tightness know how much these symptoms can interfere with everyday life. As it turns out, WBV can also improve overall mobility.

Specifically, a number of studies found that VT can enhance a patient’s range of motion at the ankle and knee joints.5 These improvements can once again make walking easier and more comfortable.

Are Vibration Plates Safe for Children?

While you should always talk to a doctor before trying vibration intervention therapy, the consensus among researchers seems to be that whole-body vibration and vibration plates are safe for children, adolescents, and adults.11

In fact, researchers included children in many of the clinical studies of vibration therapy’s potential as a treatment for CP.12,13 After all, cerebral palsy is most common in young children, and finding ways to alleviate symptoms for this group is of significant priority.

Of course, there are some people (both children and adults) who cannot use vibration plates, including individuals with cardiovascular issues and muscle or bone injuries. It is also helpful to understand how often you should use a vibration plate, but as always, you should consult a healthcare professional before approaching a new treatment.

Vibration therapy for cerebral palsy

Empowering Lives with Lifepro Vibration Plates

Cerebral palsy can be a difficult condition to navigate. For most patients, it affects every part of their day-to-day.

The good news is that effective treatments are more readily available than ever. If your doctor approves it, you can take advantage of whole-body vibration therapy from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a vibration plate, like the ones sold by Lifepro.

At Lifepro, we believe in accessible health and wellness for all. Our high-quality products are designed to be affordable and long-lasting, so you can focus on feeling your best.

Whether you’re looking to improve your mobility, coordination, or strength, a vibration plate could help. Talk to your doctor today to find out if vibration therapy is right for you—then come to Lifepro for all your vibration plate needs.


  1. Cleveland Clinic. Cerebral Palsy.
  2. Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Cerebral Palsy Facts.
  3. John Hopkins Medicine. Cerebral Palsy.
  4. National Library of Medicine. Whole body vibration and cerebral palsy: a systematic review
  5. National Library of Medicine. Vibration therapy in patients with cerebral palsy: a systematic review.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Cerebral Palsy?
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Protection. 11 Things to Know about Cerebral Palsy
  8. Healthline. What is Vibration Therapy?
  9. National Library of Medicine. Vibration Therapy – A Clinical Commentary.
  10. National Library of Medicine. Whole body vibration exercise training for fibromyalgia.
  11. Journal of Adolescent Health. Effect of Whole-Body Vibration Therapy on Health-Related Physical Fitness in Children and Adolescents With Disabilities: A Systematic Review
  12. National Library of Medicine. Immediate Effect of a Single Session of Whole Body Vibration on Spasticity in Children With Cerebral Palsy. Library of Medicine. Vibration therapy in young children with mild to moderate cerebral palsy: does frequency and treatment duration matter? A randomised-controlled study.


Joel Gottehrer

Joel Gottehrer is the Co-Founder of Lifepro Fitness and has dedicated his life to helping people transform theirs. With over 12 years of experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and owner of two personal training studios, Joel has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping transform lives. After suffering from physical injuries, Joel and his business partner, Abraham Brach, came together with a common goal to alleviate the pain caused by their injuries.

They continued to find themselves disappointed with the results stemming from various products promising to relieve their pain, and with that – Lifepro Fitness was born. Joel's mission is to have a positive impact on millions of lives with the Lifepro brand. Whether it's finding new and innovative ways to help people recover from injuries or developing products to improve overall wellness, Joel is always looking for ways to push the boundaries. Thanks to his commitment to help people live their lives free of pain, Lifepro has been able to do this for thousands of people since its founding in 2017.

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