The history behind Whole Body Vibration (WBV)
Whole Body Vibration has been in use for a long time, possibly as far back as ancient Greece. In the late 1800s, John Kellogg used vibrating platforms, bars and chairs as a wellness strategy in his sanitarium. An East German doctor studied the effects of cyclic oscillations in the 1960s.
Around the same time, a Russian scientist named Nazarov observed that athletes using vibration had a substantial increase in strength and flexibility.
The Russian, European and American space programs have been experimenting with vibration systems on cosmonauts and astronauts to counter the bone loss and muscle atrophy that occurs from the lack of gravity on space missions. Cosmonauts using WBV were able to stay in space for 420 days, as opposed to those who did not use WBV, who could stay only 120 days.
What is WBV?
Whole Body Vibration, a user stands or uses specific poses on a vibrating platform. Vibrations travel through the body, causing subconscious muscle contractions.
There are two main types of systems: pivotal/oscillating and linear. Pivotal systems have higher amplitudes of oscillation and lower frequencies, while linear systems have lower amplitudes and higher frequencies. Linear machines are popular with football and basketball teams while pivotal machines are more popular in general and inhabit more studies on WBV.
Vibration against Depression and Anxiety
Depression, anxiety, stress and other mood disorders are at epidemic levels, especially in the United States and throughout most of North America. Many people have described depression as an oppressive black curtain of despair that engulfs their lives. Depression deeply affects their life, including the lives of those around them. It can severely disrupt how they function, eat, sleep, and get along with others. Although most people who suffer from depression feel as though they are isolated in their suffering, they are not alone, roughly 20% of the American population suffers from this disorder. The good news is that they can find relief from the devastation of this and other associated mood disorders. Depression is a disease, and like any other disease, it can be treated and managed.
Anxiety is often a precursor for depression. Some degree of anxiety is perfectly normal in today’s world, but for some people anxiety becomes overwhelming and may interfere with the normal functioning of life, often leading to sever depression, sometimes causing withdrawal from ordinary social activity.
When pondering treatment options for depression and its related disorders, you may consider Whole Body Vibration (WBV) therapy as a sort of drug-free medicine. Stress, anxiety and depression are responsible for 80 to 90 percent of all disease, experts say. Whole Body Vibration (WBV) machines allow patients to get easy to reducing tension, stress and depression level.
It has been clinically demonstrated that Whole Body Vibration therapy has a positive effect on the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. The massaging effect of the vibrations initiates an increase in Dopamine and Serotonin levels. This suggests a decrease in stress levels and depression.
Regular use of WBV therapy balances neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, increases key hormones, and lowers stress hormones like cortisol.
If Cortisol, a stress hormone, is chronically elevated, it can have harmful effects on weight and immune function, as well as increases inflammation and damages the structure of the brain. When Cortisol levels are lowered, stressors are easier to manage and the brain works better.
When Dopamine levels are optimal, memory improves, pain regulation in the body is more efficient, people become better at problem-solving, and are able to hold their attention and focus longer. Serotonin, the most widely studied neurotransmitter, helps regulate a vast range of functions from mood balance to bowel function. It plays a part in reducing the appetite, forming blood clots, regulating libido, anxiety, social behavior, and more. Lastly, neurotropin is a growth hormone that acts as a brain stimulator that helps with the survival, development, and function of neurons and is needed to keep brain cells alive.
After just 10 minutes of WBV exercise, patients are more relaxed and feel good. A routine of regular daily WBV therapy will continue to yield an increase in these key hormones, WBV exercise will also counter mental lethargy and enhance overall mood while sharpening the ability to focus and concentrate. Serotonin also happens to be the most widely studied neurotransmitter since it helps regulate a vast range of psychological and biological functions beneficial to optimal health.
There was a small study (14 people) done at Holos University in Kansas. Eight of the 14 subjects reported depression before the study. After regular use of a Whole Body Vibration machine, 7 of these 8 subjects reported no depression. In addition, they noted that DHEA increased for 10 of these 14 subjects and as you might know DHEA is a beneficial hormone. Its levels decrease with aging. This correlates to depression, increased risk of cancer, and many other degenerative syndromes.
Although this study was relatively small and the amount of time the subjects spent on the WBV machine was somewhat limited, the results are astonishing nonetheless. With just this small amount of exposure to the machine, the majority of the subjects experienced significant results. All of them reported positive reduction in symptoms.
In general, most people have reported an increase in a feeling of optimism after a short session on WBV equipment, which has lead to the conclusion that while the stimulating effects of the WBV machine will help counteract most types of depression it also greatly increased personal motivation.
Whole Body Vibration therapy is also an amazing form of exercise. Exercise has been known to be one of the most important factors for brain health, leading to increased neural cell growth and strength. 97% of all your muscles are mobilized and engaged while standing on a platform, increasing oxygen uptake and producing endorphins, much like you would while running without the added stress on your body.
Becky Chambers, a leading author and expert on WBV, believes that the intense vibration of WBV is leading to growth and health in the peripheral nervous system in the brain- after over a decade of working with this technology. Since the peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system to the limbs and organs, strengthening that system of the body can mean better communication between the brain and spinal cord with the rest of the body.
Blood Oxygenation and Circulation
Whole Body Vibration training produces immediate improvement in blood circulation by the pumping action of the rapidly contracting muscle fibers. This pumping action is much less noticeable during conventional training. Whole Body Vibration exercise widens the peripheral blood vessels and oxygenates blood cells; this can be observed as a pink skin tone after training, or it may even go as far as a mild tingling feeling.
Research has shown that peripheral circulation rises by 100 to 150% during a Whole Body Vibration session. Anyone who has cold feet will notice when they get onto the Whole Body Vibration plate that this complaint will be quickly alleviated by the machine’s mechanical vibrations and the local vasodilatation that these Whole Body Vibrations produce.
Other Positive Effects
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, being a substance that supports childhood growth and helps in maintaining the health of tissues and organs throughout life. GH helps regulate body fluids and body composition, as well as muscle and bone growth, being involved in the regulation of sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly in heart function as well.
Growth hormone stimulates the growth of cartilages, boosts the production of proteins, promotes the utilization of fat and raises blood sugar levels by interfering with insulin. In a healthy organism, the production of GH decreases naturally with age, and some people may develop growth hormone deficiency. This condition is rare, but can have serious effects on one’s health, so GH injections may be administered to counteract these issues.
In children, GH administration is approved for conditions like Turner’s syndrome, HGH deficiency or insufficiency, Prader-Willi syndrome and chronic kidney insufficiency. In adults, the administration of this hormone is approved for short bowel syndrome, HGH deficiency and muscle-wasting disease associated with HIV/AIDS.
Although the studies on the effects of GH on healthy adults are limited, it appears that this substance can increase muscle mass and help in reducing the body fat percentage in older adults.
In obese individuals, growth hormone may help in reducing body fat, and researchers have found that whole body vibration exercises may help in boosting the production of growth hormone in these people. A study published in the Obesity Facts journal by Italian researchers showed that WBV alone or combined with squatting stimulates the release of growth hormone in obese women, peaks occurring immediately after the exercise session.
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