Whole Body Vibration Therapy (WBV) was pioneered by the Russian cosmonaut program as a means of rehabilitating astronauts who lost bone density and muscle strength in the gravity-less environment of outer space. Research has shown that WBV can increase balance and mobility, bone density, range of motion and polymetric muscle strength.
How Does It Work?
WBV consists of a device designed to create mechanical oscillations stimulating muscle spindle fibers, creating a flexive signal to the spinal cord and causing muscles to contract. When the machine vibrates the spindle fibers, the information is sent to the brain where it is processed in several locations including the somatosensory system- the system that processes proprioception and discriminative touch- the signal synapses with the alpha motor neurons in the spinal cord and an efferent signal is sent along the motor nerves back to the muscle causing it to contract. “It’s basically exercising without really exercising.”
How Is It Performed?
WBV is done on vibration plates or platforms. The amplitude and frequency is controlled by the doctor. There are two types of platforms: One that uses side-to-side tilting and one that utilizes synchronous vibrations in which the platform wobbles in every direction.
Who Can Benefit From WBV?
WBV therapy works for a wide range of patients, from geriatric patients to those patients who have spine or extremity injuries that prevent them from supporting additional loads such as weights.
What Are the Benefits?
Research has shown that WBV has many health benefits including:
- Increased Balance and Mobility
- Increased Muscle Strength and Performance
- Increased Bone Density