A contraindication for Vibration Training (VT) is acute or recent stroke (CVA/TIA). This does not mean that after the patient‟s doctor‟s instruction/permission VT cannot be implemented as part of rehabilitation to improve proprioceptive control of posture in stroke patients. A proprioceptor is found in muscles, tendons, joints and the inner ear that detects the motion or position of the body by responding to the body‟s stimulus.
In a clinical study designed to improve proprioceptive control in stroke patients showed a better centre of gravity (p<0.01) and an increase in their weight shifting speed (p< 0.05) (1). Basic functional performance and quality of life was improved with VT. Anyone can take advantage of the improvement in balance that VT gives. This result is only recorded in with side to side oscillating vibration platforms.
The above finding can be applied to the elderly that have balance problems. In a study of nursing home patients performed in only 3 weeks over 9 VT sessions the results were phenomenal. Compared to the control group there was a 77% improvement in equilibrium, a 57% improvement in walking and a 39% decrease in the time required to get up and go. These results equated to a 143% improvement in the quality of physical function (2).
Those who are recovering from injury or surgery involving balance essential limbs, joints and atrophied/weak muscles. Knee or ankle injury/surgery can be treated for balance stabilisation at 5-7 Hz. Strength can be increased between 13-15 Hz at high amplitudes in the basic model. 25-30 Hz is used in the professional model for increasing strength. This not only helps with balance but also structural a postural stability by increasing muscle strength and power in the affected limbs/muscles. Balance benefits have even been recordered clinically in young healthy adults (3).
VAN NES, I., A.C.H. GEURTS, H.T. HENDRICKS, J. DUYSENS. Short term effects of whole-body vibration on postural control in unilateral chronic stroke patients: Preliminary evidence. Am. J. Phys. Med. Rehab. 83(11): 867-873. 2004.
MANN, D., Vibration therapy improves walk, balance in elderly. Rheumawire, November 3, 2003
TORVINEN, S., P. KANNUS, H. SIEVANEN, T.A.H. JARVINEN, M. PASANEN, S. KONTULAINEN, T.L.N. JARVINEN, M. JARVINEN, P. OJA, I. VUORI. Effect of a vibration exposure on muscular performance and body balance. Randomised cross-over study. Clin. Physiol. & Fun. Im. 22: 145-152. 2002.