You might not be familiar with vibration therapy.
But here’s a secret: This simple wellness technique has been used since Ancient Greece to improve healing. Now, growing evidence suggests vibration therapy may be the key to enhancing your fitness, bone health, and overall well-being.
Although vibration therapy has been used for centuries, thanks to advances in technology, it is gaining renewed interest. This approach is now being used in a variety of fields including sports medicine, physical rehabilitation, and elderly care.
Why such interest and growth in this form of therapy?
First, the potential benefits are vast. Research suggests vibration training may help build muscle strength, improve bone density, enhance mobility, and even reduce Parkinson’s symptoms. And second, vibration training is a user-friendly and cost-effective treatment solution. Sonic vibration machines are fast becoming new additions in wellness clinics and homes throughout the country.
You might be wondering: Why isn’t body vibration training more well-known? How does it work? And what are the key health benefits? This brief overview will answer these questions and more.
What Is Vibration Therapy?
Vibration therapy is a health treatment that uses vibration to improve health and healing. These mechanical vibrations are delivered to the body via a vibration plate or vibration machine.
For example, with whole body vibration therapy, a platform machine creates wave energy. As you stand on the platform, this wave energy is transferred to your body’s muscles.
These vibrations stimulate muscle contractions and engage a broad range of muscle groups, thereby promoting strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility. Additionally, vibration training has been observed to provide pain relief, enhance bone health, and boost circulation.
Types of Vibration Therapy
There are two primary types of vibration therapy: Whole-Body Vibration Therapy (WBV) and Focal Vibration Therapy.
1) Whole-Body Vibration Therapy (WBV)
In WBV, the individual stands, sits, or lies on a machine with a vibrating platform. (The Sonix Sonicwave vibration therapy machine is a WBV machine.) As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to the body, causing muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second.
WBV machines have a range of settings you can adjust for therapeutic effect, including frequency, amplitude, and duration of vibration. And this form of therapy is often used to improve bone density, balance, muscle strength, and overall fitness.
2) Focal Vibration Therapy
As opposed to WBV, which aims to stimulate the whole body, focal vibration therapy targets specific muscles or muscle groups. This therapy utilizes handheld devices, which are similar to percussive massage guns. Therefore, the wave energy can be delivered to a targeted area.
Focal vibration therapy is now widely used in physical rehabilitation and sports medicine. It’s being used to enhance muscle performance, speed up recovery, and aid in pain management.
Related Forms of Therapy. In addition to these, variations in therapy exist. For example, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) and Percussive Therapy are similar treatments, that use handheld massage devices. However, they utilize different mechanisms and are not strictly classified as vibration therapy.
How Does Vibration Therapy Work?
Vibration therapy works by delivering rapid, gentle oscillations that transmit energy into the body’s muscles and tissues. These vibrations create a biomechanical stimulus that can stimulate muscle fibers, improve circulation, and promote various physiological changes.
Here’s a closer look at how it works:
When your body experiences these vibrations, it tries to stabilize itself. In addition, it triggers rapid muscle contractions, typically in the range of 20-50 times per second. The number of contractions is ultimately dependent on the frequency of the vibrations.
This involuntary muscle activity helps strengthen and tone the muscles, which is similar to what happens during exercise.
The rapid muscle contractions also boost blood circulation, deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, and flush out waste products. For example, a handheld vibrating massage device will increase blood flow to tight muscles, promoting healing and reducing discomfort.
There’s also evidence that vibration therapy may stimulate bone-forming cells (osteoblasts), which could help to improve bone density. This has been of particular interest in treating conditions like osteoporosis.
Whole-body vibration, in this case, acts like traditional exercise on the body. It applies mechanical stress to the bones, a key factor in maintaining bone health.
Vibrations may stimulate the release of natural endorphins, the body’s pain-relieving compounds, which can help to reduce feelings of pain. For example, using vibration on areas affected by chronic pain may help to alleviate some of the discomfort, and it’s an emerging treatment option for neuropathy pain.
What factors matter in vibration therapy?
Vibration therapy’s effectiveness depends on several factors like the technique used, frequency and amplitude of vibrations, duration, and individual health status.
What Can Vibration Therapy Help: Common Uses
Vibration therapy has a range of applications. Today, it’s widely used in sports medicine and elderly care to promote strength and mobility. Here are some common uses of vibration therapy:
- Physical Rehabilitation: Vibration therapy is commonly used in physical therapy and rehab settings. In rehab settings, it’s widely used to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. And that’s why it’s useful for people recovering from injuries or surgeries.
- Sports Medicine: Athletes use vibration therapy to improve performance and aid recovery. It can help increase power and strength, improve flexibility, and reduce muscle soreness after intense workouts.
- Chronic Pain Management: Vibration therapy may be an effective tool for managing chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis. It does this by reducing muscle tension and improving circulation, which can help alleviate pain.
- Bone Health: Particularly for conditions such as osteoporosis, vibration therapy can be beneficial. The therapy promotes bone density by stimulating the activity of osteoblasts, the cells that produce new bone.
- Mobility in Aging Population: With age, people often experience loss of strength, flexibility, and balance, leading to mobility issues. Vibration therapy can assist in combating these problems by improving muscle performance and enhancing balance, thereby reducing the risk of falls.
- Neurological Disorders: Emerging research suggests vibration therapy may help manage symptoms of neurological conditions. Vibration training has been used for Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and stroke recovery with promising results.
- Weight Loss and Fitness: Vibration therapy may aid weight loss and overall fitness by increasing metabolism and muscle growth.
Vibration Therapy Benefits
Vibration therapy has a broad range of potential benefits, especially in stimulating muscles and promoting circulation. Here are some key benefits that have been suggested through various studies and practical applications:
- Muscle Strength and Tone: The rapid muscle contractions caused by vibration stimulate muscle fibers, leading to increased muscle strength and tone.
- Improved Bone Density: Vibration therapy can stimulate the activity of osteoblasts, the cells that produce new bone. It’s believed this can lead to improved bone mineral density. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with osteoporosis or those who are unable to perform traditional weight-bearing exercises.
- Improved Balance and Coordination: Vibration therapy can improve proprioception, the body’s ability to sense movement and positioning. In turn, this therapy is used to enhance balance and coordination. This is particularly beneficial for older adults or individuals recovering from injuries.
- Increased Flexibility: The vibrations can help to improve range of motion by relaxing and stretching muscles and connective tissues.
- Pain Relief: Vibration therapy can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Therefore, vibration training has been shown to reduce chronic pain or discomfort from injuries.
- Improved Circulation: The rapid contractions of the muscles boost blood flow, which improves circulation and may speed up the healing process.
- Enhanced Recovery: Athletes and those recovering from surgeries or injuries may experience quicker recovery times. This is due to the increased blood flow and stimulation of muscle and tissue healing.
- Stress Reduction: Some users find vibration therapy relaxing, which may help to reduce stress and promote overall wellness.
Ultimately, individual responses can vary based on factors like age, health status, and specific physical needs. However, a growing body of vibration therapy research suggests this is a powerful tool for improving health.
Potential Side Effects of Vibration Therapy
While vibration therapy can offer many benefits, it also has potential side effects and may not be suitable for everyone. Potential side effects include:
- Motion Sickness or Dizziness: Some people may experience motion sickness or dizziness during or after using a vibration therapy device. This is especially likely if they are sensitive to movement or have a balance disorder.
- Headaches: The rapid vibrations may sometimes trigger headaches, particularly in individuals who are prone to migraines or tension headaches.
- Back or Joint Pain: If not used correctly, the vibrations could potentially lead to or exacerbate back or joint pain. It’s important to use correct posture and techniques when using a vibration therapy device.
- Numbness or Tingling: Overexposure can lead to a temporary feeling of numbness or tingling.
- Discomfort or Pain: If the vibration intensity is too high, discomfort or even pain may occur. Underlying health conditions may also contribute to pain.
- Overuse Injuries: Like any form of exercise, overdoing vibration therapy can lead to overuse injuries. It’s important to start slow, monitor your body’s reactions, and not exceed recommended usage times.
Certain groups of people should avoid vibration therapy altogether. For example, pregnant women and individuals with acute inflammation or infections should avoid vibration training. Additionally, those with implanted medical devices, surgical wounds, and certain cardiovascular or neurological conditions should avoid vibration training.
Learn More with Hue Light USA
Hue Light is a leader in the alternative healthcare industry. Browse our entire selection of vibration therapy machine, like the Sonix vibration plate. Vibration is the first phase of our exclusive BAHI therapy wellness program.
To learn more about vibration and BAHI therapy, see the latest Hue Light resources and blogs posts. The second phase of BAHI includes molecular hydrogen therapy and photobiomodulation therapy.