Whole-body vibration / Gym / training / massage / lose weight / tone up
Whole body vibration is a generic term used when vibrations (mechanical oscillations) of any frequency are transferred to the human body. Humans are exposed to vibration through a contact surface that is in a mechanical vibrating state. Humans are generally exposed to many different forms of vibration in their daily lives. This could be a driver's seat, a moving train platform, through a power tool, a training platform, or one of countless other devices. It is a potential form of occupational hazard, particularly after years of exposure.
When high frequency vibrations (above 50 Hz) enter through the hands, occupational safety concerns may arise. For example, working with a jackhammer has been known to develop vibration white finger. Exposures and limits have been estimated in the ISO 5349-1 for hand-transmitted vibration.
Whole body vibration training as a form of physical exercise can offer some fitness and health benefits, but it is not clear if it is as beneficial as regular physical exercise. A 2018 meta-analysis has shown that whole body vibration can improve bone mineral density in the lumbar spine of postmenopausal women as well as the femoral neck density of postmenopausal women younger than 65.
Vibration training is the deliberate exposure to the body of varying frequencies/amplitudes/forces using certain joint angles for any limited time (approximately 1 minute sets). It is also known as vibration therapy, vibrotherapy, biomechanical stimulation, mechanostimulation and biomechanical oscillation. It employs low amplitude, low frequency mechanical stimulation. It can be pivotal/oscillating (vibrating from side to side) or lineal (vibrating up and down).
The immediate predecessor of modern vibration training is Rhythmic Neuromuscular Stimulation (RNS). In former East Germany Biermann was experimenting with the use of cyclic massage and its effects on trunk flexion back in the sixties (Biermann, 1960).
The technique has been tested on turkeys in the hope of finding a benefit that could be used for astronauts. Engineering issues came into play when they tried to upgrade the test machine to support the weight of a human being. Once the vibration intensity grew strong enough to lift over 40 kg, fractures appeared in the steel. The first bed-rest study using a vibration training device for humans was done by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2003 in Berlin (Berlin Bedrest Study, BBR). The same technology was then used in several parabolic flight campaigns of the DLR (German Aerospace Agency) starting in 2006 where the feasibility of use of a lightweight vibration training device under microgravity conditions was demonstrated and in 2009 and 2010 where basic research on influence of microgravity on vibration training effects was investigated.
Since 1961, NASA has been testing adding light vibrations to exercise equipment and systems to minimize vibration transmission of existing exercise devices to the space station, like the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) and the Cycle Ergometer Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS). Companies referencing NASA directly in their marketing campaigns in relation to vibration training for muscular activity may be misleading.
The first Galileo machine patent was filed in 1996 in the same year the first Galileo device was commercially available. In 1996, the first Galileo vibrating dumbbell patent was filed.
A 2018 meta-analysis concluded that whole body vibration improved lumbar spine BMD in postmenopausal women, and enhanced femoral neck BMD in postmenopausal women younger than 65 years.
A review in 2014 concluded that there is little and inconsistent evidence that acute or chronic whole body vibration could improve the performance of competitive or elite athletes.
Cochrane reviews have concluded that there is insufficient evidence of effect of whole body vibration training on functional performance of people with neurodegenerative disease, or in disease-related problems in people with fibromyalgia.
Some research supports benefits for arthritis and knee pain.