Vibration Machines

Whole Body Vibration

Category: Vibration machines

The pros and cons of vibration machines

You’ve seen them around quite a lot, but never had the courage to try a vibrating machine, perhaps because of the potential side effects of this form of training? You’re not alone: lots of people are curious to know the pros and cons of vibration machines, so we’ll list some of the proven advantages and known risk of using such fitness devices.

Advantages of vibration machines

One of the first reasons people love exercising on a vibrating machine is that unlike conventional exercise, this form of training is a low-impact activity that requires less effort and is suitable even for those who aren’t in their best shape. The intensity of workouts can be varied and adjusted for different fitness levels, and if using pivotal machines for example, by moving the feet further or closer to the platform’s center, you can vary the amplitude as well.

All these translate in a better control and a greater versatility, not to mention the vibrations make the muscles contract and relax a lot faster than during classical workouts. This happens because of the increased acceleration (gravity), and explains why whole body vibration training is perceived as a safe and effective replacement for conventional strength exercises.

Another positive aspect about vibration machines is that they’ve been proven to be efficient in relieving symptoms in various conditions from diabetes to neurological disorders. This is a huge advantage, and recommends WBV training as alternative or addition to conventional rehabilitation exercises for people who struggle with ailments that affect their physical strength, flexibility and balance.

Cons of WBV machines

With all its positive effects, vibration training is still not for everyone, and it’s a must to learn about its potential side effects before starting to exercise on a vibrating machine. Although not many, the existing contraindications show that this form of workout has its disadvantages, just like regular strength exercises or cardio workouts.

Vibration machines are not safe for people with gallstones or kidney stones, and they shouldn’t be used by those with recent implants or surgery. Also, vibration training shouldn’t be performed by pregnant women, as even if there aren’t studies to show any side effects, it’s safer not to recommend this form of workout to expecting women. Those with active infections, people with metastatic cancer and those with joint replacements shouldn’t use WBV machines either.

Besides these contraindications, a vibrating machine also has the disadvantage of being more expensive than lots of the conventional gym tools. If you’re planning to build a home gym with minimum investment, a set of dumbbells, a barbell, some ankle weights and an exercise mat, or even some fitness machines for strength training, can be less expensive than a good vibration machine.

On the other hand, with a WBV platform you can practice multiple workouts, vary the amplitude, intensity and force, so it’s a one time-investment. Conventional gym machines often require additional tools and upgrades, so in the long run they can be pricier.

The use of vibration machines in recovery and rehabilitation

Evidence from rehabilitation and therapeutic centers across the world shows that vibration machine therapy can be a useful tool in the recovery process in many ailments.

Patients with arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy have seen improvements in their health state after exercising or doing rehabilitation movements on vibration machines.

Unlike conventional recovery treatments, whole body vibration exercises require less effort from the patient and are less demanding, as one doesn’t have to move too much and can simply stand on the platform or sit on the vibration machine and let the energy waves sent by the device do their job.

In people with weak muscles or physical limitations, who can’t practice physical activities that put pressure on joints, bones or muscles, vibration machines can be the solution to strengthening the muscles, restoring circulation, improving posture, enhancing flexibility and ameliorating balance.

Vibration machine therapy reduces pain, improves flexibility

Vibration machines can be used by people of different ages, and depending on their technical features, can be incorporated into therapy or training sessions. Among the most important benefits of vibration machine therapy is the reduction of pain and the improvement in physical fitness and mobility.

When standing on a vibration machine, the joints and muscles get warm faster and become more flexible, circulation and lymphatic drainage is improved and the delivery of oxygen to tissues improves. All these contribute to a better flexibility and mobility and can speed up the recovery from conditions linked with poor circulation, muscle pain or damage, or joint problems.

Vibration waves help the muscles relax, as they have a similar effect to massage, thus can reduce the muscle pain and cramps. Moreover, WBV therapy stimulates the release of endorphins, which act like natural pain-reducing agents. Depending on the amplitude and frequency of the vibration session, this form of therapy can stimulate or soothe the nervous system.

In people suffering from arthritis and rheumatism, vibration training can alleviate the pain, reduce the joint stiffness and improve the blood circulation and delivery of nutrients to tissues, nourishing them and making the joints more flexible.

People affected by lower back pain can also experience significant improvements in their health state by exercising on a vibration machine. By strengthening the muscles and improving circulation, vibration machines can help in improving posture and relieving pressure on spinal nerves.

Finally, vibration training can reverse the negative effects of prolonged bed rest by increasing the gravitational load on muscles and joints and making them work harder when performing the various WBV exercises. The loss of muscle and bone mass can be prevented or reduced by working out or doing rehabilitation movements on a vibrating platform.

Exercises on whole body vibration machines can alter hormone levels

Exercising on a whole body vibration machine is good for increasing the muscle strength and improving circulation, as well as for improving flexibility and balance. However, the effects of the energy waves sent by these vibration machines throughout the body aren’t limited to the muscles, joints and bones.

The production and release of certain hormones is also influenced by vibration training, this form of physical activity being very effective in decreasing the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and in increasing the release of growth hormone. How does this impact one’s overall health?

Whole body vibration machine exercises and cortisol production

Cortisol is responsible for the fight or flight reaction that occurs in a threatening situation, and it’s beneficial for the human body when produced in certain amounts. It temporary increases the energy production in order to help the body cope with a stressor, stimulates the formation of glucose in the liver and prevents inflammatory processes.

However, when produced in too high amounts, cortisol has negative health effects, favoring weight gain and muscle wasting and decreasing bone formation. Whole body vibration machine exercises have been found to decrease the production of cortisol by up to 32%, which means this form of physical activity can prevent weight gain triggered by prolonged cortisol production.

Vibration machines exercises and human growth hormone

Another hormone who’s production is influenced by exercises performed on vibration machines is the human growth hormone or GH. Research has found WBV training to increase the release of this compound by 320% to 464%. Again, this effect helps in weight management and weight loss, as human growth hormone, besides regulating bone and muscle growth, is also involved in regulating body composition.

Production of GH naturally decreases with age, and this decrease seems to favor muscle wasting and weight gain. By increasing the levels of this compound, whole body vibration machines exercises can help one look and feel young for longer.

WBV and testosterone levels

Besides GH and cortisol, exercises performed on vibration machines can also increase the production of testosterone, hormone which influences the growth of muscle mass and strength, and contributes to stronger bones.

By stimulating the release of this hormone, whole body vibration machines exercises help in improving the functioning of muscles and support athletic performance. Higher levels of testosterone are thought to prevent osteoporosis and to help in diabetes type 2 management, as well as in maintaining a healthier body composition.

Summary

The best known effects of vibration machines exercises are the strengthening of muscles and bones, but studies have shown that regular workouts performed on a whole body vibration machine impact not only the density of bones and strength of muscles, but also the production of certain hormones. Growth hormone, testosterone and cortisol levels are all influenced by whole body vibration machine exercises.