Some 50 trials and clinical studies around the world are showing that just six weeks of vibration therapy can lead to increased muscle power, improved memory, and mobility and conditions ranging from arthritis, Alzheimer’s and depression, to type 2 diabetes, lung disease, incontinence and high blood pressure.
All Gymophobics Centres in the UK offer WBV as an optional extra facility to members which involves simply standing on a vibrating metal platform for between 10 and 20 minutes with up to three sessions a week.
As the platform vibrates it forces muscles to contract and relax dozens of times a second, in a similar way to when we exercise.
The vibrations are thought to stimulate new bone growth by accelerating bone cells called osteoclasts to remove old damaged bone and strengthening new ones.
Positive results on muscles and bones have led to WBV being tested for back pain, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis as well as incontinence, where it works by strengthening pelvic muscles.
A study by Odense University Hospital in Denmark published in Osteoporosis International last year found that when 50 menopausal women received a 12 minute treatment three times a week it increased the density of the lower spine by 3 percent in a year.
A study at Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark showed that eight weeks of WBV significantly improved the strength of thigh muscles in 52 patients with osteoarthritis.
Other research shows that WBV increases blood flow to the brain by about 10 percent after weekly sessions over a six month period with benefits for memory and mental functioning, suggesting that it may help dementia patients, according to a report by Tohoku University in Japan published this month in the journal Annals of Nuclear Medicine.