Imagine if just by standing on a particular platform, you could get a full body workout.
Imagine being able to lose weight, improve your metabolism, and better your health without any active effort.
It sounds like an advertising spiel for some kind of snake oil product that you would see in a late-night infomercial, but it actually is a description of a device which can provide real, scientifically-backed benefits.
That device is called a “whole body vibration machine.”
What Does A Vibration Machine Do?
A whole body vibration machine can be used for whole body vibrational training, often abbreviated “WBVT.”
If WBVT sounds like an idea out of science fiction, it may not come as a total surprise that it was developed as part of the space program.
It’s ridiculously simple.
With WBVT, you purchase a whole body vibration machine, which can take any of a number of configurations.
Depending on the configuration you select, you can stand upright, sit down, or even lie down.
When you turn on the machine, it vibrates, just as you would expect.
Those vibrations result in rapid muscle contractions.
This in turn can help you burn fat and build muscle with minimal effort.
While some people choose to simply sit, stand or lie still while the machine does all the work, many others like to work out on the machine.
That way they are getting all the benefits of regular exercise plus the added advantage of the vibration.
This maximizes their fat loss and muscle gains.
Does it actually work?
Mayo Clinic writes, “Some research does show that whole-body vibration may help improve muscle strength and that it may help with weight loss when you also cut back on calories. Some research shows that whole-body vibration, when performed correctly and under medical supervision when needed, can: reduce back pain, improve strength and balance in older adults, reduce bone loss.”
Dr. Mercola writes, “Interestingly, WBVT — which involves standing on a vibrating platform such as a Power Plate — has been shown to be just as effective as regular exercise for those who are morbidly obese and diabetic, who may have trouble performing conventional exercises.”
Key Point: Research suggests that WBVT can help you to get more out of your workouts, or even replace exercise in situations where you are unable to work out normally. Just keep in mind that at this point, there is not enough data to suggest that it can completely replace a regular exercise routine.
Let’s Take a Deeper Look at Whole Body Vibration Technology
While we have already talked about the basic concept of WBVT, let’s take a closer look at the history of this technology. This can provide some valuable insight into how and why it appears to work. As mentioned earlier, the origins of WBVT are in the space program. Spending a lot of time in zero-g has an adverse impact on bone and muscle density.
Scientists who were working on making sure that astronauts would be able to stay healthy and functional developed the concept of the whole body vibration machine.
The vibrations of the machine literally generate g-forces, which may range anywhere from 2-6 gs.
Your body reacts to these gs through a series of rapid-fire muscle contractions.
Through these muscle contractions, both your muscles and bones are subjected to the rigorous stresses that are needed to boost density.
Pretty cool stuff, right?
Key Point: WBVT was developed for use by astronauts in the space program. Through the g-forces generated by a whole body vibration machine, your muscles and bones receive the intense workout they need to stay dense and strong.
Vibration Machine Benefits
Naturally, you are going to want to see some more sources to back up WBVT’s impressive health benefits. Let’s take a look.
- In this study, it was found that whole body vibration exercise was able to reduce the rate of weight gain. As researcher Gianni Maddalozzo explained, ” Vibration increases energy expenditure. It’s equivalent to walking at moderate intensity.”
- Another study in the Netherlands investigated obese participants who were eating a calorie restricted diet while also using WBVT versus those who were only eating a calorie restricted diet. The researchers found that the greatest rates of long-term success were concentrated among those participants who were engaging in WBVT along with the diet, rather than simply eating the diet alone. Furthermore, those participants also did better at losing visceral fat.
- In this research, scientists reported, “We have shown in this study that a single bout of whole body vibration transiently improves muscle performance of lower extremities and body balance in young healthy adults.”
- According to this study, WBV training “has the potential to induce strength gain in knee extensors of previously untrained females to the same extent as resistance training at moderate intensity.”
- Further research indicates that “Overall, our findings suggest that WBVT may be an effective nonpharmacologic modality to treat some knee OA symptoms, although further investigation is needed.”
- Along with improvements to bone health, whole body vibration may also improve balance, as described in this study. Based on the outcome, the researchers concluded that the use of this technology might reduce the risk of elderly patients falling.
- Another study looked at whether whole body vibration exercises could help to alleviate chronic back pain in women after menopause suffering from osteoporosis. It was found that whole body vibration was able to induce back muscle relaxation, resulting in reductions in chronic back pain.
- Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition resulting in pain and fatigue, is often resistant to many conventional treatments. In this study, researchers found that six weeks of treatment using whole body vibration exercise resulted in reductions in both pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia patients.
- During the course of this eight-month study, researchers compared the effectiveness of vibratory exercise to walking in preventing bone fractures. They discovered that the vibratory exercise was superior to walking in this regard.
- This research demonstrates that vibration therapy can reduce trabecular bone resorption while bones are developing.
- Both blood flow and lymphatic flow can be enhanced through whole body vibration.
- Want your muscles to recover more rapidly after an exercise session? Whole body vibration might just be the way to make that happen. This article reports, “Whole-body vibration before and after exercise shows promise for attenuating muscle soreness and may be considered as an adjunct to traditional therapies (i.e., massage, cryotherapy) to accelerate muscle recovery.”
- It has even been found that whole body vibration technology can help to improve mobility as well as postural control in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.
So you can see that even though whole body vibration seems like a sci-fi concept, there is actually quite a bit of research backing it up at this point.
Key Point: Based on current research, whole body vibration may have health benefits for bone density, balance, exercise performance, weight loss, pain management and more.
Potential Side Effects To Be Aware Of When Using a Whole Body Vibration Machine
Naturally, while all of this is quite exciting, you probably have questions as to the possible risks which could be posed by subjecting your body to these kind of g-forces.
While many people seem to tolerate whole body vibration machines with no side effects, there are still some possible risks.
- This article on NBC News mentions that a biomedical engineering professor named Clinton Rubin “believes the Power Plate’s vibration levels could cause low back pain, cartilage damage, blurred vision, hearing loss and even brain damage.”
- Power Plate itself warns that their machines may have adverse effects for those with bone tumors, blood clots, or retinal detachment. They also state that pregnant women should not use their machines.
- Vibration can be associated with low back pain as well as injury to the hands, as explained in this article. That same article points out that further research is needed however. The reason we know that certain forms of pain and injury are linked to vibration is that industrial workers who use vibrating tools sometimes suffer from these problems. We still don’t know how much of a risk they are with vibration machines for wellness.
As the article linked above states, “It is important to balance the potential risks of adverse side-effects on the neurological and vascular systems with potential benefits when designing a whole body vibration training protocol.”
You will need to weigh the risks and benefits for yourself since each individual is different. Depending on your existing health conditions, it is possible that the risks might outweigh the benefits or be greatly outpaced by them. Many consumers are making regular use of whole body vibration machines now, and are reporting only improvements to their weight and health.
Key Point: While research suggests that there are many possible benefits to whole body vibration, it may not be the ideal option for all users. As with any alternative therapy that is only now coming into the mainstream, more research is needed to fully assess both the benefits and the risks.
Which Vibration Machine Is The Best To Buy For Weight Loss?
If you’re ready to try whole body vibration for weight loss, bone and muscle health, and other great health benefits, you’ll need to select a high quality vibration machine from a reputable manufacturer.
Below are our current top recommendations for whole body vibration machines.
Best Overall Option: 3G Cardio AVT 6.0 Vibration Machine
If you are looking for the crème de la crème of vibration machines, it is hard to beat or even rival the 3G Cardio AVT 6.0 Vibration Machine.
- 33” vibration platform is roomy and comfortable for a variety of exercises.
- 24 pre-programmed exercises.
- Custom program option.
- Adjustable up to 50 Hz.
- Comes with a Premium High Fatigue AVT Dampening Surface Mat.
- Handles and resistance straps come with your purchase.
- Maximum weight capacity: 500 pounds.
- Item weight: 267 pounds.
The 3G Cardio AVT doesn’t come cheap, but that is because you are getting a machine which is as high in quality as anything you would find at a gym. For those looking for that professional-level workout experience at home, it is an amazing choice.
Best Budget Buy: Merax Whole Body Vibration Platform
Don’t have the room in your budget for a premium vibration machine like the 3G Cardio AVT? If you’re on a budget, we recommend the Merax Whole Body Vibration Platform.
- 99 Speed Range.
- 4 preset programs.
- Manual programming option.
- This machine comes programmed with vibration effects which are meant to mimic walking, jogging or running.
- Comes with a set of yoga straps.
- Wheels make this product easy to move from room to room.
- Machine measures 28.4×15.8×5.5 inches and weighs 40 pounds.
- 330-pound weight capacity.
Even though this machine is smaller than the 3G Cardio AVT and has fewer features, it is pretty impressive what you are getting for a low price. For those who are on a budget or are just starting out with whole body vibration, it makes a great starter option.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Whole Body Vibration Machines
- Exercise on the machine if you can. You will get far more benefits working out on the platform than just sitting or standing on it.
- Start with a lower vibration setting and work your way up so you can find what is comfortable for you.
- Start with shorter sessions to see how your body responds to the machine.
- Experiment and have fun. Try out different exercises. You may be amazed by what you can accomplish with regards to weight loss and bodybuilding.
Don’t Wait to Experience the Benefits of Whole Body Vibration
It’s time to get more out of your workouts. If you are ready to burn fat, build muscle, and experience the benefits of whole body vibration for overall health, click on the links above to purchase one of our top recommended whole body vibration machines!