WHOLE BODY VIBRATION
Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is one of the most astounding modalities to come along in a long time. There are very few people or conditions that cannot benefit greatly from this amazing therapy. I know, I know, I know. In an age of hyped-up everything, WBV sounds too good to be true. It's not. Whole Body Vibration is backed by hundreds of peer-reviewed Scientific Studies from some of the most prestigious institutions on the planet.
The reality is that Whole Body Vibration is nothing new. The ancient Greeks were using similar technology to increase athletic performance as did the Eastern Bloc countries of the Cold War era. One of the things that was noticed during the research / testing process for the early vibration machines, was that WBV seemed to increase bone density. Of course, this got the attention of NASA, who got into the WBV research game while looking for something to prevent bone loss in astronauts spending weeks, or even months in a zero gravity situation.
One of the amazing facts about WBV is that it works not so much by repetitive strength exercises (like lifting weights, riding a bicycle, rowing, swimming, etc), but by stimulation the part of the nervous system that controls strength (muscle contraction). Interestingly enough, it seems that WBV is also a great way to stimulate the Cerebellum, which among other things, coordinates the spinal postural muscles (can anyone say Brain-Based Therapy?). The bottom line is that it works.
Expert in the field, Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, Dr. Chantal Vella of University of Idaho, explains it this way:
The current theory is that whole-body vibration stimulates the body’s natural stretch reflex and causes muscle contractions in much the same way that a doctor’s tapping below a patient’s patella with a reflex hammer elicits a knee-jerk response. The stretch reflex is controlled by stretch receptors called muscle spindles that are located in skeletal muscle. Muscle spindles are usually activated when a muscle is under a static stretch or is quickly stretched or overstretched, causing a reflex contraction of the muscle. With whole-body vibration, this reflex action is continually stimulated, so a muscle continues to contract and relax until the vibration stops. In addition, studies have reported that activation of one muscle spindle will cause a reflex contraction and relaxation in many adjacent muscles.
Muscle spindles work by activating motor neurons (nerves) in the spinal cord; these neurons initiate movement by sending signals from the brain to the muscles. Voluntary activation of motor neurons is a limiting factor in muscular force production. The improvements in muscular force production with whole-body vibration are a direct result of increased motor neuron activation by muscle spindles, leading to increased motor unit recruitment and force production. Whole-body vibration stimulates fast-twitch (type 2) motor units, which are usually recruited during high-intensity, explosive movements or whenever slow-twitch (type 1) motor units are maximally recruited. As a result, long-term, exhaustive exposure to whole-body vibration can lead to muscular fatigue and muscle soreness.
But what about the research? Oh, the research is there all right. Not the kind of research done in some fly-by-night, rinky-dink, never-heard-of-that-one-before type of places. But instead; major Universities, Medical Schools, and even people associated with NASA. You will see lots of claims about WBV's ability to help with a diverse and seemingly unrelated number of health problems. In fact, there are studies showing that WBV can help people with neurological problems like MS, PARKINSON'S, Cerebral Palsy, as well as several others. There is strong evidence that WBV is capable of helping people with everything from DIABETES to OBESITY, Osteoporosis to Cardiovascular conditions, Fitness to FIBROMYALGIA.
It is also helpful for many people suffering with balance disorders. My theory is that WBV is seriously strengthening the Cerebellum --- the part of the brain that not only contains your vibratory sense, but also controls spinal postural muscles. Although people that suffer from specific health problems or diseases may or may not find WBV to be a solution for their particular problem, I am going to leave you with a list that cannot be debated. The following is a list of the things that WBV has been clinically proven to do in the peer-reviewed Scientific Literature.....
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).