Whole-body vibration can offer some fitness and health benefits, but it’s not clear if it’s as good for you as regular exercise.
With whole-body vibration, you stand, sit or lie on a machine with a vibrating platform. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to your body, forcing your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second. The activity may cause you to feel as if you’re exerting yourself.
You may find a whole-body vibration machine at a local gym, or you can buy one for home use.
Advocates say that as little as 15 minutes a day of whole-body vibration three times a week may aid weight loss, burn fat, improve flexibility, enhance blood flow, reduce muscle soreness after exercise, build strength and decrease the stress hormone cortisol.
But comprehensive research about whole-body vibration is lacking. It’s not yet clear if whole-body vibration provides the same range of health benefits as exercise you actively engage in, such as walking, biking or swimming.
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.
Whole-body vibration may also have a role beyond sports and fitness. 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
Still, if you want to lose weight and improve fitness, enjoy a healthy diet and include physical activity in your daily routine. If you choose whole-body vibration, remember to do aerobic and strength training activities as well.
And because whole-body vibration can be harmful in some situations, check with your doctor before using it, especially if you’re pregnant or have any health problems.
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- Rosenberger A, et al. Changes in motor unit activity and respiratory oxygen uptake during 6 weeks of progressive whole-body vibration combined with progressive, high intensity resistance training. Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions. 2019; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31186386. Accessed March 8, 2020.
- Karatrantou K, et al. Effects of whole-body vibration training frequency on neuromuscular performance: A randomized controlled study. Biology of Sport. 2019; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6786327/. Accessed March 18, 2020.
- Camacho-Cardenosa M, et al. Effects of whole-body vibration training combined with cyclic hypoxia on bone mineral density in elderly people. Frontiers in Physiology. 2019; doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.01122.
- Zago M, et al. Whole-body vibration training in obese subjects: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2018; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202866.
- Pamukoff DN, et al. Whole-body and local muscle vibration immediately improve quadriceps function in individuals with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2016.01.021.
- AskMayoExpert. Osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist. Mayo Clinic; 2019.
- Fischer M, et al. Long-term effects of whole-body vibration on human gait: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Neurology. 2019; doi:10.3389/fneur.2019.00627.
- Zeng Y-L, et al. Whole-body vibration exercise for low back pain. A meta-analysis protocol of randomized controlled trial. Medicine. 2018; doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000012534.
- Pregnancy. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/staying-healthy-and-safe. Accessed March 30, 2020.
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