Vibration therapy was developed with therapeutic intentions, dating back to 1867. A Russian physician, Gustav Zander made an apparatus to transmit vibrations to a body, using weights and pulleys. The vibration was said to improve circulation and alleviate constipation.
Russian astronauts are administered vibration therapy to prevent their bone loss in space. This technique has been incorporated by NASA as well to strengthen the muscles and bone loss of their astronauts.
Vibration therapy has found a special place in today’s world, where people are undertaking vibration sessions on a regular basis. It is said to release stress, relieve pain, muscle soreness, strengthen the bones, and reduce fatigue. It has become a part of the daily work-out session and is found to be relaxing.
Now, you must be wondering how the vibration therapy works? Well, vibration therapy has two components, the whole body vibration, and the localized vibration.
Whole body vibration involves standing, sitting or lying on the machine, where the entire body gets the vibrations. It has a generalized effect and primarily undertaken as a routine detox or for relaxation purpose.
In localized vibration therapy, specific areas are selected, and the therapist moves the hand-held machine over those areas. These areas can be the calf muscles, thigh muscles, knees, etc.
When these vibrations get transmitted to your body, they cause the contraction and relaxation of the muscles. This process relieves any tension, and flush off the lactic acid accumulated in the muscles that cause fatigue. Certain vibrations can produce osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are responsible for bone production. So, it helps increase the bone mass of the body.
The intensity of the vibrations and their direction determines how effectively a vibration therapy will work. Machines produce vibrations in various directions, vertical, sideways, up and down, ad front and back. The up and down waves are considered the most effective of all as they produce rapid contraction of the muscles.
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Health Benefits Of Vibration Therapy:
- It increases the bone density and prevents future bone loss, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a severe problem where bones become porous and tend to break easily.
- It increases the muscle mass. That is why this therapy has become so popular among people who do workouts and want to build up their body.
- It improves circulation. It improves the oxygen supply to the fatigued muscles and rejuvenates the body.
- It reduces joint pain. People experiencing such pain will find the light vibrations or full body vibrations quite useful. It reduces stiffness and pain and improves the joint mobility.
- It improves the back pain. Back pain is often experienced by people who have to sit or stand for long hours and do their work. These people will benefit a lot from these vibrations.
- It alleviates stress. Stress is the primary culprit of our deteriorating health. The work pressure and fast life have made our lives stressful. This therapy is shown to reduce stress and make us relaxed.
- It boosts metabolism. Inactive life has affected our metabolism adversely. Constipation has become a common problem. This therapy has shown positive results in combating the condition and improving the metabolism of the body.
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We will see how the benefits of vibration therapy affect the following conditions:
Bone Density and Muscle Strength
The studies have shown that the vibration therapy improves the muscle strength in the elderly while it has not been found so useful in increasing the bone density in them. The fact is as you age the production of osteoblasts stops. But bone density tends to improve in the young individuals. The intensity of the vibrations is a significant factor that determines how effective a specific therapy will be.
Studies have confirmed that vibration therapy helps to prevent the muscle soreness experienced especially after the exercise. It has a soothing effect and releases the muscle tension, providing the necessary relaxation and removing the muscle pain.
Vibration therapy has seen to provide short-term benefit to people who have Parkinson’s disease. It is found beneficial in reducing the muscle tremors and muscle rigidity. People experience better control over their actions and an attempt for the activities which were not at all possible for them to perform.
Besides the beneficial effects, it too has some risk factors that need consideration:
Vibration therapy can be dangerous, provided the vibrations are controlled and not too high. Very high vibrations can result in lumbar injuries and intense back pain. So, care must be taken that the administration is managed and under the safe levels.
Always consult your doctor before taking such sessions. The doctor may not recommend this therapy if you:
- Are taking medications for the thinning of the blood. Vibrations increase the circulation of the blood. Already thin blood will tend to move even faster than the required level and can damage the tiny veins and delicate tissues, increasing the blood pressure to dangerous levels.
- Have advanced diabetes. Increased circulation will provide more glucose to the cells and tissues than required and will delay the conversion of glucose to glycogen. It may worsen the condition of the patient.
- Have heart disease. Patients suffering from heart diseases will tend to increase the risk of high blood pressure resulting in the risk of a heart attack and damage to the arteries, veins, and the valves.
- Are pregnant. Pregnant women should avoid taking this therapy. Already increasing blood volume will pose a threat of high blood pressure, if the vibrations are administered. There is a risk of fetal injuries as well.
So, vibration therapy certainly has some excellent benefits like treating muscle soreness, muscle weakness, and conditions related to Parkinson’s disease. It is also helpful for the older population who cannot exercise regularly due to mobility problems. The younger lot and people working in MNCs have grown so fond of the vibration therapy, because of its relaxing effect that they are regularly taking this therapy and maintaining their cool. I think it is one of the best ways to detox and relax.