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.
April 12, 2017
- Chmielewska D, et al. The effect of a single session of whole-body vibration training in recreationally active men on the excitability of the central and peripheral nervous system. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2014;41:89.
- Perez-Turpin JA. Effects of whole body vibration on strength and jumping performance in volleyball and beach volleyball players. Biology of Sport. 2014;3:239.
- Maddalozzo GF, et al. Comparison of 2 multimodal interventions with and without whole body vibration therapy plus traction on pain and disability in patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2016;15:243.
- Johns DJ, et al. Diet or exercise interventions vs combined behavioral weight management programs: A systematic review and meta-analysis of direct comparisons. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114:1557.
- 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;97:1121.
- AskMayoExpert. Osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Fratini A, et al. Whole body vibration treatments in postmenopausal women can improve bone mineral density: Results of a stimulus focused meta-analysis. PLOS One. 2016;11:e0166774.
- Alvarez-Barbosa F, et al. Effects of supervised whole body vibration exercise on fall risk factors, functional dependence and health-related quality of life in nursing home residents aged 80+. Maturitas. 2014;79:456.
- Lam FM, et al. The effect of vertical whole-body vibration on lower limb muscle activation in elderly adults: Influence of vibration frequency, amplitude and exercise. Maturitas. 2016;88:59.
- Cerciello S, et al. Clinical applications of vibration therapy in orthopaedic practice. Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal. 2016;6:147.