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1. Is vibration training something new?
No, Whole Body Vibration (WBV) has been used as an exercise and therapeutic tool since the late 1800s. The research of this technology really began in the late 70's with the development of a vibration system by one of Russia's key sports scientists, Dr. Vladimir Nazarov. He was an active sportsman, a member of the Soviet gymnastics team and occupied a chair for sports biomechanics at the State College in Minsk. He first introduced this technology to competitive sports, ballet, and medicine in the former USSR. The Russian Space Program uses the technology with their astronauts suffering from considerable bone loss and poor muscle tone due to weightlessness.
Once communism fell in Russia, the secrets of Whole Body Vibration made its way to Europe in the early 1990’s. Just like in Russia, other European athletes began using this form of effective exercise. In addition, the European Space Agency and NASA are actively using vibration in ongoing studies for the maintenance of muscle strength, mass, and bone density.
Now, Whole Body Vibration is being used in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, and rehabilitation facilities. People who use this technology vary from the elderly, the person with physical disabilities, athletes who want to start to rehab an injury earlier, or just the general person looking to get toned and fit. Due to its many benefits, WBV is quickly gaining acceptance by universities, professional sports teams, and health professionals in the rehabilitation and medical fields.
With it’s wide potential application, new research is constantly being initiated across numerous North American and European Universities. Since most Whole Body Vibration systems were developed in Europe, most of the peer-reviewed publications have come from there. At present there are nearly 100 articles dealing with the effects of and related benefits of WBV. Articles in Spine, Journal of Bone and Mineral Density, and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise are but a few of the periodicals that have addressed WBV.
2. Is vibration training safe?
Yes. Whole Body Vibration utilizes a very specific frequency range that is both proven in research and safe and effective. Every object has a resonance frequency. For example, internal organs and the spine have a resonance frequency between 5 and 10 Hz. Extended vibration at frequencies lower than 5 HZ is not recommended. Whole Body Vibration stays within the safe range. This is why countless hours of exercise have been performed using Whole Body Vibration and there have been no averse effects.
3. Is there research behind this technology?
Vibration training has 40 years of research behind its science. With any technology, the individual needs to take a critical look at the research and validity behind it. Whole Body Vibration has been featured in such prestigious and influential peer reviewed journals as Spine, Journal of Bone and Mineral Density, and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. With it’s potential applications, new research is constantly being initiated across numerous North American and European Universities.
4. What makes whole body vibration exercise different from conventional training?
Whole Body Vibration has the competitive advantage over conventional training due to its ability to provide a more effective and efficient exercise without the constraints associated with regular training, such as joint stress, lengthy repetitions and time commitments. Research has shown similar strength gains to conventional resistance training at a fraction of the time. Fifteen minutes of Vibration exercise produces similar results to 30-45 minutes of conventional training. In addition, there is less stress on the joints, ligaments and tendons with Vibration training when compared to regular resistance training. Therefore, Whole Body Vibration provides an effective solution to those that may benefit from weight training, but are unable to engage in the program.
5. What is the science behind this type of exercise?
The science behind Vibration exercise follows several different principles:
The Stretch Reflex: The movement of the vibration plate with amplitude of 4 mm simulates the body’s natural ‘stretch reflex’ (Tonic Vibration Reflex). This is similar to the knee jerk reaction that occurs when the knee is tapped by a reflex hammer in a doctor’s office. Without thinking about it, your body responds with a strong involuntary muscle contraction, leading to your leg ‘kicking out’. With Whole Body Vibration technology, these strong muscle contractions can be repeated at a rapid rate. At a frequency of 6 to 30 times a second, Whole Body Vibration can produce up to 1800 muscle contractions in 1 minute.
Nearly 100% Muscle Recruitment: Due to its involuntary effect on muscle contraction, nearly 100% of the muscle fibers are recruited. Compare this to conventional training where there is only on average 40% muscle recruitment. This benefits the rehabilitation patient looking to add stability and strength to all muscles around their joints and to the athlete looking to maximize strength gains.
Increased Blood Circulation: The gentle rapid contractions of up to 3000 times per minute allow the muscle to work as a pump in introducing blood to even the smallest blood vessels. This leads to the ability of the body to carry off waste products much faster, leading to increased peripheral circulation.
6. What is the age limit to Whole Body Vibration training?
There is no upper age limit to this type of exercise. By itself, it does not indicate a contraindication. Whole Body Vibration has many benefits for the elderly population, including positive effects on bone density, improvements in blood circulation, and increase in strength, balance and flexibility. All this is accomplished with less stress on the joints, tendons and ligaments than conventional exercise.
7. I’ve heard people say that vibration exercise helps with anti aging. How is this possible?
There are many factors that go with aging. Inactivity and stress are two. This exercise practically takes 10-20 minutes a day, at least three times per week. Vibration exercise has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase serotonin (a well-known contributor to feelings of well-being).
8. How many calories are used with Whole Body Vibration?
Let’s look at it another way. Our metabolism is unique to us. Metabolism is our body’s ability to burn a certain number of calories a day. The higher our metabolism, the more calories a day we can burn every day. Whole Body Vibration exercise has been shown to increase our resting metabolism. To answer the question, vibration exercise will allow you, over time, to burn more calories per day than you did before starting vibration training. This will help in preventing a drop in metabolism if you wanted to lose weight, or allow you to be able to eat healthy and maintain your weight over time.
9. I have osteoporosis. How can Whole Body Vibration help?
Vibration training helps by increasing the strength of your muscles. It is well known that the strength of the bones is influenced by the strength of your muscles. Vibration training is a safe and gentle way to achieve these strength gains.
10. I have fibromyalgia and was told not to weight train. How does Whole Body Vibration help me?
An effective program for those with fibromyalgia will involve exercises that promote strength, flexibility and endurance. Vibration exercise has been shown to produce greater increases in flexibility over conventional training, with less stress on the joints. In addition, strength gains with vibration training are comparable to regular exercise, except the time to complete exercises is shorter. More importantly, vibration exercise has been shown to be gentle and safe, without putting undue stress on your joints. Consult your physician prior to starting any exercise program.
11. I have arthritis. Will Whole Body Vibration be helpful?
Exercise has shown to be beneficial for those with arthritis. WBV strengthens the muscles around the joints and will help keep the area stabilized. Vibration exercise minimizes stress on the joints, making it an ideal exercise solution. Various health professionals have incorporated vibration training into their treatment plans. Once you are screened by your health professional, they will be able to recommend the appropriate vibration treatment regimen for your particular condition.
12.How often should I use it to see results?
Use of Whole Body Vibration is similar to regular training in some aspects. How often you use it will depend on what you are hoping to accomplish. For those looking for strength gains, we recommend approximately 5 times per week. Others may use it every day for recovery and warming up and cooling down. Due to its ability to increase circulation, lactic acid is quickly cleared, leading to faster recovery and ability to use it again.
In many aspects, whole body vibration exercise is more efficient than conventional training. With regular weight training, muscles undergo some micro tears through the stresses placed on it. This leads to a recovery time of 48 hours before engaging in that activity again. Vibration training minimizes these micro tears. Combine this with the increased circulation; there is only a 24-hour recovery period before using it again for the same body part.
13. Who are ideal clients for this form or exercise?
This form of exercise is good for everyone even athletes due to the lymphatic stimulation and the fact that this exercise is easy on your joints. Additionally, our research has found the follow people best benefit from this exercise:
14. Please review the benefits of Whole Body Vibration