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  • Whole Body Vibration

    Below are two review articles on WBV. I believe it has potential as a treatment modality for certain individuals with SCI. Currently, there is very little data in regards to WBV and neurological pathologies, especially SCI. Additionally, the review articles contain WBV research with several different units (they have different frequencies, amplitudes and planes of vibration). I personally like units that produce only vertical vibration because (in my opinion) it is more efficient at eliciting a myotatic stretch reflex without shear forces that could potential injury joints/discs. If anyone has used some of the various WBV plates I would like to hear your thoughts.

    Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2007 Feb;17(1):2-11. Epub 2006 Aug 10. Related Articles, Links

    Effects on leg muscular performance from whole-body vibration exercise: a systematic review.

    Rehn B, Lidström J, Skoglund J, Lindström B.

    Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Division of Physiotherapy, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects on leg muscular performance from whole-body vibration exercise. Literature search was performed on the databases Pubmed, Cinahl, ISI web of science (Sci-expanded, SSCI) and Embase (Rehab & Physical Med). Rating of 19 relevant studies was performed (14 on long-term exercise and five on short-term exercise) using a score system for the methodological quality. Several randomized-controlled trial studies of high to moderate quality show similar improvements from long-term regimen on muscular performance in the legs after a period of whole-body vibration exercise. As there were few studies on short-term exercise and as they had no control groups, the same convincing improvements regarding muscular performance were not achieved. Preliminarily, there is strong to moderate evidence that long-term whole-body vibration exercise can have positive effects on the leg muscular performance among untrained people and elderly women. There is no clear evidence for effects on muscular performance after short-term vibration stimuli.

    Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2007 Feb;17(1):12-7. Related Articles, Links

    Strength training effects of whole-body vibration?

    Nordlund MM, Thorstensson A.

    The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH), Stockholm, Sweden.

    Whole-body vibration (WBV) has been suggested to have a beneficial effect on muscle strength. Manufacturers of vibration platforms promote WBV as an effective alternative or complement to resistance training. This study aimed to review systematically the current (August 2005) scientific support for effects of WBV on muscle strength and jump performance. MEDLINE and SPORT DISCUS were searched for the word vibration in combination with strength or training. Twelve articles were included in the final analysis. In four of the five studies that used an adequate design with a control group performing the same exercises as the WBV group, no difference in performance improvement was found between groups, suggesting no or only minor additional effects of WBV as such. Proposed neural mechanisms are discussed.
    “As the cast of villains in SCI is vast and collaborative, so too must be the chorus of hero's that rise to meet them” Ramer et al 2005

  • #2

    The power plate (several photos on this site) has been used for many years for work SCI patients.

    Jake's Pop


    • #3
      Vibrating plate standing has been proposed as a therapy for osteoporosis in SCI for at least 5 years, based on several Canadian studies initially.

      There are a number of studies integrating vibrating plates into prevention or treatment of osteoporosis in persons with SCI. NASA is using something to prevent it in astronauts on the Space Station.

      We are currently working with a rehab engineer to integrate one of these into a standing frame to more easily include this in a study we will be doing soon on effectiveness of this for regular use in a home setting.

      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


      • #4
        Personally, I'm not that fond of the powerplate because of the 3 planes/dimensions of vibration and the shear forces, especially if you consider individuals with joint/disc/instability problems. I will go back and search the threads to see what opinions individuals have expressed. I'm familiar with most of the research going on in Canada (Rick Hansen is sponsoring one study at the Univ of British Columbia if I'm corect and I'm anxious to see the results). One of the major producers of a whole body vibration plate is located in Windsor and I’m currently working on a research project with their WBV unit. I pasted the objectives and methods of the study below. As for the abstracts I posted previously, you need to keep in mind that quite a few of the studies were conducted on athletes (or at least individuals that would be considered in decent physical condition). Many of these individuals are in very good shape which makes progress/gains hard to come by with or without vibration. Think about the work outs high level athletes just to shave 1/10 or 1/100f of a second. I believe that you will see more significant results when WBV is applied in the correct plane, with the correct Hz, amplitude, duration, and calibrated for each individuals weight (weight calibration is very important but often not an option on most units) in populations that are out of shape and/or deconditioned (not to mention neurological pathologies).

        Objectives: The operating hypothesis is that WBV will demonstrate greater beneficial muscle strength, endurance and fat-free body mass changes than conventional physical training for persons with spinal cord injury. The goals and aims of this study are to determine whether WBV can increase muscle strength, endurance, and fat-free body mass. Additional goals and aims include determining the safest and most effective vibration amplitude and frequency for generating possible strength and endurance increases. Also, another aim is to determine whether the body position on the vibrating surface results in more effective and beneficial physical changes, such as increased cardiopulmonary responses, muscle responses and blood flow.

        Methods: Twenty individuals classified as ASIA C or D will be randomly assigned to either a WBV/physical therapy group or a physical therapy group after intial assessment with WBV in four predetermine positions (supported stand, seated, prone and four-point positions on the vibration platform, each position on separate days), and muscle strength-endurance and fat-free mass assessments. Treatment for the physical therapy group will consist of 3 alternate days/week of therapeutic exercise, for 90 minutes each session/day for 12 weeks. Subjects in both groups will do muscle strength and endurance training for trunk and limbs, aerobic training for heart and lungs, balance training for sitting and standing, and walking training to increase mobility independence. Subjects in the WBV/physical therapy group will also do WBV exercise. For the WBV/physical therapy group, vibration exercise will be done on the same 3 alternate days/week as the physical therapy. WBV will be administered after the physical therapy in the four positions previously described at frequencies of 25-50Hz, amplitudes of 2-4mm and duration of 30-90 seconds for up to 16 minutes/day. Vibration treatment intensities will be approximately 80% of the maximum levels tolerated in the initial assessment. Post testing will consist of the similar assessment procedures and monitoring previously described for the pre testing for muscle strength, endurance and fat-free body mass and in the same 4 positions for WBV.
        “As the cast of villains in SCI is vast and collaborative, so too must be the chorus of hero's that rise to meet them” Ramer et al 2005


        • #5
          This is interesting. The activities that move the whole body have always made me feel more sensation. Skiing is number one. The G's that the body pulls effects every cell! Also, mowing the lawn vibrates the whole body. Riding a handbike as opposed to a stationary machine moves all parts. Etc...

          I hear these vibration ideas and wonder if getting out and moving isn't the same thing!?! Pat


          • #6
            Originally posted by SCI-Nurse
            Vibrating plate standing has been proposed as a therapy for osteoporosis in SCI for at least 5 years, based on several Canadian studies initially.

            There are a number of studies integrating vibrating plates into prevention or treatment of osteoporosis in persons with SCI. NASA is using something to prevent it in astronauts on the Space Station.

            We are currently working with a rehab engineer to integrate one of these into a standing frame to more easily include this in a study we will be doing soon on effectiveness of this for regular use in a home setting.

            Would you mind listing the Canadian studies you are familiar with? In fact, please reference all of the studies that specifically have addressed the effects of WBV on bone density in SCI. I am not able to find anything that suggests an improvement in BD with the use of WBV.


            • #7
              kld how about those long flat things that vibrate and your supposed to do exercise with them , i remember using them in Pt it was like a holding on to big powerful tuning fork
              cauda equina


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pro-SCI
                Would you mind listing the Canadian studies you are familiar with? In fact, please reference all of the studies that specifically have addressed the effects of WBV on bone density in SCI. I am not able to find anything that suggests an improvement in BD with the use of WBV.

                I do not believe that any WBV studies looking at the effect on bone density in individuals who have an SCI have been published (they are under way or just starting). Below are a few abstracts that address WBV and bone density.

                J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2007 Jan-Mar;7(1):77-81. Related Articles, Links

                Preliminary results on the mobility after whole body vibration in immobilized children and adolescents.

                Semler O, Fricke O, Vezyroglou K, Stark C, Schoenau E.

                Children's Hospital, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

                The present article is a preliminary report on the effect of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) on the mobility in long-term immobilized children and adolescents. WBV was applied to 6 children and adolescents (diagnoses: osteogenesis imperfecta, N=4; cerebral palsy, N=1; dysraphic defect of the lumbar spine, N=1) over a time period of 6 months. WBV was applied by a vibrating platform constructed on a tilt-table. The treatment effect was measured by alternations of the tilt-angle of the table and with the "Brief assessment of motor function" (BAMF). All 6 individuals were characterized by an improved mobility, which was documented by an increased tilt-angle or an improved BAMF-score. The authors concluded WBV might be a promising approach to improve mobility in severely motor-impaired children and adolescents. Therefore, the Cologne Standing-and-Walking- Trainer powered by Galileo is a suitable therapeutic device to apply WBV in immobilized children and adolescents.

                BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006 Nov 30;7:92. Related Articles, Links

                Low-frequency vibratory exercise reduces the risk of bone fracture more than walking: a randomized controlled trial.

                Gusi N, Raimundo A, Leal A.

                Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain.

                BACKGROUND: Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a new type of exercise that has been increasingly tested for the ability to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis in frail people. There are two currently marketed vibrating plates: a) the whole plate oscillates up and down; b) reciprocating vertical displacements on the left and right side of a fulcrum, increasing the lateral accelerations. A few studies have shown recently the effectiveness of the up-and-down plate for increasing Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and balance; but the effectiveness of the reciprocating plate technique remains mainly unknown. The aim was to compare the effects of WBV using a reciprocating platform at frequencies lower than 20 Hz and a walking-based exercise programme on BMD and balance in post-menopausal women. METHODS: Twenty-eight physically untrained post-menopausal women were assigned at random to a WBV group or a Walking group. Both experimental programmes consisted of 3 sessions per week for 8 months. Each vibratory session included 6 bouts of 1 min (12.6 Hz in frequency and 3 cm in amplitude with 60 degrees of knee flexion) with 1 min rest between bouts. Each walking session was 55 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of stretching. Hip and lumbar BMD ( were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and balance was assessed by the blind flamingo test. ANOVA for repeated measurements was adjusted by baseline data, weight and age. RESULTS: After 8 months, BMD at the femoral neck in the WBV group was increased by 4.3% (P = 0.011) compared to the Walking group. In contrast, the BMD at the lumbar spine was unaltered in both groups. Balance was improved in the WBV group (29%) but not in the Walking group. CONCLUSION: The 8-month course of vibratory exercise using a reciprocating plate is feasible and is more effective than walking to improve two major determinants of bone fractures: hip BMD and balance.

                J Bone Miner Res. 2006 Sep;21(9):1464-74. Related Articles, Links

                Low-level, high-frequency mechanical signals enhance musculoskeletal development of young women with low BMD.

                Gilsanz V, Wren TA, Sanchez M, Dorey F, Judex S, Rubin C.

                Department of Radiology, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90027, USA.

                The potential for brief periods of low-magnitude, high-frequency mechanical signals to enhance the musculoskeletal system was evaluated in young women with low BMD. Twelve months of this noninvasive signal, induced as whole body vibration for at least 2 minutes each day, increased bone and muscle mass in the axial skeleton and lower extremities compared with controls. INTRODUCTION: The incidence of osteoporosis, a disease that manifests in the elderly, may be reduced by increasing peak bone mass in the young. Preliminary data indicate that extremely low-level mechanical signals are anabolic to bone tissue, and their ability to enhance bone and muscle mass in young women was investigated in this study. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A 12-month trial was conducted in 48 young women (15-20 years) with low BMD and a history of at least one skeletal fracture. One half of the subjects underwent brief (10 minutes requested), daily, low-level whole body vibration (30 Hz, 0.3g); the remaining women served as controls. Quantitative CT performed at baseline and at the end of study was used to establish changes in muscle and bone mass in the weight-bearing skeleton. RESULTS: Using an intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis, cancellous bone in the lumbar vertebrae and cortical bone in the femoral midshaft of the experimental group increased by 2.1% (p = 0.025) and 3.4% (p < 0.001), respectively, compared with 0.1% (p = 0.74) and 1.1% (p = 0.14), in controls. Increases in cancellous and cortical bone were 2.0% (p = 0.06) and 2.3% (p = 0.04) greater, respectively, in the experimental group compared with controls. Cross-sectional area of paraspinous musculature was 4.9% greater (p = 0.002) in the experimental group versus controls. When a per protocol analysis was considered, gains in both muscle and bone were strongly correlated to a threshold in compliance, where the benefit of the mechanical intervention compared with controls was realized once subjects used the device for at least 2 minute/day (n = 18), as reflected by a 3.9% increase in cancellous bone of the spine (p = 0.007), 2.9% increase in cortical bone of the femur (p = 0.009), and 7.2% increase in musculature of the spine (p = 0.001) compared with controls and low compliers (n = 30). CONCLUSIONS: Short bouts of extremely low-level mechanical signals, several orders of magnitude below that associated with vigorous exercise, increased bone and muscle mass in the weight-bearing skeleton of young adult females with low BMD. Should these musculoskeletal enhancements be preserved through adulthood, this intervention may prove to be a deterrent to osteoporosis in the elderly.

                Aging Clin Exp Res. 2005 Apr;17(2):157-63. Related Articles, Links

                Effect of whole-body vibration exercise on lumbar bone mineral density, bone turnover, and chronic back pain in post-menopausal osteoporotic women treated with alendronate.

                Iwamoto J, Takeda T, Sato Y, Uzawa M.

                Department of Sports Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

                BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Exercise may enhance the effect of alendronate on bone mineral density (BMD) and reduce chronic back pain in elderly women with osteoporosis. The aim of this study was to determine whether whole-body vibration exercise would enhance the effect of alendronate on lumbar BMD and bone turnover, and reduce chronic back pain in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. METHODS: Fifty post-menopausal women with osteoporosis, 55-88 years of age, were randomly divided into two groups of 25 patients each: one taking alendronate (5 mg daily, ALN) and one taking alendronate plus exercise (ALN+EX). Exercise consisted of whole-body vibration using a Galileo machine (Novotec, Pforzheim, Germany), at an intensity of 20 Hz, frequency once a week, and duration of exercise 4 minutes. The study lasted 12 months. Lumbar BMD was measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (Hologic QDR 1500W). Urinary cross-linked N-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (NTX) and serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and standard laboratory techniques, respectively. Chronic back pain was evaluated by face scale score at baseline and every 6 months. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics, including age, body mass index, years since menopause, lumbar BMD, urinary NTX and serum ALP levels, or face scale score between the two groups. The increase in lumbar BMD and the reduction in urinary NTX and serum ALP levels were similar in the ALN and ALN+EX groups. However, the reduction in chronic back pain was greater in the ALN+EX group than in the ALN group. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that whole-body vibration exercise using a Galileo machine appears to be useful in reducing chronic back pain, probably by relaxing the back muscles in post-menopausal osteoporotic women treated with alendronate.

                J Bone Miner Res. 2004 Mar;19(3):352-9. Epub 2003 Dec 22. Related Articles, Links

                Effect of 6-month whole body vibration training on hip density, muscle strength, and postural control in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled pilot study.

                Verschueren SM, Roelants M, Delecluse C, Swinnen S, Vanderschueren D, Boonen S.

                Laboratory of Motor Control, Department of Kinesiology, Faculteit Lichamelijke Opvoeding en Kinesitherapie, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium.

                High-frequency mechanical strain seems to stimulate bone strength in animals. In this randomized controlled trial, hip BMD was measured in postmenopausal women after a 24-week whole body vibration (WBV) training program. Vibration training significantly increased BMD of the hip. These findings suggest that WBV training might be useful in the prevention of osteoporosis. INTRODUCTION: High-frequency mechanical strain has been shown to stimulate bone strength in different animal models. However, the effects of vibration exercise on the human skeleton have rarely been studied. Particularly in postmenopausal women-who are most at risk of developing osteoporosis-randomized controlled data on the safety and efficacy of vibration loading are lacking. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to assess the musculoskeletal effects of high-frequency loading by means of whole body vibration (WBV) in postmenopausal women. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventy volunteers (age, 58-74 years) were randomly assigned to a whole body vibration training group (WBV, n = 25), a resistance training group (RES, n = 22), or a control group (CON, n = 23). The WBV group and the RES group trained three times weekly for 24 weeks. The WBV group performed static and dynamic knee-extensor exercises on a vibration platform (35-40 Hz, 2.28-5.09g), which mechanically loaded the bone and evoked reflexive muscle contractions. The RES group trained knee extensors by dynamic leg press and leg extension exercises, increasing from low (20 RM) to high (8 RM) resistance. The CON group did not participate in any training. Hip bone density was measured using DXA at baseline and after the 6-month intervention. Isometric and dynamic strength were measured by means of a motor-driven dynamometer. Data were analyzed by means of repeated measures ANOVA. RESULTS: No vibration-related side effects were observed. Vibration training improved isometric and dynamic muscle strength (+15% and + 16%, respectively; p < 0.01) and also significantly increased BMD of the hip (+0.93%, p < 0.05). No changes in hip BMD were observed in women participating in resistance training or age-matched controls (-0.60% and -0.62%, respectively; not significant). Serum markers of bone turnover did not change in any of the groups. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that WBV training may be a feasible and effective way to modify well-recognized risk factors for falls and fractures in older women and support the need for further human studies.

                “As the cast of villains in SCI is vast and collaborative, so too must be the chorus of hero's that rise to meet them” Ramer et al 2005


                • #9
                  I just read an article today that vibration therapy can decrease abdominal fat, that would be great especially for people with SCI and no Ab tone. I am looking into fitting my easyglider 6000 with vibration transducers and give it a try.
                  "Life is about how you
                  respond to not only the
                  challenges you're dealt but
                  the challenges you seek...If
                  you have no goals, no
                  mountains to climb, your
                  soul dies".~Liz Fordred


                  • #10
                    Here is a new article looking at WBV. I have to read the ISO 2631-1 (in addition to reading the article again) before I draw conclusions. I can say that I'm not sure about their method of calculating mechanical impedance versus calculating the force of acceleration (Newton’s 2nd law, The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object). If I'm correct neither unit used in the study could/was calibrated for each individuals weight. I do agree that there is a potential for harm. There are known resonant frequencies, positions, conditions..... that are harmful. Individuals should be cleared by a Doc (bone density, HO, cardiac condition, pregnancy.....). More research is needed to define the safest and efficient parameters but i believe it has potential.

                    Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Oct;39(10):1794-800.

                    Vibration exposure and biodynamic responses during whole-body vibration training.

                    Abercromby AF, Amonette WE, Layne CS, McFarlin BK, Hinman MR, Paloski WH.

                    Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Houston, TX 77058, USA.

                    PURPOSE: Excessive, chronic whole-body vibration (WBV) has a number of negative side effects on the human body, including disorders of the skeletal, digestive, reproductive, visual, and vestibular systems. Whole-body vibration training (WBVT) is intentional exposure to WBV to increase leg muscle strength, bone mineral density, health-related quality of life, and decrease back pain. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate vibration exposure and biodynamic responses during typical WBVT regimens. METHODS: Healthy men and women (N = 16) were recruited to perform slow, unloaded squats during WBVT (30 Hz; 4 mm(p-p)), during which knee flexion angle (KA), mechanical impedance, head acceleration (Ha(rms)), and estimated vibration dose value (eVDV) were measured. WBVT was repeated using two forms of vibration: 1) vertical forces to both feet simultaneously (VV), and 2) upward forces to only one foot at a time (RV). RESULTS: Mechanical impedance varied inversely with KA during RV (effect size, eta(p)(2): 0.668, P < 0.01) and VV (eta(p)(2): 0.533, P < 0.05). Ha(rms) varied with KA (eta(p)(2): 0.686, P < 0.01) and is greater during VV than during RV at all KA (P < 0.01). The effect of KA on Ha(rms) is different for RV and VV (eta(p)(2): 0.567, P < 0.05). The eVDV associated with typical RV and VV training regimens (30 Hz, 4 mm(p-p), 10 min.d(-1)) exceeds the recommended daily vibration exposure as defined by ISO 2631-1 (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: ISO standards indicate that 10 min.d(-1) WBVT is potentially harmful to the human body; the risk of adverse health effects may be lower during RV than VV and at half-squats rather than full-squats or upright stance. More research is needed to explore the long-term health hazards of WBVT.

                    “As the cast of villains in SCI is vast and collaborative, so too must be the chorus of hero's that rise to meet them” Ramer et al 2005