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Vibrating for Health

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

For several decades, vibrating exercise has been used in Europe to enhance the performance of athletes. I first became aware of this approach to exercise several years ago and found training devices which sold for $12,000 to $15,000!? About 6 months ago I learned of a device which cost only $2495. Being a gadget person, I could not resist!? I have already a Health Rider, a treadmill, a Roman Chair, and a regular exercise bike; but the information on the benefits of this minimal-effort exercise were too intriguing to miss. My body therapist is most impressed with the improvement in my muscle tone after only 6 months of adding 10 to 12 minutes daily of vibrating exercise. This most unusual exercise program involves standing on a vibrating platform (frequencies from 20 to 50 Hz). Of course you can do a variety of movements while vibrating!

There is considerable science behind this simple exercise regimen. In 14 men, after just 10 sets of 60-second vibration, with 60 seconds of rest between sets, a significant increase was found in leg strength and even jumping performance. More importantly, testosterone and growth hormones increased while cortisol decreased significantly! Eur J Appl Physiol, 2000, 81: 449-454.

In another study of 16 men, just 4 minutes of vibration improved muscle performance of the legs as well as body balance. Clin Physiol? & Func Im, 2002, 22:145-152.

In 70 postmenopausal women, just one year of 20 minutes daily of standing on a vibrating platform at 30 Hz improved bone density significantly in the spine and legs. J Bone and Mineral Research, 2004, 19: 343-351.

Vibratory exercise has been found to decrease the fat content of muscle tissue, improve strength, and double blood flow in the legs. Clin Physiol. 2001. 3: 377-382.

Oxygen uptake is also significantly increased during vibratory exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2001, 86: 169-173.

Equally important, vibratory exercise is equal to resistance training in improving leg strength and performance! Med & Sci in Sports Exercise, 2003, 1033-1040.

It is of interest that vibratory exercise suppresses gastric motility, as well as more active exercise. Int Arch Occup Environ Health, 1999, 72: 469-474.

Although I continue to do my usual exercise program:

20 to 30 minutes on the Health Rider with 60 pounds of weight; 20 minutes of yoga and free-form Tai Chi; walking for 45 to 60 minutes; and sitting on an exercise ball 3 to 10 hours daily (you can’t just sit still!) while working at my computer, my 10 to 12 minutes on The Power Vibe have been a terrific addition. For those of you who are not motivated to move your body SPONTANEOUSLY, I strongly recommend POWER VIBE!? In fact, I recommend it for everybody, because it has many additional advantages.


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