Vibration Plate Exercise:
Benefits, Risks, Implications
by Sarah Kingsley
Vibration Plate exercise and therapies are spreading throughout the nation due to the many benefits they provide to the body. Research has shown that the use of these plates can alleviate back and joint pain by improving core strength and circulation, boosting metabolism by encouraging your body to burn fat faster, and decreasing stress through increased serotonin production and decreased cortisol hormones. Using vibration plates can improve strength and flexibility with improved stability, encourage the development of stronger bones and increased bone density, and decrease fall risks. Studies have shown additional benefits to numerous conditions including restless leg syndrome, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, osteoporosis, lymphedema, and autoimmune conditions such as Fibromyalgia by making cellular level changes to the body.
Muscles and bones tend to get both weaker and stronger TOGETHER. When your muscles are weak the bones become weak and brittle due to the lack of force to pull on them (called Wolff’s Law) which leads to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis. The forces going through your muscles, bones, blood, and body work like a key to turn different systems back on and get them working the way they did years ago, or perhaps in a way they never have before. Your levels of natural growth hormone dramatically increase and your bones get stronger. Naturally produced growth hormone (GH) maintains bodily functions such as tissue repair, muscle growth, brain function, bone density development, skin thickness, energy, and metabolism throughout life. The fast-paced, repeated skeletal muscle contractions produced by the vibration improves performance and functionality. On a cellular level, the mechanical stimulation from vibration can influence stem cell differentiation as needed, such as transferring stem cells to bone cells.
The vibrations also stimulate the nerve receptors in your feet that become quiet when you are stuck in shoes and socks all day, which can contribute to conditions such as neuropathy. The vibrations help improve proprioceptive feedback through the feet (knowing where your body and joints are in space) to give you greater balance control and body awareness. Trials have shown positive improvements in balance and immediate pain relief for those with Parkinson’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, and nerve pain related to Diabetes or spinal issues. Various settings also provide lymphatic stimuli aiding in the breakdown of adhesions to promote pain-free mobility. This is why it is normal to feel an itching/burning sensation in the skin during or after use as this sensation results from the body releasing toxins and fascial connective tissue which holds onto everything in our bodies, even our emotions!
The type of plate, direction of vibrational waves, and frequency or intensity each play a role. The rhythm tilting high vibration frequency setting is good for balance issues and trying to build muscle strength, while a lower level intensity is good for detoxification, autoimmune conditions, and lymphedema. For the latter population, even just 1-5 minutes can be of great benefit, and longer sessions could potentially be detrimental. An intermediate speed of 21-50 is best for fat burning, increasing metabolism, building muscle, and stress relief. The highest intensity from 41-60 is best for metabolism and especially for breaking down adhesions in fascia and soft tissues that may be contributing to chronic pain such as plantar fasciitis and many tendonitis or fibrosis conditions. The plate has been proven to be effective in healing and repairing tissues and conditions that may not have benefited from typical physical therapy interventions such as chronic soft tissue injuries, muscle atrophy, bone loss, peripheral neuropathy, and some hard-to-diagnose or hard-to-treat diseases that are often related to poor microcirculation. It is possible that vibration-induced muscle contraction force, at a certain magnitude, can gradually break the fibrosis and allow new living tenocytes and fibrocytes cells to grow back, restoring the original tendon/ligament performance and functionality.
Similar to the LYT method, the vibration frequencies allow you to tap into deeper core muscles that may typically lie dormant or inactive throughout your day-to-day activities. The vibrational components with variations in frequencies differing from anterior/posterior, medial/lateral, spiral, and quadruple rotational forces aid in bone density gains by providing activation of these muscles and greater stimulation for increased work and a bigger calorie burn in a much shorter amount of time. If you thought Lara’s core drills were hard, try them on a vibration plate to really feel those muscles light up! As always with increased workload, it is necessary to give your body rest breaks in between exercises and periods of activity, and increased water intake is recommended to rehydrate and further the detoxification process. If you are in the Charlotte, NC area, come try out my plate and feel the changes in your body and tissues!
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