Will a Vibration Machine Help Me Lose Weight?

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Is it possible to vibrate your body to weight loss? Turns out whole-body vibration (WBV) does offer benefits for your physical health. But when it comes to weight loss, not so much.

"Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a form of physical training in which very quick vertical oscillations are applied to the whole body, generally by standing on a WBV platform," reports Patrick Jacobs, PhD, exercise scientist.

Whole-body vibrations have been used since the 1960s with the idea that they will help prevent bone loss and maintain muscle strength. NASA felt this was beneficial for astronauts considering their lack of weight-bearing movement while in space.

In the early 2000s, a study was performed on turkeys to identify whether this would be the case. Over the years, additional studies have come out outlining the benefits of WBV for astronauts.

Benefits of Whole Body Vibration Machines

Like many weight loss trends, WBV promises to promote weight loss and build muscle. While the research is promising in some other areas, when it comes to weight loss, more research is needed. For now, reviewing the existing and latest research will help you determine whether whole-body vibration is right for you. Here are some of the benefits of WBV.

Improves Bone Density

One of the greatest benefits of WBV is the effect it has on bone density and the prevention of osteoporosis. Several studies have proven that WBV is a form of physical exercise that can regulate bone maintenance and promote bone formation including the accumulation of minerals.

In particular, postmenopausal women could greatly benefit from daily WBV. One review determined that postmenopausal women who performed WBV one to two times daily for at least 2 months experienced an increase in bone mineral density. It also found that WBV is an acceptable mode of physical activity for the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Other benefits of WBV on bone density include better postural control, improvements in balance and coordination, and a reduced risk of falling. Additionally, participants reported reduced pain in large joints following a WBV session.

WBV is an excellent form of exercise for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. When combined with dietary and over-the-counter treatment methods, WBV provides even greater benefits for osteoporosis.

Helps Build Strength

For the elderly, WBV can help counteract the loss of muscle strength associated with rapid muscle loss that contributes to an increase in the incidence of falls and frailty. Because of this WBV can reduce the risk of falls and fractures in the elderly and improve quality of life.

Patrick Jacobs, PhD

This form of physical training has been shown to provide enhancements of strength, power, and balance in a variety of populations ranging from very deconditioned persons to elite athletes.

— Patrick Jacobs, PhD

"WBV oscillations produce reflexive contractions of the muscles under load (via stretch reflexes)," says Dr. Jacobs. "This form of physical training has been shown to provide enhancements of strength, power, and balance in a variety of populations ranging from very deconditioned persons to elite athletes."

That means regardless of training experience, performing WBV sessions daily will help you get stronger, improve balance, and exert more power during your sport. For instance, one study determined that standing on a WBV platform for 6 minutes was a great way to warm up the muscles before an intense workout. Scientists discovered that participants had greater muscular torque and flexibility after 6 minutes of WBV standing.

If you have access to a WBV platform, utilizing it for even 6 minutes per day or before workouts will help you build strength, improve balance, and increase power in and out of the gym.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Turns out, standing on a WBV platform even three times per week has positive effects on blood pressure. For instance, a study followed 25 participants with obesity between the ages of 50-65 years for 8-weeks.

Participants in the WBV group completed supervised WBV training three times per week, which included both standing WBV and WBV with leg exercises. Researchers found that WBV is a valid form of exercise for the reduction of blood pressure and improvements in balance in previously sedentary postmenopausal women with obesity.

Meanwhile, another study determined the same outcome measures, but this time with a younger group of participants with obesity, between the ages of 21 and 23 years old.

For individuals who struggle with obesity or those who may have difficulty performing standard physical activity, WBV is a satisfactory form of exercise to reduce blood pressure, improve balance, and muscle strength.

Whole Body Vibration and Weight Management

When it comes to weight loss and WBV, the evidence is inconclusive. More research is needed with larger participant numbers to identify the relationship between WBV and weight loss.

While so many other physical benefits come from WBV training, one study determined that the results of 6 to 24 weeks of WBV training had no significant effect on percent body fat.

On the other hand, another review found benefits for reducing body fat in patients with obesity, especially when combined with traditional measures for weight loss. They determined that using WBV therapy alongside conventional weight management strategies could increase reductions in fat mass.

While using WBV for weight management may not produce definitive results, using it alongside traditional weight managements efforts might help you reach your goal faster.

What You Need to Know About Weight Management

Though WBV may give you an advantage, a nutritious diet and consistent exercise routine remain the leader in weight management.

"Whole-body vibration has been shown to provide health benefits such as increased muscle strength and power, bone density, and balance," says Dr. Jacobs. "Therefore, whole-body vibration might play a role in conditioning programs including resistance training and cardiovascular training."

Additionally, Dr. Jacobs indicates that WBV provides conditioning effects similar to the neurological benefits associated with resistance training.

"This form of training has been effectively used simultaneously with other exercise movements as well as a preparatory activity (warm-up) prior to exercise training sessions," he says.

A Word From Verywell

To manage weight, it is important to adopt nutritious eating habits, exercise consistently, and focus on a healthy relationship with food. Without doing so you may find yourself yo-yo dieting, which has harmful effects.

If you are struggling to manage your weight or with disordered eating behaviors, talk to a mental health professional, a healthcare provider, or a registered dietitian to help you form a weight management plan as well as help you navigate how to rebuild a healthy relationship with food.

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10 Sources
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