3 myths about vibration machines

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding vibration machines, partially because these fitness tools are a strong competitor for conventional gym equipment, and people are starting to learn about the benefits of exercising on a vibration machine.

 

Although initially lots of the producing companies have marketed their vibrating platforms as weight loss tools, it’s been proven that not all WBV devices are capable of providing significant results in terms of body composition and fat loss.

 

Moreover, studies have shown that the benefits of vibration machines are not limited to changes in body weight and body fat percentage; these devices have been proven to exert positive effects on muscle strength and bone density, on flexibility, posture and balance, on blood and lymph circulation, and have been shown to be efficient in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cortisol production.

 

But despite all the studies available out there, there are still false commercials about vibration training, and companies that misinform, so let’s take a look at three of the most common myths about vibration machines.

 

1. Vibration machine exercises have the same effects as occupational WBV

 

This statement is false. Occupational whole body vibration is harmful, but vibration training is a completely different thing, as it’s done in a controlled environment with frequency values that were proven to be safe for humans, and for a short time interval – 10-15 minutes per session.

 

Occupational vibration is cumulative over time, while exercising on a vibrating platform lacks this characteristic, as the frequencies used for this form of physical activity represent the resonance frequencies of the internal organs. Most of the studies done on WBV showed that this form of workout has no side effects when practiced correctly.

 

2. Vibrating platforms are not safe for the elderly

 

This is also false. If you have the curiosity to do your own research, you’ll find dozens of studies done on older people, all of them showing that vibration machines are absolutely safe and beneficial for the elderly. People with weak muscles and bones can benefit from this form of training, as unlike conventional exercises, vibration workouts are a low impact activity that minimizes the risk of fractures and improves one’s strength.

 

Moreover, WBV was proven to improve the flexibility and balance of older people, to help in regulating blood pressure and to speed up the recovery after various injuries. Vibration machine exercises were proven to be safe even for people with implants and for those undergoing rehabilitation programs for chronic conditions.

 

3. Vibration machines can impair circulation

 

Lots of people avoid vibration training because they think WBV platforms have negative effects on blood flow and blood pressure, but research has shown that this form of workout is actually beneficial and very effective in stimulating the circulation of blood and lymph. By increasing circulation and lymphatic drainage, vibration machine exercises contribute to faster recovery from injuries, decreased water retention and improved delivery of nutrients and oxygen to tissues.

Exercising on vibration machines helps relieving arthritis pain

In people with arthritis, the most recommended forms of physical activity are low-impact ones, and vibration machine training is a reliable and safe choice. Although different than fitness machines for strength workouts, vibration machines work on similar principles, meaning that they increase the load on muscles and bones.

How safe is it for an arthritis sufferer to undergo this form of training? Isn’t it dangerous for one to stand on a vibration machine if their joints are painful and stiff? Contrary to popular belief, exercising on vibration machines is actually beneficial for people dealing with arthritis, as this form of workout increases circulation and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all tissues, including joints.

Then, vibration training strengthens the muscles and joint, improving balance and reducing the risk of fractures. It increases the lubrication of joints, improving flexibility and reducing stiffness. Also, whole body vibration workouts lower stress levels, enhance mood and support the functioning of the immune system by improving lymph flow.

Unlike conventional weight lifting exercises which often cause muscle damage and inflammation, making arthritis pain even worse, WBV exercises can activate more muscle groups at once, in a more thorough manner, so they’re less likely to cause muscle imbalances. Then, the intensity of the workouts can be controlled by the user by simply adjusting the frequency and amplitude, so the risk of muscle damage and overtraining is reduced.

Practice vibration machine exercises for better circulation and reduced pain

Vibration machines allow arthritis sufferers to practice low-impact exercises and they reduce pain and disability by increasing circulation and lymph flow, increasing the production of heat inside the body and mobilizing the joints. At the same time, this form of physical activity decreases muscle inhibition and improves flexibility, contributing to a better mobility and allowing one to perform various movements without experiencing discomfort.

Although proven to be safe and beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels, whole body vibration exercises are particularly suited for those who can’t perform regular workouts due to physical limitations, fragile bones, weak muscles or painful joint.

Existing studies show that exercising on a vibration machine for as little as 10 minutes per day, 3-4 times a week, can relieve the discomfort and improve the flexibility of joint by increasing circulation and lymph flow. While there are several factors that contribute to the occurrence of arthritis symptoms, one of these is the accumulation of excess uric acid in the joints. This acid favors inflammation and causes stiffness and swelling, making it difficult for one to move and exercise without accusing pain.

Whole body vibration training provides the needed stimuli for improving the flow of lymph and blood circulation, and helping the body flush out the waste products and toxins, including the excess uric acid. If you’re suffering from arthritis and are looking for a safe, low-impact alternative to classical workout, you should give whole body vibration training a try.

Body Vibration Machines or Weights – What Should I Choose?

Body vibration machines became more popular after celebrities like Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams admitted they use vibration platforms as part of their training routine. Yet, these fitness tools aren’t designed only for athletes who want to improve their sport performance – anyone who wants to improve their health state can use a vibration machine for daily workouts.

 

Still, keep in mind that not all WBV platforms are equal, and some of the cheapest models on the market are of really poor quality. Perhaps this is why so many people say they failed in achieving results after using a WBV platform – like with any other fitness tool, unless you’re willing to invest in a more professional piece of equipment, you might not get the best of the best.

 

But how can I know that these machines aren’t just another scam? Why should I pay for a vibration machine instead of a multifunctional fitness machine for example? Are these tools really the best deal?

 

Why body vibration machines are excellent tools for home workouts

 

Let’s assume you’re not the type of person who likes hitting the gym daily, or simply that you don’t have the time for gym sessions on a regular basis. But you do want to work out, preferably in the intimacy of your home. The options that you have are to either perform a personalized program created by you, or to do some exercises based on fitness DVDs.

If you want to work your muscles thoroughly, you’ll need to invest in some dumbbells, ankle weights, perhaps a bench for abs exercises and so on. Surely, you can achieve amazing results with bodyweight exercises alone, but if your purpose is to strengthen your muscles and get more definition and a better tone, heavier loads usually work better.

Unlike free weights, a whole body vibration machine does a lot more for your body than strengthening your muscles: you can use the fitness device for massage and relaxation, for stretching your tired and sore muscles after a workout or a day at the office, for improving your blood and lymph flow and accelerating the removal of excess water and toxins from the body.

A WBV platform can be used for rehabilitation exercises, for working the legs, upper body and core area, for relieving the tension and improving your mood, concentration and well-being. It’s more than a machine for strength exercises: it works very well in training the heart as well, as it makes it pump faster. Still, it won’t replace a cardio workouts, so you’ll still have to do your weekly running or cardio exercises. But all in all, it’s a multifunctional device whose benefits go well beyond muscle strengthening.

 

Summary

If you’re thinking about buying a WBV platform but you’re not convinced that body vibration machines are better than weight machines for strength workouts at home, you should analyze the additional benefits a vibration machine provides, besides making your muscles leaner and stronger.

EFFECTS OF WHOLE BODY VIBRATION MACHINES ON BONE MASS

Some time ago I came across this article saying that whole body vibration training is used by astronauts to prevent mass loss and to keep their bones healthy. You may not know, but the lack of gravity in space can severely affect the systems of the human body, leading – among other conditions – to muscle mass loss and weaker bones.

The term used for defining the loss of bone mass in astronauts is spaceflight osteopenia, and it’s proven that astronauts typically lose an average of 1% of their bone mass per month, while in space. Also, it’s known that it generally takes them 1 to 2 months to recover after a 1-month mission in space, and if we think of the fact that some of these guys spend 6 months admiring the earth from its orbit, it’s only logical to ask ourselves what is it that they do to prevent this bone loss or if they do something to prevent it.

I found this topic to be very interesting, especially since over 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis (or bone loss) only in the U.S. So I was curious to see whether there are scientific proves to support the use of whole body vibration machines as means of therapy against bone loss.

What does science say about WBV and bone mass?

If you have the time to do some browsing, you’ll see there are hundreds of scientific articles published on this topic, and the great majority say that whole body vibration has positive effects on bone mass. I won’t list them here, but it’s still worth mentioning some of the things highlighted by scientists in these articles. So here we go:

  • This study, conducted in Germany and published in March this year, in the Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interaction analyzed the effects of resistive exercises combined with whole body vibration in post-menopausal women with osteopenia, after 9 months of therapy. The first group, of 26 women, performed two training sessions per week, their program mixing resistive exercises with WBV, while the second group (31 women) performed resistive exercises and balance training. Results showed significant increases in bone density and strength, proving that WBV is a valid replacement for regular therapy when it comes to increasing bone density at the distal tibia, in women with low bone mass.
  • This study investigated the effects of whole body vibration on bone density, in people with thalassemia. This condition affects the density of bones, making them thinner and brittle, and increasing the risk of fracture. Researchers have found that daily sessions of 20 minutes of WBV therapy, performed for 6 months, lead to a significant increase in whole body BMC and serum markers of bone formation. What these complicated terms actually say is that WBV can be an effective therapy for people with thal.

This study showed that 10 weeks of WBV training increases hip bone density and preserves spine bone density in road cyclists. And you can find hundreds of similar studies online, if you’re curious to learn more about these vibration machines. So what we can say for now is that whole body vibration is surely an effective form of therapy for people with low bone density or suffering from conditions that affect their bone mass.