Vibration as a form of therapy was invented by ancient Greeks. They used a vibrating machine on soldiers’ wounds, which made them heal faster. In the 1800’s, the first modern gym had vibrating machines to promote weight loss and muscle gain. In the 1960’s Russians used it to increase their cosmonauts bone density and to speed up their athletes recovery. Whole body vibration platforms, where an individual lies or stands on an oscillating platform either stationary or performing different exercises, were then introduced to the crowds and could be found in gyms and homes all over the world. In the recent years, vibration therapy has seen yet another surge in popularity with new equipment on the market.
When the body is exposed to external vibration, it forces the muscles to contract and relax rapidly. This increases blood flow and creates an increase of hormones in the body that, for example, promote bone health. Vibration therapy has a wide range of benefits and is also a prominent alternative to traditional exercise for people with limited mobility.
According to research, vibration therapy:
- helps with weight loss and reduces abdominal fat
- burns calories
- promotes muscle growth
- prevents delayed muscle soreness
- improves bone health
- combats obesity and diabetes
- increases balance and mobility of individuals with Parkinson’s disease
- benefits patients with COPD , multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia
- decreases cellulite
Vibrating Foam Roller
While vibration therapy is on the rise, it shouldn’t come a surprise that it’s been combined with athletes’ and fitness enthusiasts’ favourite self treatment equipment – foam roller.
And it seems to be a pretty good match. It has already been proven to be more effective than the non-vibration one in decreasing pain, increasing range of movement in joints and hamstring flexibility.
Basically the exercises are the same as with a traditional foam roller, added with vibration frequency of choice. The hammering effect of the vibration makes the effect of rolling more efficient due to the ever increased blood flow and metabolism of muscles and fascia.
Another localized form of vibration therapy that’s fairly new is a vibrating massage ball. It can be used for trigger point release and to treat tense muscles in places that are hard to reach.