The Fascinating Science Behind Vibration Therapy
Vibration therapy, which can refer to both whole body vibration therapy (WBVT) and targeted vibration therapy (TVT), is an exciting way to treat several challenging health conditions. Although more research is needed, new studies are being conducted and analyzed to determine vibration therapy’s effectivity in treating various conditions, from migraine to Parkinson’s. The preliminary findings are very encouraging.
What Is Vibration Therapy?
Targeted vibration therapy focuses on a particular part of the body, such as legs, back, or head. Using a handheld or worn device, targeted vibrations are administered at specific frequencies.
Whole body vibration therapy sends vibrations into the body by having the user sit, stand, or lay on a large platform that vibrates. The user may be instructed to exercise or maintain a specific posture during the treatment. The user may also hold on to a bar for stability. Both forms of vibration therapy are used to alleviate temporary or chronic conditions.
Vibrations and Bone Density
One of the most frequently studied uses of vibration therapy is its ability to increase bone mineral density (BMD), particularly in postmenopausal women (the population most likely to experience bone density loss).
A 2008 Beijing study concluded WBVT reduced chronic back pain and improved BMD in the femoral neck (most common location for hip fracture) and lumbar spine.
A 2004 study at Stony Brook University in New York similarly established that WBVT inhibits the loss of BMD in women after experiencing menopause. Study after study indicates the potential for vibration therapy; further study is merited in exploring the effectiveness of vibration as a non-pharmaceutical treatment option for low bone density.
Fun fact: NASA is also using and exploring the effects of vibration therapy to mitigate muscular atrophy and bone loss common in astronauts from their time in space!
Vibration Therapy and the Brain
Vibrations can have a major impact on the well-being of people living with Parkinson’s disease. Using either WBVT or TVT, vibrations may improve quality of life in several ways.
First, vibration may lessen pain and reduce tremors, according to a study at the Florida State University College of Medicine. It also soothes stiffness and increases dopamine levels in the brain. (A dopamine deficiency in the brain is one of the primary causes of symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease.) This increase in dopamine may not only help relieve symptoms; it may also decrease the body’s tolerance of a drug that benefits Parkinson’s patients. This may allow the medication to be effective for a longer period of time at lower doses.
Other Physiological Treatments with Vibration Therapy
You know that wonderful feeling after a good workout? No, not the endorphins that make you happy. I’m talking about that walking-like-a-cowboy sore feeling. Not your favorite? Vibration may help! An early 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research postulates that using vibration therapy can prevent and manage DOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
DOMS is more than just being uncomfortable. It can actually increase the likelihood of injury and impede physical training and daily activities. Using vibration therapy increases blood flow, increases flexibility, and decreases muscle soreness.
The increased blood flow benefit from vibration therapy may also boost your energy levels and increase your metabolism. Used in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise, vibration therapy causes muscle contractions which can increase the flow of lymphatic fluid. This helps the body flush out toxins.
Vibration therapy is known to treat pain by disrupting pain signals in the brain as well as treating soft tissue injuries and breaking down scar tissue. A 2018 Dutch study on both mice and humans found improvements in perceived pain levels and improved cognition.
Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations
Now that I’ve got the Beach Boys running through your head (you’re welcome), vibrations have been shown repeatedly to improve your mood (much like the song).
Vibration therapy aids in releasing hormones such as dopamine and serotonin (happy hormones) and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to a calmer, more relaxed disposition.
A small study conducted at Holos University in Kansas had 57% of the participants report pre-study depression.
After regular use of whole body vibration therapy, 88% of the depressed patients reported no depression symptoms.
The study further showed 71% of the total study participants had increased levels of DHEA (a positive hormone your body naturally produces) as a result of regular whole body vibration treatments.
Not to mention, it just feels good!
Are Vibration Therapy Benefits Right for You?
Curious to explore potential vibration therapy benefits? Check out the BIPRI 8-Motor Headband, used by many for:
- Headache Relief
- Migraine Relief
- Stress Relief
- Staying awake while studying/driving
Vibration therapy is considered safe for most people. However, if you are pregnant, have seizures, or have a pacemaker, it may not be the right option. (This does not apply to some forms of vibration therapy, such as the BIPRI Headband, which is safe for use among pregnant women and individuals with pacemakers.)
As with all medical therapies, consult your health care provider to determine the safety and potential effectiveness for you. If you have questions or would like more information, feel free to contact us via online chat or call us at 888-549-5519.