This technology was originally designed to prevent bone and muscle loss in the zero gravity environment of space. Whole body vibration technology is still used today in various space programs. As apparent from its name, in Whole Body Vibration, the entire body is exposed to vibration, as opposed to local vibration (Biomechanical Stimulation, BMS), where an isolated muscle or muscle group is stimulated by the use of a vibration device. Whole body vibration is implemented through the use of a vibrating platform on which static poses are held or dynamic exercises can be performed depending on the type and force of the machine. The vibrations generated by motors underneath the platform are transmitted to the person on the machine. The intensity, defined by the parameters frequency, amplitude, magnitude (light vibration versus heavy vibration) and the direction of these vibrations are essential for their effect.
Vibrating platform types
Vibrating platforms fall into different, distinct categories. The type of platform used is a moderator of the effect and result of the training or therapy performed (Marin PJ, Rhea MR, 2010). Main categories of machine types are: 1. High Energy Lineal, found mostly in commercial vibration training studios and gyms. The vibration direction is lineal/upward eliciting a strong stretch-reflex contraction in muscle fibres targeted by the positions of training program. 2. Premium Speed Pivotal, (teeter-totter movement) used for physiotherapy work at lower speeds and exercise workouts at “premium” speed, up to 27 Hz. Both commercial and home units are available. 3. Medium Energy Lineal, the majority of lineal platforms produced. These are usually made of plastic; some have 3-D vibration which is low quality. They give slower and less consistent results. 4. Low Speed Pivotal units. These can give “therapy” benefits. Other machine types are low Energy/Low amplitude lineal and Low energy/High amplitude lineal with varying uses from osteoporosis prevention, therapy for improved blood circulation and flexibility and limited fitness training.